6 myths and realities about Canada Post

As they absorb the news that urban door-to-door delivery is in its final days, Canadians may hold in their minds an image of Canada Post that doesn't really exist any more. The post office has already morphed into a new business.

The 145-year-old post office isn't what it used to be

Only a third of Canadians get mail delivered to their doors by a Canada Post letter carrier. On Wednesday, Canada Post announced that door-top-door delivery will be phased out in urban areas. (Andrew Vaugn/Canadian Press)

As they absorb the news that door-to-door delivery is in its final days, Canadians may hold in their minds an image of Canada Post that doesn't really exist any more.

The changes announced Tuesday by Canada Post sound dramatic — a phase-out of door-to-door delivery and a steep increase in the cost of stamps — but the fact is, the post office has already morphed into a new business.

1. Most Canadians don't have a letter-carrier coming to their door

Canada Post serves 15.1 million addresses but only a third, or 5 million, receive mail delivered to their own doorstep on a daily basis. The rest use community mailboxes, shared mailboxes in building lobbies or rural mailboxes.

2. Not many people use stamps, anyway

The price of a stamp booklet will rise from 63 cents to 85 cents per stamp, and buying an individual stamp with cash will cost a dollar — but the average Canadian household purchases fewer than two stamps per month.

3. People aren't sending or receiving a lot of letters, but many more parcels

On Dec. 13, 2012, Canada Post delivered a record 1 million parcels across Canada, an 11 per cent increase from the previous year.

On Monday, Dec. 9 of this year, Canada Post delivered 1.2 million parcels.

On the other hand, letter volume declined by 7 per cent, and Canada Post delivered 73 million fewer pieces of mail compared to the previous year.

4. One of Canada Post's biggest customers is cutting back

The federal government, one of Canada Post's biggest customers, is phasing out the use of paper cheques by 2016 and will deliver its 300 million annual payments, such as employment insurance and old age security, by bank direct deposit. The only people who will still receive (government) cheques in the mail will be those who live in remote areas with no access to financial institutions.

5. Online shopping ensures Canada Post will always have a business

Canadians ordered $8-billion worth of goods last year online to be delivered to their residences. Canada Post says those packages will be safer in a locked slot in a community box, and Canadians will find this method more convenient than waiting to pick them up at a postal outlet.

6. Dogs will have to find something else to do

Canada Post's own numbers suggest 600 letter carriers were bitten, chased or lunged at in a threatening way by dogs last year. The post office recommends dogs be "properly trained, socialized and kept under control."

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