If you live in Canada and you, or your dog, enjoy interacting with the person delivering your mail, bad news, Canada Post plans to phase out door-to-door delivery services by 2019.
The news comes just before the busy Christmas season. Canada Post released a “Five-point Action Plan” today intended to push the crown corporation back into financial sustainability. It may come as no surprise that it has been struggling financially. Less mail is received and sent each year as Canadians turn to digital communication. The average Canadian household buys less than two stamps per month. And Canada Post expects that trend to continue.
So as part of the plan to cut losses, one third of Canadian households that still receive their mail at the door (two thirds already receive their mail via community mailboxes, grouped or lobby mailboxes, and curbside rural mailboxes) will be converted to community mailbox delivery starting in late 2014.
In this process of converting five million Canadian households to community mailboxes, Canada Post says most of the savings gained will result from reductions in the number of employees required for delivery, or between 6,000 to 8,000 jobs.
Canada Post employed 68,000 at the end of the 2012 fiscal year, which means it will reduce its workforce by about 10 percent.
As for other changes, Canada Post will introduce a new tiered stamp pricing structure. Each stamp purchased in booklets and coils will cost 85 cents, up from 63 cents today for letters less than 30g mailed within Canada. Single stamps will cost a loonie, up from 63 cents today.
The report, which you can read here, paints a picture of reducing expenses and increasing prices, but there are certainly ways in which Canada Post can add value and boost revenue. It does make mention of a core competency: 6,400 postal outlets – the largest retail network in Canada – which it will use to improve parcel services for online shopping, a booming area.
But in replacing a human workforce, Canada Post may be overlooking another competitive advantage. For instance, in Japan, Yamato Transport created a senior check-up service in which delivery personnel would run a health check on elderly citizens. The service also incorporates a grocery ordering system and allows the delivery company to gain a steady stream of deliveries. So in this win-win-win situation, seniors are cared for regularly, they get groceries delivered to their door, and the delivery company adds an additional revenue stream.
The move by Canada Post seems to be a lose-lose-lose situation, at least at the moment. Elderly people will have to go out and get their mail (in Canada icy winters don’t make walking outdoors any easier), Canada Post loses a potentially money-making workforce, and at least 6,000 people are out of a job.
Perhaps the only “win” in this situation is that Canadians, and their dogs, still have the chance to wish their mail delivery person a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year – possibly the last.
Social Enterprise Buzz is a media company dedicated to covering social enterprise news from around the world. We publish a range of stories from startups to entrepreneurship, innovation, and finance, which showcase business making the world a better place. Read more.