Facing massive losses and declining mail volumes, Canada Post, the country’s primary mail delivery service, has announced that it will begin phasing out door-to-door delivery in urban areas. Instead, mail will be delivered to local “community mailboxes” where locals can come to pick up their mail. The change comes as part of a larger overhaul that will see the price of stamps rise and the number of employees fall, as well as some changes to the organization’s pension system. As USA Today reports, the Canadian government is backing the plan:
“The Government of Canada supports Canada Post in its efforts to fulfill its mandate of operating on a self-sustaining basis in order to protect taxpayers, while modernizing its business and aligning postal services with the choices of Canadians,” Lisa Raitt said in a news release. […]“With the increasing use of digital communication and the historic decline of letter mail volumes, Canada Post has begun to post significant financial losses,” the agency said in a press release. “If left unchecked, continued losses would soon jeopardize its financial self-sufficiency and become a significant burden on taxpayers and customers.”
The USPS gets considerable flak for its inability to keep its finances in line, but the experiences of Canada and the UK are a reminder that it’s far from alone. Door-to-door mail delivery of the kind practiced by national postal services simply isn’t a sustainable business model in an age where email can fill the same function far more effectively for free. Changes like the push to get involved in online shopping deliveries and setting up mail kiosks in retail establishments are both good ones, but they will need to be coupled with a massive overhaul of the agency’s workforce and organizational structure for the USPS to return to solvency. Congress should take a hint from our neighbors and let USPS make changes like this as well.