Canada Post suspends mail delivery to 2 Toronto highrises after some residents seen without masks
Service will resume once all residents wear masks in common areas, Crown corporation says
Canada Post has suspended mail delivery to two highrise buildings in Toronto because it says some residents who live there are not wearing masks in common areas that postal workers must use to drop off mail.
In an email to CBC Toronto on Sunday, the Crown corporation said mail delivery has been suspended at 100 and 150 Graydon Hall, near Don Mills Road and Highway 401. Residents must now pick up their mail at a Canada Post depot at 70 Wynford Dr., roughly an eight-minute drive or 27-minute bus ride away.
"It's very frustrating," May Aboayda, one resident, said on Sunday. "I'm going to move from this building. It's too much."
Aboayda said residents are following the rules. "Everyone is wearing a mask. We don't have any cases in the building. So many people are waiting for their documents. I hope they will solve this problem soon," she said.
Canada Post said the service suspension is due to safety concerns as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
"Within the areas of the buildings delivery employees must access to deliver mail, some individuals are not wearing masks," Valérie Chartrand, spokesperson for Canada Post, said in an email on Sunday.
"This is a safety risk and we have advised the buildings management. Wearing masks in public areas is recommended by public health and is a common courtesy to others, especially those working to provide a service."
Residents in apartment buildings and condos in Toronto are required under a city bylaw to wear masks in common areas, but there are exemptions to the requirement, including children under two and people with medical conditions.
GH Capital Corp., the property management company that owns and maintains Graydon Hall Apartments, said it was advised on Feb. 4 that mail delivery to the two buildings would stop immediately.
Canada Post said direct mail delivery service to the mailboxes inside the buildings will resume once it is safe to do so. It reminded residents that masks are mandatory inside Canada Post buildings.
"We understand this is a difficult time and we appreciate our customers helping to keep our employees safe, which will also help keep our local communities safe."
Iulian Stanciu, a resident at one of the buildings, said the decision will be inconvenient because he has to drive now to pick up his mail, which he believes is not justified. He learned about suspension of mail delivery on a wall in the building.
"I think they are using it an justification not to do their job," he said. "To me, It's a unilateral decision. They didn't consult or give us an opportunity to talk about it. They just said: 'We're done.'"
Stanciu said most of the residents wear masks in common areas and he noted that there are exemptions to mask wearing under the bylaw. He said there is no question that the building is safe.
"I don't see this an excuse for them not to deliver the service."
Muneeza Sheikh, a labour and employment lawyer and partner with Levitt LLP, said Canada Post is well within its rights to suspend delivery under these circumstances.
"If you have employees who are saying, 'I don't feel safe making deliveries into this particular high rise'… it is entirely appropriate," Sheikh said.
"No Canadian employee should ever have to put their health at risk to do their job."
Still, Sheikh said, some further investigation is "definitely warranted." If Canada Post looked closely at the high rise and found that "for the most part all safety protocol is in place," then the refusal of employees to go into the building could be considered an illegal work stoppage.
"We just don't have enough information yet," she said.
Property management company to contact MPP
GH Capital Corp. told residents in a letter dated Feb. 5 that it plans to contact Canada Post management and MPP Michael Coteau, who represents Don Valley East, to discuss the issue.
"The reason Canada Post has given is that our residents are not wearing their masks in the common area," the letter reads.
"Although we know this [is] not true of 95% of our residents, we do know that the 5% who think they should not participate in MASKING is a very deep concern to us all."
In bold in the letter, the property management company urged residents "PLEASE wear your masks at all times when leaving your home...even to put out the garbage; we do not want to miss another day of mail."
It also encouraged residents to contact Coteau and MP Yasmin Ratansi, who represents Don Valley East, to voice their concerns.
GH Capital Corp. reminded residents to wear masks when doing the following activities:
- Taking the garbage to the disposal room.
- Taking out the recycling.
- Doing your laundry.
- Answering your door.
- When anyone who is not an immediate member of your family enters your home.
- Always when you leave your home.
With files from Ieva Lucs and Thalia Daragon-Giguere