London

This mail carrier says Canada Post needs to stop delivering flyers

Andrew Turnbull of London, Ont. says he touches hundreds of doors and mailboxes on his daily route. He says he is still required to deliver flyers to every home and that it's 'almost impossible' to practice social distancing on the job.

Andrew Turnbull said there is no hand sanitizer in his truck, and nowhere to wash his hands

Andrew Turnbull has been a mail carrier with Canada Post in London, Ont. since 2018. (Submitted by Andrew Turnbull)

Postal worker Andrew Turnbull begins each day at one of London, Ont.'s five Canada Post sorting stations. That's where he washes his hands before setting out on his route.

Before the outbreak, Turnbull would dash into a restaurant bathroom to freshen up at some point during his 20 kilometre route, which he mostly walks. 

Not anymore.

"We have nowhere to wash our hands right now with all the restaurants being closed," said Turnbull, who touches hundreds of doors, gates and mailboxes each day.

Canada Post says it is doing its best to serve Canadians while staying safe. (Rebecca Zandbergen/CBC News)

Plus, Turnbull is out of hand sanitizer.

"There is a shortage. We understand that. But we've been out for quite some time." 

Turnbull is also unaware of any additional cleaning efforts at the sorting stations. And the mail still arrives on the grey trays that circulate around the country.

"They're completely filthy," he said.

Turnbull does wear gloves when he's out on his route, but added, "It still spreads the germs around. We're trying to stop the spread of it, so everything we touch we basically spread it along."

Why is Canada Post still delivering non-essential mail?

"I understand people need cheques, people need parcels right now more than ever," he said. 

But he wonders why Canada Post is still delivering flyers.

"Every single house gets delivered advertising."

And a lot of it, Turnbull said, is for businesses which are currently closed or operating on reduced hours..

Turnbull also services a lot of apartment buildings, which means he has to load flyers into a big bank of mailboxes. Often times, he has to do that in the middle of a lobby, where people are coming and going. 

"I have to open every single one and put advertising in each and every one. It just takes that much longer. It's more human contact," said Turnbull.

In fact, social distancing on the job is "almost impossible," he said, adding that people will often come out to collect their mail after hearing the jangle of his keys.

On Thursday, Canada Post issued a statement saying, "our number one priority is the health and safety of our employees." 

The statement from President and CEO Doug Ettinger goes on to say, "We are sharing the latest information, increasing cleaning at our facilities, implementing social distancing protocols and have provided new, special paid leave days to support parents struggling to find childcare."

Canada Post has also eliminated the need for customers to sign for parcels at the door.

Andrew Turnbull said this sign left on a gate got him through his shift on Friday. (Submitted by Andrew Turnbull)

Turnbull said he's taking his last personal day on Friday. "I found myself getting short with people. I don't know if my throat's sore from just trying to keep people away from me. I found my self getting grumpy, so I just need to get away from it all." 

"It really isn't about me. I'm early 40s, I walk 20 kilometres a day on average. It's about our community. I'm worried about the people with immune systems that can't handle it." 

About the Author

Rebecca Zandbergen

Host, London Morning

Rebecca Zandbergen is from Ottawa and has worked for CBC Radio across the country for more than 15 years, including stops in Iqaluit, Halifax, Windsor and Kelowna.