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Canada Post to phase out home delivery in urban centres

Canada Post is saying goodbye to the door-to-door postman.

The national mail service says rising costs and falling mail volumes have made it impossible to continue its traditional operations.

The federal Crown corporation plans to phase out home delivery within the next five years, replacing foot delivery with community mail boxes.

Canada Post says about 6,000 to 8,000 positions will be eliminated over the same time period, mainly through attrition.

The postal service expects nearly 15,000 employees to retire or leave the company in the next five years.

About a third of Canadian homes still receive mail to their door, it said.

MP Olivia Chow, who represents a Toronto riding, denounced the decision as short-sighted and that “this is a betrayal of a long Canadian tradition.”

She said it would affect five million households and particularly hurt seniors, the disabled and those who live in isolated communities.

“This job-killing announcement will eliminate services and really give Canadians a lump of cold in this holiday season,” she said. “Canadians certainly deserve a lot better.”

She said the decision was made without public consultation and done a day after the House of Commons rose for its Christmas break.

She urged those affected to “voice their discontent” to the prime minister.

The announcement comes in the midst of the busiest time of year for postal outets, which handle a dramatic rise in both letters and packages for the Christmas holiday.

But the company says its business model is unsustainable.

“Canada Post has begun to post significant financial losses,” it said in the announcement.

“If left unchecked, continued losses would soon jeopardize its financial self-sufficiency and become a significant burden on taxpayers and customers.”

Last month, Canada Post announced that it would ask Ottawa for financial relief next year to help support a restructuring of its business model and pension plan framework to assure long-term financial sustainability.

“The company will continue to bring the cost of labour in line with its competitors through attrition and collective bargaining over time,” it added on Wednesday.

The postal service has faced intense competition from couriers, as well as technology that has led to a growing popularity of consumers paying their bills and communicating online.

In the third quarter, Canada Post reported an improved, but still big, pre-tax loss of $109 million for the period ended Sept. 28. The pre-tax loss in the comparable period a year ago was $145 million.

What do you think of this cost-cutting measure? Share your thoughts in the comments.