Canada Post may require a doctor’s note for any customers who say they can’t make their way to a community mailbox as the post office phases out door-to-door home delivery.
“It’s not going to be a one size fits all. It won’t be a cookie-cutter approach,” said spokesman Jon Hamilton. “We recognize everyone’s situation is unique and we need to tailor our solutions to individual circumstances.”
Canada Post is eliminating home delivery over the next five years, as part of sweeping changes to cut costs as demand for mail delivery drops. It starts this fall in 11 communities including Oakville, affecting about 100,000 addresses.
Hamilton said the post office is currently sending out packages to those who have indicated they would have difficulty in getting to a community mailbox. He wouldn’t say how many people that would involve, but said it is a small number.
Those questionnaires, which the Canadian Union of Postal Workers shared with the Toronto Star, ask for details including ability to get to a mailbox or whether another resident could collect the mail.
“For some people, they can get to the box, but they may have an issue opening the box or clearing the mail out of the box,” he said, adding in some cases it’s just finding a compartment at the right level, installing a sliding tray or giving key aid to help someone with arthritis.
As well, the post office could offer up an extra key to a trusted friend or family member.
“For some people, it’s more of an issue of getting to the community mailbox,” Hamilton said. “In some cases, we can redirect the mail to a post office or another address.
“But in some cases, we may need to visit clearing the box for an individual on a weekly basis, and delivering that mail to the door,” he said.
“Clearly, we’re not going to be asking for a doctor’s note, if we’re going to provide somebody with a key aid or an extra key,” he said. “As we try to find the right solution for each individual, in some cases we may ask for a form from the doctor.”
Canada Post said it consulted with dozens of regional and national organizations on ways to accommodate for seniors or the disabled.
“We’re trying to find how to ensure all Canadians can maintain access to their mail and parcels,” Hamilton said.
It is unclear how doctors would react to being asked to fill out additional forms for patients, considering some have urged companies to eliminate note requirements for employees during flu season.
They argue it is not the best use of health care resources. Some doctors charge patients a fee to get such forms signed.
The Canada Post questionnaire suggests other health care professionals could sign the forms including occupational therapists or physiotherapists.