Our Commitment to Rural Service
For longer than Canada has been a country, Canada Post has been part of the bedrock of rural Canada. Today we remain the only company that serves all Canadians, in their communities, and this is not going to change. We value our extensive retail network and honour the Government of Canada’s moratorium on rural post office closures.
We see our unparalleled reach across Canada – our commitment to serve every address in the country – as our competitive advantage.
- NO other company can reach as many Canadians in rural and urban Canada – or cut through the clutter - as we do on a regular basis.
- Advertisers and even our rivals recognize this advantage – particularly in rural Canada - and it is valuable to us. Nobody can beat our ability to ship from business to consumer or direct marketing across rural Canada.
We are putting our money where our business is – in the heart of rural Canada. Since 2007, we have invested more than $275 million in rural Canada to improve service, to upgrade safety and to fortify security of the mail system, in the communities where you live – and that we proudly serve.
- We believe this is the biggest and broadest investment any company has ever made in rural Canada. We have brought new, Internet-based services such as MoneyGram and major technological upgrades including computerized point-of-sale technology to thousands of rural and remote communities.
As the communities we serve grow and transform, we have invested to ensure our rural delivery network remains as safe as possible for the residents of your communities as well as our delivery agents.
We are proud to be part of the way of life in rural Canada. This is a vital part of who and what we are at Canada Post.
Rural mailbox delivery - Overview
- Approximately 843,000 Canadian residential addresses are served by rural mailboxes. This represents about 6% of Canada Post’s 14 million points of delivery.
- Mail is delivered by vehicle. The mail carriers pull their vehicles over at each rural mailbox, deposit the mail in the mail box and then merge back into traffic to proceed to the next address. This sequence is repeated over a hundred times a day on each mail delivery route.
- Nationally since 2007, we have been able to preserve delivery to 90% of rural mailboxes reviewed.
Questions about safety
The nature of many of Canada’s roads, as well as increased traffic, is making delivery of mail to many rural mailboxes potentially hazardous for Canada Post’s delivery personnel and the motoring public.
- Heavy traffic volumes make pulling off the road and merging back into traffic even more difficult – a situation made worse where curves, hills or other obstructions make it impossible for other drivers to see the mail carrier’s vehicle stopped at the side of the road or merging back into traffic.
- Many rural mailboxes are on roads with narrow or no shoulder, preventing the mail carrier from getting out of the path of other drivers and forcing them to manoeuvre around the parked vehicle, which increases the risks for all.
- Rural mail carriers have raised more than 3,000 health and safety concerns to date. Also, Canada Post has received more than 40 Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (Labour Canada) rulings about these complaints. While Canada Post has addressed each of these complaints, the situation makes it clear that there is a need to assess workplace health and safety standards for all rural mail carriers in the country. As a responsible employer and respected service provider, Canada Post has initiated a Rural Mail safety review.
Canada Post’s responsibilities and obligations
Canada Post is committed to delivering the highest standards of service possible to all Canadians. Following the Westray Coal Mine disaster in Nova Scotia in 1992, the Criminal Code was amended by Bill C-45 to make employers criminally liable for failing to address safety issues. As an employer and corporate citizen, Canada Post, like all Canadian companies, is morally and legally obliged under both the Criminal Code and Canada Labour Code to provide the safest possible workplace to its employees.
Employees who feel their duties expose them to undue risk have the right to refuse to carry out those duties. As a result, Canada Post must address increasing concerns about the safety of delivering to rural mailboxes.
We have already taken steps to increase the visibility of the vehicles driven by the mail carriers by adding the rooftop signs and flashing lights. However this measure does not fully address the safety risks.
Safety Review process
Canada Post enlisted the advice of independent traffic safety experts to develop a consistent process and detailed criteria for assessing safety of rural mailbox delivery on all mail routes across the country.
The safety assessment measures a range of factors which, individually or taken together, can determine whether delivering to a rural mailbox constitutes an unreasonable risk. The assessment criteria are being applied to all rural mailboxes across the country over the next several years.
How will the assessment be done?
Research on driver behaviour was used to establish the distance, sight lines and time required to safely stop the vehicle at a mail box and safely merge back into traffic.
The following factors will be measured at each rural mailbox location:
- Posted speed limit
- Volume and type of traffic in both directions
- Sight lines to the mail box from both directions
- Width of the shoulder of the road
- Number of lanes of traffic
- Type of center line marking
- Legal restrictions (such as “No stopping” zone)
- Safety restrictions that apply to the location (e.g. proximity to a controlled/uncontrolled intersection, bridge or railway crossing)
- Can the vehicle be stopped completely off the road (If so, a higher volume of traffic may be acceptable from a safety perspective. If any portion of the stopped vehicle is on the road and in the path of passing traffic, only lower traffic volumes are acceptable.)
This data will determine if there is:
- Enough “decision sight distance” for other drivers to react safely to the mail carrier vehicle pulling off the road and stopping at a rural mailbox
- Sufficient gaps in traffic for the mail carrier to safely merge back into traffic after making a delivery
If a rural mailbox location fails to meet any (or a combination) of these standards, it is considered to pose an unreasonable risk.
If your mailbox location is considered unsafe, there are a few safe delivery options
Canada Post’s primary objective is to maintain rural mailbox delivery.
If your rural mailbox has been found to pose an unreasonable risk:
- Canada Post will advise you in person (at your home) if, and how, your mailbox can be made acceptable for delivery.
- If relocating your rural mailbox for acceptable delivery is not possible, Canada Post will maintain service through one of proven mail delivery systems such as Community mailbox or free Postal Box service at your local Post Office.
Need more information?
Canada Post is committed to communicating with customers and communities affected by the rural mailbox safety review throughout all stages of the process.
Individual customers will be informed of the findings of their assessment and of any changes required to their mail box or mode of delivery.
If you have additional questions, please review Frequently Asked Questions section or call our dedicated toll-free Rural Mail Safety Review Customer Service Line at 1-866-501-1669.