Winnipeg couple fights for Canada Post service after steps deemed too dangerous

Matthew Coutts
August 20, 2013
Winnipeg couple fights for Canada Post service after steps deemed too dangerous

A Winnipeg couple who has been receiving uninterrupted mail service for the past 30 years were told they would no longer be receiving their mail, after Canada Post determined the steps to their house were far too dangerous.

The National Post reports that Peter and Phyllis Marino were alerted last week that mail delivery to their home would cease because the steps to their home were too steep.

Apparently their 14-inch steps posed a safety issue for the mail carriers, who would be at risk of toppling more than a foot to the ground should he or she lose their balance and slip backward.

A Canada Post spokesperson said there is a longstanding policy of avoiding such threats, although this is the first the long-time Winnipeg residents have heard of it.

Peter Marino spoke with local representatives and agreed to move his mailbox to the bottom of the steps (although that didn't end well either).

[ Related: Postal services cut in Grand Falls-Windsor ]

But there is a far more simple solution. Move the mailbox into a computer. Email, as "electronic mail" is frequently called, is never delayed by steep stairs or barking dogs. They don't end up dismissed and neglected at some holding facility due to strikes or snow or the whim of a mail carrier.

In fact, the entire purpose of Canada Post is no longer clear, nor is why it remains a public service.

Mail traffic has been declining for years, as the hand-written letter becomes a novelty and bills more frequently appear in inboxes rather than at doorsteps.

[ More Brew: Sammy Yatim: Officer charged is only tip of the iceberg ]

Canada Post announced it lost $327 million in 2011, the first time in 16 years that it operated at a loss. By 2020, it is projecting a $1 billion deficit, a fiscal reality that has caused it to increase prices, close post officers and limit delivery times.

The C.D. Howe Institute suggested earlier this month that the Canada Post outsource some of its rural routes to private companies. One has to wonder whether those private companies would risk hurling themselves up a 14-inch step.

One wonders, in fact, whether we would be better served handing the entire operation over to a private company.

Mail service is no longer a public necessity, and it is no longer bringing money into government coffers.

If carriers are no longer willing to traverse a steep set of stairs to get their job done, well, that might be the final straw.

Want to know what news is brewing in Canada?
Follow @MRCoutts on Twitter