British Columbia

Are Canada Post's community mailboxes really safe?

Questions are being raised about the security of community mailboxes after Canada Post announced it's phasing out home delivery and focusing on so-called superboxes.

CBC investigation revealed 4,880 incidents involving super mailboxes from 2008 to 2013

MAP: Click on the pointers to see super mailbox incidents in your community

Questions are being raised about the security of community mailboxes, after Canada Post announced it's phasing out home delivery and focusing on so-called super mailboxes.

CBC News recently investigated problems involving community mailboxes and found Canada Post recorded 4,880 incidents involving community mailboxes, ranging from vandalism and arson to mail theft, between 2008 and 2013.

The problem is worst, and growing, in the Lower Mainland, especially when identity thieves go on sprees at tax return time.

After our investigation, customers told us Canada Post did not do enough to warn them of the risks involved with community mailboxes.

Surrey resident John Niezgoda recently had his super mailbox broken into and says he can't get hold of the mail he's supposed to have.

"I think Canada Post owes us personal delivery as far as I'm concerned... I mean, after all, we do pay taxes," said Niezgoda.

The Mayor of Coquitlam, Richard Stewart, says his city has many superboxes and Canada Post has a long way to go before people will buy into the promise of privacy and security with community mailbox use.

Community mailboxes, also known as super-boxes, have been the subject of 4,880 incidents of vandalism, arson, break-ins and other damage recorded by Canada Post. (CBC)

"We have some of our neighbourhoods where the community mailbox has been broken into at least once a year for the last decade," Stewart said.

"We end up with people constantly having to go out and change their credit card numbers, change all their bank account numbers, their security systems to avoid identity theft." 

Still the corporation continues to insist the super mailboxes are safe.

B.C. reacts to Canada Post cuts

Reaction to Canada Post's announcement of job and service cuts continue to pour in, with some employees even saying they first heard the news in the media.

Donna MacIntosh, a postal worker for over 30 years, says it's now up to the public to fight to keep door-to-door delivery alive.

"We're watching them destroy the company, destroy the public postal service and the only people that can make that stop is the public," said MacIntosh.

"If the public doesn't go after the government to put their foot down with the post's gone,"

MacIntosh says Canada Post's estimates on how many employees plan to retire is skewed.

Seniors' issues not addressed

A seniors advocate in Prince George says the loss of door-to-door mail delivery will result in more isolation for people with mobility or vision issues. 

Lola-Dawn Fennell, manager of the Prince George Council of Seniors, says many seniors living on their own have difficulties getting around, especially during snow storms.

"So if people have to go out to a central place to pick up their mail, they will be challenged," said Fennell.

"It may make it more difficult for seniors to keep track of bills and different things if they're not able to get out."

Fennell says seniors tend to rely more on mail delivery for bills, magazines, and other communication, because they aren't as computer-savvy as younger age groups.

With files from the CBC's Jason Proctor, Richard Zussman, Terry Donnelly and Marissa Harvey


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