This holiday season 'should be a record' for gift delivery, Canada Post says

This year is shaping up to hit a Christmas season record, a spokesperson says.

Delivering mountains of parcels, not piles of Christmas cards, keeps workers busy

Canada Post is seeing a very busy year for parcel delivery, a spokesperson says. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Canada Post is expecting a 20 per cent increase in delivery this Christmas season over last — possibly the busiest yet.

"It has been exceptionally busy and probably not for the reason some people are thinking," spokesperson Jon Hamilton told the Calgary Eyeopener on Monday.

"Yeah, we still deliver a lot of Christmas cards — and we love doing it — but it's everyone's online shopping."

The official delivery numbers will be known in January, but so far, this year is shaping up to hit a Christmas season record, he said.

The Crown corporation measures busyness by how many days it delivers a million parcels in a day. It hit one million parcels in a day for the first time in 2012, Hamilton said.

So far this year, Canada Post has had 65 million-parcel days.

"It should be a record," Hamilton said. "Sixty-five is certainly a record."

Recent years have been tumultuous for Canada Post, with a labour dispute and threatened lockout, a moratorium on replacing door-to-door delivery with community mail boxes, and a federal-ordered report with recommendations to improve Canada Post's financial health.

'Come full circle'

The decline in mail really dropped in 2006, Hamilton said, and postal workers now deliver about two billion fewer pieces of mail than that year.

Before that, the corporation lost the bulk of its package ordering when Eaton's department stores closed in 1999, he said.

"It was just a slow form of online shopping, so it's kind of come full circle," Hamilton said.

Now Canada Post is aiming to become the country's go-to for parcel delivery. 

The current challenges include improving safety of those parcels, which have been reported being stolen from front porches during home delivery.

"We hate hearing that because it was obviously something someone was waiting for or maybe they needed it for a party that night and we did a lot of work to get it to them," Hamilton said. "What we're saying is, pay attention to the shipping options."

For example, he said, have your valuables shipped to a nearby postal office instead.

People with community mail boxes receive a key in their mail slot to open a parcel locker.

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.