Ottawa

Shop early, ship early, Canada Post advises

Canada Post and other couriers say they've been working at Christmas-like volumes since the pandemic began, and are now ramping up efforts to meet the real holiday rush.

Couriers reporting boom in business as Christmas shoppers go online

As Christmas nears, Canada Post says it expects to handle two million parcels a day, like these ones awaiting delivery in Manotick. (Stu Mills/CBC)

Canada Post and other couriers say they've been working at Christmas-like volumes since the pandemic began, and are now ramping up efforts to meet the real holiday rush.

"Canadians in March and April started shopping online, and you could see their comfort level grow throughout the year," said Canada Post spokesperson Jon Hamilton.

In a June survey of 3,000 Canadians, Canada Post found 44 per cent said they were shopping more online than before the pandemic, while 48 per cent said they planned to do most or all of their Christmas shopping without leaving the house.

That's led to an unprecedented glut of parcels — soon two million a day, according to Canada Post, which is warning Canadians hoping to get Christmas gifts to their destination by regular delivery to have them in the mail by Dec. 9.

Packages await delivery at the Gopher It warehouse in Ottawa. (Stu Mills/CBC)

Hiring extra staff

Canada Post is hiring 4,000 extra staff to help with the period between Black Friday and Christmas, and putting 1,000 more trucks on the road to handle the holiday surge.

Amazon, which relies on Canada Post to deliver many of its packages in this country, said it, too, is hiring thousands of workers to meet the holiday demand.

Mail and deliveries give local businesses a boost as pandemic drags on

CBC News Ottawa

8 months ago
1:09
Jenn Heyward, founder of Ottawa courier company GopherIt Deliveries, says the pandemic has caused many residents to purchase more items from local businesses, resulting in more local deliveries as well. 1:09

Private couriers are feeling the pressure, too, but also reaping the rewards.

"We are definitely seeing a rise in demand," said Gopher It Deliveries founder Jenn Hayward, who converted her Ottawa courier company into a full warehouse and delivery service when COVID-19 struck. "We're seven times bigger than we were a year ago." 

The main message from couriers large and small: if you want the package there on time, shop early and ship early.

Batter Up owner Jamie-Lynn Pokrzywka says she's relying on her courier service to keep up with the demand for her baked goods. (Stu Mills/CBC)

One of Gopher It's customers is Batter Up Bakery in Westboro, where last week owner Jamie-Lynn Pokrzywka and her staff whipped up 600 cookies, 18 custom cakes and "a ton" of DIY dessert-making kits.

Pokrzywka has had to hire two more employees to handle the holiday frenzy, and said she's relying on her courier to deliver when she needs it the most.

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