Canada’s Seniors, Disabled Worried Over Looming Door-to-Door Postal Delivery Closure

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | December 12, 2013 12:33 PM EST

Canada's government-owned postal agency on Wednesday announced the looming closure of its door-to-door home delivery over the next five years. But the country's senior citizens and disabled aren't happy about it.

"That's terrible," 79-year-old Carmel Ittah told Montreal Gazette.

Ben Zorn, representing the 1,500 postal clerks and letter carriers in Winnipeg and southwestern Manitoba, said it is senior citizens and disabled who will be the most hit of the latest plan, most especially on those who live alone on their own.

A Canada Post employee delivers mail in Ottawa December 11, 2013. Canada's postal service will phase out urban home delivery within five years and hike the cost of postage stamps to try to stem soaring losses, the post office said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

"We have a lot of customers who rely on door-to-door delivery, senior citizens, people living with disabilities, so we certainly have that concern for those fellow citizens directly," Mr Zorn told CBC.

Canada Post said the plan to phase out home delivery in urban areas was needed to curb financial losses as people resort more to online mail and delivery. The abolition of the service will yield an estimated savings of $542 million (C$576 million) a year. 

The door-to-door home delivery with be replaced with community mail boxes.

The service's cancellation will likewise affect 6,000 to 8,000 jobs during the next five years. The postal service said it expects about 15,000 employees either to retire or leave the company in the next five years.

As of end 2012 fiscal year, Canada Post has a total of 68,000 employees. 

Mr Zorn said he wasn't surprised when management ultimately made the decision.

"Not very surprised, a little disheartened that senior management isn't really interested in pursuing other opportunities for growth, rather they're taking a 'shrink the business' mentality," he said.

Ms Ittah, who lives with her husband in their duplex for 40 years now, said she can't imagine how they will manage to leave the house just to get their mail from the community boxes.

It can be most especially trying during the cold, winter season. "When it's slippery, we don't leave the house."

"Having to make your way to a postal box in -29 C weather with snow on the ground is incredibly difficult even to fully-abled people. Look outside today. There's nobody walking," senior Janice Lorback told CBC.

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