Something had to happen at Canada Post. But will Wednesday's announcement be enough?
The Crown corporation tabled plans to phase out door-to-door mail delivery over the next five years and hike the cost of stamps to a buck.
The truth is, only about one third of Canadians, mostly in urban areas, receive mail at their doors anyway. New neighbourhoods in cities from Kelowna to St. John's have used community mailboxes for decades.
Going all the way isn't a big deal. In fact, it still won't be enough to get Canada Post back in the black.
Will walking a few doors down the street to collect your mail a couple times a week really be that big a hardship? Businesses that rely on mail - few as they may be these days - can send a junior staff member to fetch the correspondence.
The cost-cutting effort, along with attrition of older staff, will save about $700 million to $900 million annually.
That's a big number. But it's still not enough. If nothing changes, Canada Post is forecast to lose $1 billion a year by 2020.
The corporation lost $130 million in the third quarter of this year alone.
And, despite the rise of online shopping and increased parcel delivery, the average number of stamps used each month per household is a dismal two.
Things can't get much worse.
Wednesday's moves are a good first step, but all they do is prolong the agony.
What is needed is bold action.
Follow Britain, Belgium, Austria and Germany's examples and allow competition, partially privatizing the industry.
This has turned money losers into profitable operations. There's no reason it can't happen here.
- Managing Editor