Door-to-door mail delivery in central Abbotsford will continue for now, but community mailboxes are here to stay in outlying areas of the city.
Canada Post halted its country-wide transition to community mailboxes on Oct. 26, which has been widely interpreted as a response to the newly elected Liberals’ promises to reverse the program. From this November onward, no more customers will lose door-to-door service.
The switch to community mailboxes was supposed to save up to $500 million each year for the Crown corporation.
Much of central Abbotsford, from the Clearbrook area to Sumas Way, was expected to move to community mailboxes in mid-November, but these areas will now receive door-to-door mail for the foreseeable future.
Some other areas, such as Townline Hill, the Exhibition Park area, Huntingdon and South Poplar, have already switched to community mailbox service – and there, the mailboxes will stay.
“As Abbotsford was scheduled for conversion in November, we have put the conversion on-hold temporarily. Affected residents should be getting a letter in the coming days,” wrote Canada Post spokesperson Anick Losier.
Monica Judd, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers’ pacific region campaign coordinator, said even though some community mailboxes have been installed in central Abbotsford, delivery people won’t be bringing mail to them.
Community mailboxes, mainly in rural areas of the Fraser Valley, are a popular target for mail theft, according to the Abbotsford Police Department. A Chilliwack man has just been sentenced to jail for a string of mail thefts in the Agassiz and Mission areas.
Judd said that aside from the number of jobs community mailboxes would eliminate, mail theft is another reason why her union opposes the conversion.
“We’re not in favour of it. It provides one-stop shopping for people looking to steal identities, as well as other mail,” she said