Canada Post confirmed earlier this week it will require medical information from people who request continuation of their home mail delivery, but doctors say this is a needless burden on the health-care system.
The Crown corporation will be sending questionnaires to people who have indicated they are unable to pick up their mail from a community mailbox to determine their need for home delivery.
However, the president of the Canadian Medical Association Louis Francescutti said this request will cost patients money, as well as needlessly expose them to other sick patients.
Francescutti said this decision was made without any consultation with the CMA, calling it "totally irresponsible."
'Forcing physicians to make a decision about whether a patient is disabled or not able to get to a mailbox is unrealistic.' - Louis Francescutti, CMA president
"For Canada Post to suggest a whole new onslaught of Canadians are going to be visiting physicians offices, forcing physicians to make a decision about whether a patient is disabled or not able to get to a mailbox, is unrealistic," he said.
According to Francescutti, Canada Post should be looking at a solution it can work out internally, rather than placing the burden on physicians right across Canada.
"Rather than put our members in this awkward situation, it would be far easier for Canada Post to figure out a system where they can determine whether the person has a disability or not," said Francescutti.
"If somebody says they have a disability, they can take them at face value for it. I don't think there's too many Canadians that would fake a disability just to continue to have mail delivered to their home address."
Sharing of private information
One advocate in Newfoundland and Labrador said this request from Canada Post approaches an invasion of privacy.
Kelly White, with the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities Newfoundland and Labrador, said Canada Post should look into getting more input from people with disabilities and providing an optional self-registry instead.
"Why Canada Post needs to know, as they say, what's wrong with us, or what can be fixed, or why we need special services. They don't need to know our medical history," she said.
"We don't want to be sharing information about ourselves any more than you do."
White added she thinks there are some rather large loopholes in the idea.
"Persons who are going through cancer treatments, persons going through other terminal illnesses, we have people aging every single day, people who break their legs. How do we control this? How does Canada Post say, 'Sorry, you don't fit our mandate and you don't have this so we can't do this for you,'" she said.
Earlier this week, Canada Post spokesman Jon Hamilton said the corporation consulted with organizations that specialize in seniors and disability issues to come up with the process to determine individual needs.
Hamilton said Canada Post will consult with the CMA on the process, but added that he thinks the request is reasonable.
"We looked at other accommodation programs across the country at all levels of government, trying to find out what's the best approach to get some expertise to validate some things when looking at some more serious accommodation," said Hamilton.
"We're going to talk to the CMA and put it into context so that they understand that we're staging this over the next five years. It's a small number of people that even ask for assistance."
Canada Post said it's willing to meet with concerned groups, like the CMA, to talk about issues, adding that it's an evolving process that just began.
The switch to community mailboxes is scheduled to be completed by 2019.