Canada Post is introducing new fees for housing developers from the start of next year, to cover the installation of community mail and parcel boxes.
From January 2013, it will require a $200 per address fee from property developers to install mail and parcel boxes in new residential developments.
The loss-making postal service currently delivers to about 15m addresses each year across Canada, but every year it has to deliver to an additional 150,000 to 200,000 homes as Canada’s population grows.
The extra delivery points mean it costs more each year to run Canada Post’s network, while its mail volumes are declining.
The Corporation said this week that it will no longer absorb the costs of activating new addresses by installing community mail and parcel boxes for developers without charge.
The charge will not be applied to apartment buildings or condominiums, whose developers already contribute to installation of mail boxes.
Canada Post said 3.8m households – about one in four – currently use community mail and parcel boxes, and argued that it should be able to charge for their installation in the same way utilities charge developers to hook new properties up to water, telecoms or energy supplies.
The Crown Corporation said it currently absorbs “millions” in costs each year to install new mail boxes, at a time of “unprecedented” declines in the core business of delivering bills, statements and letters.
“The sharing of a portion of the costs of installing community mail and parcel boxes is necessary to ensure that Canada Post is able to maintain the high level of service that Canadians have come to expect, while helping to ensure the corporation does not become a drain on the taxpayers of Canada,” the company said in a statement explaining the new charges.
The $200 per address charge will be applied to property developers, rather than homeowners or homebuilders, Canada Post said.
“This is in keeping with how other infrastructure costs are shared by utilities and other services, public or private,” it said.
Canada Post currently shares installation costs for community mail and parcel boxes with developers of new apartment and condominium complexes, incurring costs of locks and keys while developers pay for the mailbox installation.
The Post said community mail and parcel boxes offer sought-after security and convenience for receiving letters and packages, particularly as the amount of online shopping increases in Canada.
Canada Post reported its first financial loss in 17 years last year, and has been recording losses each quarter so far this year.
Traditional mail volumes have been falling by more than 4% this year compared to last, while direct marketing volumes down 5.5%.
Source: Post&Parcel/Canada Post