Canada Post has sent out a notice warning homeowners to remove Christmas decorations from handrails because they can be a hazard for letter carriers. ((CBC/ Steve Rukavina))

Thousands of homeowners in the Montreal area have received a notice from Canada Post asking them to remove Christmas decorations from their handrails or risk having their mail cut off.

John Caines, manager of media relations for Canada Post in Ottawa, said holiday ornaments such as garlands and lights can be dangerous for letter carriers going up and down peoples' front steps.

"Christmas decorations on the handrail might seem trivial to a lot of people, but they impede our carriers' ability to go up and down safely," Caines said. "All we're asking people to do is remove the hazards and there'll be no issue."

He said the company's safety policy concerning mail delivery and stairs is clear, and Canada Post sends out a reminder every Christmas.


Is it fair for Canada Post to demand that people remove decorations from their handrails to help prevent delivery accidents? Take our survey.

"[It's] called a three-point contact method," he said. "A foot on each step and a hand on a handrail. If the handrail has something on it that you have to keep taking your hand off … it's not safe.

"And when you're carrying mail. That's even more of a problem."

Canada Post can pay my bills

Ghislaine St-Pierre, who lives on Montreal's South Shore, has been wrapping garlands and lights around her handrail for five years.

She said she has no intention of taking the decorations down until after the new year, despite receiving the warning her mail delivery could be suspended.


Ghislaine St-Pierre, from Montreal's South Shore, says she has no intention of removing her Christmas decorations, despite receiving a warning her mail could be cut off. ((CBC/ Steve Rukavina))

"I think it's ridiculous," she said in French. "There are more important things in life to worry about than nonsense like this."

It's five steps to her front door , said St-Pierre, adding Canada Post can hold on to her mail as long as it wants.

"They can also pay any [late] bills," she said, smiling.

Canada Post said more than 580 on-the-job accidents or falls occurred in Quebec in the last year and 80 per cent of those were on stairs or at entries.

"People are portraying us as Scrooges today," Caines said. "We deliver Christmas to homes across the country. We want our employees to be safe on the job."