Mail problems plague Cape Bretoners who do their own home delivery

Residents of South Bar, N.S., say they frequently receive other people’s mail and either have to deliver it to their neighbours or put it back in the mail.

Residents of South Bar, N.S., say are fed up with receiving other people’s mail

Barbara Miller says she's never sure whose mail she's going to get when she opens her mailbox. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

Lori MacLean says this week she received her sister's T4 in the mail, nearly a month after it was mailed out — and she calls mistaken mail delivery an all-too-common occurrence in her Cape Breton community. 

MacLean is one of several residents of South Bar, N.S., who say they frequently receive other people's bills and letters and either have to deliver them to their neighbours or put them back in the slot, hoping they reach their destination. 

"We're doing our own home delivery," she said. 

"Should you put it back in the box where it's going to be delayed again for them? Should you deliver the mail to that person? And you don't want that person to know … well, I've seen your mail — here's your bill from Nova Scotia Power. It shouldn't be like that." 

Lori MacLean says her sister's T4 was dated Feb. 16 but it arrived at her own house, not her sister's, on March 11. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

MacLean said her mail often ends up at one particular neighbour's home, but he lives in Florida six months a year. 

"Many times I contacted Canada Post. Many times I spoke with them. Many times they told me they're going to look after the situation," she said. "They have to do something. They really have to do something."

Investigation started in September

Canada Post said in a statement to CBC that it investigated misdeliveries after its customer service team brought the issue up last September. It said it has discussed the issue with the person who delivers the mail and is reviewing how it sorts mail for the area. 

The Crown corporation also said it is monitoring the community mailbox site that serves 126 addresses.

MacLean said after contacting Canada Post, they told her seven pieces of her mail were found in other people's mailboxes.

She wants Canada Post to check every box to ensure the addresses are correct and she'd prefer to have a free post office box at the Whitney Pier Post Office, instead of leaving her mail delivery to chance. 

Veteran William Bennett says he's still waiting for a benefit cheque for $2,000. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

Last month, William Bennett's neighbour delivered his veteran's benefit cheque. The 93-year-old said he and his bedridden wife rely on the income and this month they're still waiting.

"Frustrating when you lose — I don't know how much — $2,000 or more. Haven't got it yet," he said. 

Barbara Miller, who also lives in the area, said people like Bennett shouldn't have to deal with this problem and she was motivated to speak up after learning of his challenges.

"They're dealing with people's livelihood," she said. "We're totally dependent that a federal agency, the post office, and the people that work for the post office."

Barbara Miller says she's received lots of people's mail, and hasn't received some of her own. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

Miller doesn't use email and said she relies on hard copies of her bills. She said she's received pieces of her mail from neighbours weeks after they were delivered and she and her husband deliver the mail they mistakenly receive. 

"We don't mind doing it. But it really makes me suspicious. Like, has somebody else got my mail and can't deliver it?" she said. 

"It is just so frustrating. You don't know if you're getting your mail. I feel that your mail is private, it's important. And really, I don't want anybody else viewing my mail."

With files from Gary Mansfield