Cost of Living·FULL EPISODE

You've got mail! Looking at delivery from shippers, to drivers, to receivers

Delivery has become ubiquitous and — in or out of a pandemic — is transforming our economy. This week, The Cost of Living explores the cost of delivery and how it affects businesses, consumers and the people making the deliveries.

The Cost of Living on the cost of delivery

A FedEx worker sorts through packages in Vancouver in December. About half of Canadians say they plan to shop mostly or exclusively online this holiday season. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Delivery has become ubiquitous and — in or out of a pandemic — is transforming our economy.

  • The Cost of Living ❤s money — how it makes (or breaks) us.
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So The Cost of Living is looking at the cost of delivery — its benefits, its drawbacks and the impacts delivery has on businesses, consumers and the people who make the deliveries themselves.


In a few short years, services like Amazon Prime and apps such as DoorDash or Uber have changed everything about what we purchase, from whom and how those products get to us.

And during a pandemic, we've come to rely on these services even more. In many ways, those services rely on what's been called the "gig" economy. How are the companies that bring them to us disrupting the old, established economic players?

Host Paul Haavardsrud talks with Frank Pasquale, author of New Laws of Robotics, about where workers fit into what's been dubbed "platform capitalism."


The race to the bottom, when it comes to consumer pricing at least, is driving more and more vendors to offer free shipping. But as always, there is a cost to something being "free" — and that cost might just hurt your favourite small business.

Producer Tracy Fuller reveals some of the hidden prices when you enjoy free shipping.


What's it like to actually work for one of these on-demand delivery apps?

Producer Anis Heydari spoke to several drivers about the pros and cons of taking on a delivery gig. He also crunches the numbers to find out just how hard it is to make a living driving for Uber, Instacart and other similar platforms.


Around half of Canadians say they plan to shop mostly or exclusively online this holiday season. That's a lot of parcels getting ferried across the country, and that distance can mean a heavy carbon footprint.

Or maybe not!

Producer Falice Chin looks at the ways you can lower the emissions impact of your online purchases.


Click at the top of this page to hear the whole episode or download the CBC Listen app.

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