Some Ottawa residents received letters from Canada Post asking them to consider accepting flyers and coupons.

The letter that arrived at homes this week was sent to around 900,000 mail boxes across the country. These residents have previously told Canada Post not to deliver any junk mail to their address. Canadians can opt out of receiving junk mail through the postal service's consumer choice program.


This is the first time Canada's postal service has made a direct pitch for junk mail. (Andrew Vaughan, Canadian Press)

Canada Post argues that 'junk mail' helps Canadians connect with their communities and save money.

"While unaddressed mail does have a bad name, we understand that there is a relevance to it. And we want to make sure that we offer it as efficiently as possible," said Canada Post spokesperson Anick Losier.

This is the first time Canada's postal service has made a direct pitch for junk mail.

"Mail is changing. People are using us differently. And it would be irresponsible for us to not change," said Losier.

Ottawa resident Carmen Iliescu, who for years has put a 'no flyers' sign on her mailbox, said that if Canada Post wants to change it should ditch junk mail altogether.

She said a letter from Canada Post won't change her mind because she finds junk mail too overwhelming.

"I would prefer to not have so much paper on my door," Iliescu said. "It's too much information. It's confusing. When I need (information), I'll go and search for it."

Canada Post received positive feedback to their letter, according to Losier. The letter included a postage paid envelope, so that Canadians could sign back up with Canada Post.

"On the first day, we got over 400 letters back saying I want back in," Losier said.

She said people who decide they still don't want junk mail will have their wishes respected.

Challenges on the horizon

The mass mail-out follows a recent Conference Board of Canada report that says Canada's postal service is headed for financial trouble. The report projects that Canada Post will hit a one billion dollar deficit by 2020.

Gurprit Kindra, a marketing professor at the University of Ottawa, said this is part of Canada Post's strategy to stay afloat.

He does not believe the strategy will work.

"It's a fairly desperate cry for help. I can't imagine how sending out junk messages to people who do not want to receive junk messages is going to revive the fortunes of Canada Post," Kindra said.

In order for Canada Post to make a comeback, Kindra said the postal service needs to examine other options, like scaling back door-to-door service.

"Door-to-door mail delivery is a luxury that in many instances is unaffordable in Canada. [It] doesn't do a lot of harm if I walk around the block to pick up my mail," Kindra said.

Canada Post is currently holding roundtables with communities across Canada. Canada Post says it's open to suggestions on the future direction of Canada's mail service.