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Union claims super mailbox plan on hold in Hamilton, Canada Post denies it

Canada Post’s plan to stop door-to-door mail deliver and turn to community mailboxes has been put on “indefinite hold,” according to the union representing postal workers. But Canada Post says otherwise.
Canada Post plans on installing 4000 super mailboxes in Hamilton over the next five years -- but on Wednesday, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers announced the corporation's plans to end door to door delivery on Hamilton Mountain were on "indefinite hold." (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

Canada Post's plan to stop door-to-door mail delivery and turn to community mailboxes in Hamilton has been put on "indefinite hold," according to the union representing postal workers.

However, Canada Post has refuted the union's statement, saying nothing is on hold and the switch to so-called "super mailboxes" on the Mountain will still happen this summer. Canada Post will not say what has caused the conflicting reports, as the city and the Crown corporation are set to meet in court again this week.

In a news release Wednesday, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) said mail carriers and employees are "cautiously optimistic."

"At this point, we can only speculate, but we think the actions of Hamilton residents have had an impact," said Terry Langley, president of the Hamilton local of CUPW.

According to the union, a floor manager told Langley the news Tuesday. "It was announced to postal workers on the work floor," said CUPW spokesperson Aalya Ahmad. Managers also told Hamilton postal workers that no new date for the end of door-to-door delivery had been scheduled, the union says.

But in an emailed statement, Canada Post spokesperson Jon Hamilton told CBC News that installation crews in Hamilton are still working, and that the switch from door-to-door "will happen this summer."

"Nothing is put on hold. Boxes are being installed today as they have been since April," he wrote. "We keep employees informed. Maybe they misunderstood."

Canada Post and the City of Hamilton are currently locked in a court battle over the installation of "super mailboxes."

A new city bylaw charges Canada Post $200 for every mailbox it installs, and gives city staff a say in where to put them. It also requires a four-month moratorium after the company pays for the first 500. The city has filed a restraining order to stop Canada Post from installing the mailboxes without permits.

Canada Post, however, argues a judge should strike the entire plan down. The company has argued the bylaw grants vague and significant discretion to city staff. 

In court last week, Justice Alan Whitten asked if the bylaw was about the city wanting to assert some control over the federal corporation, and if the move had been motivated by the council's expressed dislike for the new mailboxes as a mode of postal service anyway.

"Do you need this layer of bureaucracy?" Whitten said. "You're creating a level that seems unnecessary." 

The case resumes in court this week.

With files from Kelly Bennett

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