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Canada Post and Rural Canada: Stronger Together

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is Canada Post doing?
  2. Why is Canada Post assessing the safety of rural mailboxes?
  3. Why is Canada Post assessing the safety of rural mailboxes now?
  4. Is the Rural Mail Safety Review a way to help Canada Post eliminate rural mailbox service and close rural post offices?
  5. How does the safety assessment work?
  6. When and where are the safety assessments being done?
  7. How do customers know their rural mailbox is being assessed?
  8. What happens when a rural mailbox is found to pose a risk?
  9. Can I move my rural mailbox so it meets the safety criteria?
  10. What happens if the ground is still frozen and I can't move my mailbox to make it safer?
  11. Will I lose my service if my rural mailbox is unsafe?
  12. Does centralized delivery simply shift risk to customers?
  13. Will converting customers to centralized delivery save Canada Post money?
  14. When you talk about safety, how many accidents have occurred?
  15. How many rural mailboxes will be assessed?
  16. How long will it take to assess all the rural mailboxes in Canada?
  17. If my mailbox has to be moved, who moves it and who pays for any costs incurred?
  18. Once I've been notified that my rural mailbox has to move, how long do I have to move it?
  19. If there is another community mailbox site that is more convenient than the one you have provided, can I switch?
  20. Why does my community newspaper continue to deliver to my mailbox if it is unsafe?
  21. Why won't rural mail carriers drive up my laneway to deliver my mail if my rural mailbox is unsafe?
  22. Why won't my rural mail carrier park his car and get out and walk to my rural mailbox if it is unsafe to deliver to my mailbox from his/her vehicle?

  1. What is Canada Post doing?
    Canada Post is assessing the safety of delivering mail to rural mailboxes.

  2. Why is Canada Post assessing the safety of rural mailboxes?
    Canada Post is committed to providing the safest possible workplace for all its employees. 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. The safety standards for rural mail carriers also benefit our customers and the motoring public.

  3. Why is Canada Post assessing the safety of rural mailboxes now?
    The nature of many of Canada’s rural and suburban areas has changed. Increased traffic is making delivery of mail to many rural mailboxes potentially hazardous for Canada Post mail carriers and the motoring public. We have already equipped our rural mail carriers’ vehicles with rooftop signs and flashing lights, but increased visibility does not address all situations where there is a potential risk. Canada Post has received more than 40 rulings from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (Labour Canada) about workplace safety issues, stemming from the more than 3,000 complaints from our rural mail carriers about health and safety concerns while delivering the mail. Canada Post is responsible for ensuring employee and public safety under both the Criminal Code and Labour Code.

  4. Is the Rural Mail Safety Review a way to help Canada Post eliminate rural mailbox service and close rural post offices?

    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.

    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.

    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.


  5. How does the safety assessment work?
    Canada Post applies a set of detailed criteria developed by an independent panel of traffic safety experts. The assessment can be applied to any rural mailbox, and considers factors such as volume and speed of traffic, sight lines and stopping distance, and the mail carrier’s vehicle position.

  6. When and where are the safety assessments being done?
    Today there are 843,000 rural mailboxes in Canada. Over the next several years, Canada Post will assess each and every rural mailbox in the country. Canada Post will inform customers, Members of Parliament and municipal officials before starting the assessment in any community.

  7. How do customers know their rural mailbox is being assessed?
    Canada Post will contact customers by letter before any assessment is initiated. Once the assessment has been completed, Canada Post will inform the customer of the findings of the safety assessment. If a change is required to either the rural mailbox or the mode of delivery, Canada Post will make every effort to discuss the findings with the customer in person. If no change is required to either the rural mailbox or the mode of delivery, the customer will be informed by letter.

  8. What happens when a rural mailbox is found to pose a risk?
    A Canada Post representative will meet the customer to discuss possible solutions. These include moving the rural mailbox to meet the safety criteria or perhaps using another mode of delivery. Canada Post is committed to maintaining delivery to rural mailboxes. Modifying the mode of delivery is something that is considered only as a last resort.

