Woman missed out on job because Canada Post lost mail, not once, not twice, but 3 times

A Toronto-area woman is still baffled at how an important government document she required for a job got lost in the mail twice, then was misplaced a third time.

Aleksandra Mielczarek, 29, needed a citizenship document to get a job with WestJet

Aleksandra Mielczarek says WestJet rescinded its job offer after Canada Post lost her citizenship documents in the mail. (Jon Castell/CBC)

A Toronto-area woman is still baffled at how an important government document she needed to get a job got lost in the mail twice, then was misplaced a third time.

Aleksandra Mielczarek, 29, said it appears Canada Post carriers couldn't find her home address twice during attempts to deliver the envelope. Then a third time, when the document was sent Express Post, guaranteeing arrival in two to three business days, it disappeared for almost two weeks.

"It cost me a job," Mielczarek told CBC Toronto during an interview at her Mississauga home where the mail was supposed to arrive.

The document was crucial because it was a replacement copy of her Canadian citizenship card, something she needed to obtain enhanced airport security clearance required for a job with WestJet, which was scheduled to start in December 2017.

Mielczarek's correspondence from WestJet indicates she was hired Nov. 6, 2017, and was scheduled to start work the next month, contingent on factors including Transport Canada security clearance.

But when she tried to obtain the clearance from Pearson International Airport, she learned that her passport and driver's licence weren't enough, since she wasn't born in Canada. 

Mielczarek's family moved to Canada from Poland when she was three, and she eventually got a Canadian citizenship card. 

The problem: she had misplaced one of the two required citizenship documents. 

She said she called Citizenship and Immigration Canada, which agreed to put a rush on replacing her citizenship card.

Mail sent in December arrives in March

While the issues delayed her beyond her original planned start date, a record shows the government agency mailed the document Dec. 29, 2017. 

But the envelope never arrived.

Mielczarek said a Canada Post official told her by phone that records showed a mail carrier couldn't find a unit number at the home, which doesn't have separate units. Her single-family home clearly has a house number and a mailbox outside.

For her second attempt, she got Liberal MP John Oliver's office to help her reach out to the government again.

The envelope was sent a second time. Once again, it didn't show up.

'Never had any issues in the past'

"I've never had any issues in the past receiving mail," she said. "But for some reason this is not getting there."

For her third attempt, she requested Express Post, which included tracking, a two to three day guarantee and even delivery to a nearby post office.

Her bad luck continued.

The envelope containing her citizenship card bounced around to multiple locations between Feb. 28 and March 9, 2018.

Mielczarek is seen here with a stack of documents she's accumulated during her six-month ordeal dealing with WestJet and Canada Post. (Jon Castell/CBC)

She said she even drove to two of the Canada Post sorting locations listed on the tracking information, anxious to find her mail.

She said her citizenship card finally showed up at the post office box she initially requested it be sent to on March 9.

"Unfortunately by the time I received it, because of the delay in time, I lost my job," she said. "No longer is there a vacancy for the position I was hired for."

She doesn't blame WestJet, where she had hoped to begin work as a customer service ambassador.

The airline said it keeps employees in an approved hiring pool for six months if they have delays producing documents. In Mielczarek's case, that time expired.

Canada Post's response

CBC Toronto asked Canada Post to explain why it took three attempts to deliver the envelope. In an email exchange, the corporation said it could only address the third time it was misplaced, because it was the only time the document was tracked.

"A mistake occurred that resulted in the item being delivered on March 9th instead of March 6th. We are sorry about this delay," the corporation said.

"We are also following up with the customer." 

Mielczarek said Canada Post did reach out to her a day after inquiries by CBC Toronto.

"I'm not sure if the right word is negligence. Obviously something was not done right," she said.

 "To be honest, I feel like Canada Post should compensate for the salary and the time lost."

Canada Post offers compensation

A Canada Post employee did offer her $100 as compensation once she finally received her mail, Mielczarek said.

"I have yet to receive that $100," she said. "Maybe they have not been able to find that address again."

The email from Canada Post said a "technical issue" is to blame. 

Canada Post trucks parked outside the Gateway Postal Facility in Mississauga, Ont., one of the locations Mielczarek visited while looking for her mail. (Jon Castell/CBC)

"We are fixing the issue and the customer will receive the compensation in the next few days," the email reads.

"Canada Post apologizes for the inconvenience caused to this customer. We pride ourselves on providing a reliable service and will use this experience to make any necessary improvements."

Mielczarek said after she first got the WestJet job, she learned when they were hiring again and told a close friend.

Her friend is now working for the company.

"It's been a bittersweet experience, let's put it that way," she said.