Sudbury residents voiced their concerns at a public meeting Thursday night about cuts to mail service in northeastern Ontario.

Starting next month, all letters dropped into boxes in Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie and Timmins will go to Toronto to be processed.

"From Sudbury to Sudbury, sometimes I say, ‘Oh it'll get there the next day.’ But now it's going to go all the way to Toronto," said one woman at the meeting, held at the Steelworkers Union Hall.

Canada Post says local mail will still be delivered within two days, but Dave Merrick,  president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Local 612, doubts that will be the case.

Merrick, who represents 300 Canada Post employees in the Sudbury area, said the change is aimed at reducing the work done by his members.

"Because they process it through the machines down in Toronto, they can process it quicker through a machine than they can by hand in Sudbury," Merrick said.

Mailing letters more difficult

He also said that even mailing a letter in the city has become more difficult after about 25 red boxes were pulled off the streets.

"When I deliver on the Kingsway, the one in front of the Tim Hortons disappeared,” he said. “And people ask me where the next red box is and, lo and behold, I couldn't find one close around."

Instead of cuts to Canada Post, the union wants the federal government to look at expanding what the post office does, possibly including grocery delivery and banking services.

Both Canada Post and the union have said the changes in mail service won't result in layoffs in northern Ontario, but they do expect some jobs to be cut over time as postal workers retire.