  9. Can I move my rural mailbox so it meets the safety criteria?
    In some cases, rural mailboxes can be moved or clustered in groups to meet established safety criteria. However, rural mailboxes should only be moved with the guidance of a Canada Post assessor.

  10. What happens if the ground is still frozen and I can't move my rural mailbox to make it safer?
    Where possible, Canada Post will supply and install a temporary mailbox close to a customer’s home. When the ground is no longer frozen and you can move your rural mailbox to the suggested location, Canada Post will remove the temporary mailbox.

  11. Will I lose my service if my rural mailbox is unsafe?
    No. Canada Post is committed to maintaining rural delivery service at all times for all customers affected by the assessment. 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. 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. If your rural mailbox cannot be moved to meet the safety criteria, service will be provided via one of Canada Post’s proven centralized mail delivery systems, such as a Community mailbox or a postal box at a local post office (a service provided at no charge).

  12. Does centralized delivery simply shift risk to customers?
    No. Any move into a community mailbox does not transfer the risk to customers. Centralized delivery systems such as Community mailboxes are placed at sites selected after consultation with municipal officials. They are placed as close as possible to the customers they serve and are maintained year round by Canada Post.

  13. Will converting customers to centralized delivery save Canada Post money?
    No. Switching customers’ method of delivery is a costly undertaking for Canada Post. The rural mailbox safety assessment initiative is responding to serious questions of health and safety to which Canada Post is legally obliged to respond. 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.

  14. When you talk about safety, how many accidents have occurred?
    To date, there have been more than 170 traffic accidents related to rural mailbox mail delivery.

  15. How many rural mailboxes will be assessed?
    All rural mailboxes will be assessed from a health and safety perspective over the next several years. Today, there are about 843,000 rural mailboxes which represent 6% of Canada Post’s over 14 million delivery points.

  16. How long will it take to assess all the rural mailboxes in Canada?
    Several years.

  17. If my rural mailbox has to be moved, who moves it and who pays for any costs incurred?
    Canada Post will indicate to the customer where the rural mailbox needs to be moved in order to meet the established safety criteria. Moving the rural mailbox and any costs incurred are the customer’s responsibility.

  18. Once I've been notified that my rural mailbox has to move, how long do I have to move it?
    Canada Post is asking that customers move their rural mailboxes within 15 calendar days of being notified. If winter conditions prevent moving your rural mailbox, Canada Post will offer a temporary delivery solution until your rural mailbox can be moved.

  19. If there is another community mailbox site that is more convenient than the one you have provided, can I switch?
    Yes, provided there is space at the more convenient Community mailbox location. In some cases, switching to another CMB may result in your address changing. In such cases, Canada Post will provide you with complimentary Change of Address cards and redirection service for 12 months.

  20. Why does my community newspaper continue to deliver to my rural mailbox if it is unsafe?
    The legal responsibility to provide the safest possible working environment applies to all Canadian companies. Canada Post cannot comment on/speak to the policies of other organization and companies. For Canada Post, the safety of its employees and customers is a priority.

  21. Why won't rural mail carriers drive up my laneway to deliver my mail if my rural mailbox is unsafe?
    Canada Post has examined many options, including going up customers’ laneways. However, this approach does not necessarily mitigate safety concerns, especially where traffic volumes are high. There are a relatively small number of laneways where this is possible and the inherent issues around ensuring the laneway is free and clear of obstructions, including snow, to ensure delivery make this option impractical.

  22. Why won't my rural mail carrier park his car and get out and walk to my rural mailbox if it is unsafe to deliver to my mailbox from his/her vehicle?
    The safety of employees, customers and the motoring public is a priority. Safety experts have determined that exiting the vehicle to deliver the mail poses an unreasonable safety risk to the mail carrier. As well, the time it takes to exit a vehicle, deliver the mail and re-enter the vehicle would greatly reduce the efficiency of our mail delivery system.