Canada Post looks to improve service in Iqaluit

Canada Post is reviewing its P.O. box system in Iqaluit amid complaints of slow service and long waits.

Wait for 'snail mail' too long, say many Iqaluit residents

It's long been a favourite pastime in Iqaluit — complaining about long waits at the post office. But some city residents say the problem is getting worse and that something needs to be fixed.

Canada Post does not offer home delivery in Iqaluit. Residents must lease a box at the post office. But people who don't have a box wait in line for mail received through general delivery alongside those waiting to pick up parcels. 

"You can stand in line, 20 people in front of you, half an hour or 45 minutes," says resident Joanne Ashley.

  One of the main problems is that Iqaluit is growing. There are now about 3,400 boxes for a population more than twice that size. New residents often go on a waiting list for post office boxes, receiving mail through general delivery in the meantime. Canada Post assigns about 20 new post boxes each month to people on the waiting list. 

"I have a box, now," says resident Rosie Shaimaiyuk, "but it took a few years to get."

A Canada Post spokesperson says boxes are leased for a year at a time, but many are deserted before the period is up.

"It's a transient population," says Phil Legault, the manager of media relations at Canada Post. "People will leave on a much shorter notice than what they anticipated."

Legault says Canada Post desperately wants to reduce the lines at the Iqaluit post office. The company is reviewing its P.O. box system, and plans to make improvements.

"Everything that involves the box rentals, we're taking into consideration," Legault says.

Other options being considered include weekend service for parcel pick-up, or a separate service desk for general delivery customers.

Canada Post hopes to complete the review of its Iqaluit operations by the end of May.