Changes to the rural mail system are underway in the North Peace, however, the switchover has frustrated some residents who say they haven’t received their mail in weeks.
Canada Post says it changed three Fort St. John region routes from rural addressing to civic addressing, a move affecting around 3,500 customers in Fort St. John, including post office box holders in Charlie Lake.
Lisa Liu, a spokesperson for the Crown corporation, says the change was implemented Sept. 12 for numerous postal codes “that are unique to the individual delivery sites, to optimize and continue to efficiently manage mail delivery routes.”
Those affected have been assigned a new community mailbox compartment as Canada Post reorders sites in alpha-numeric order, she said.
"The civic addressing program, which has been implemented in many rural regions across the country for several years, is the matching of a physical address to its mailing address,” said Liu.
“This adjustment gives customers one consistent address to serve both purposes and helps Canada Post improve efficiency and accuracy of mail and parcel delivery.”
Still, long waits at the Fort St. John post office have been reported as residents line up to update their addresses and move to the new system.
One rural resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told Alaska Highway News they haven’t received mail in nearly three weeks.
While the resident said they had no problem with updating their addresses and P.O. box for their residence and business, they were concerned about the short notice and a resulting delay in service.
The resident says they are relying on the postal service for timely delivery of financial and personal health documents for their family.
“The Upper Halfway has the problem, the whole North Pine area has the problem. It was not thought through, and people were not properly informed about it,” they said.
“Since they changed, I have no mail and that costs me an arm and a leg because we have businesses in [another country], and I do a lot of banking and all this kind of stuff through the mail.”
Liu says Canada Post goes “to great lengths” to not change postal codes, however, she adds doing so is sometimes required to accommodate community growth or route adjustments.
Liu says there were consultations about the changes, and that new keys and information were delivered to customers in mid-August.
“Canada Post consulted with the municipality to outline the project,” said Liu, adding, “Several letters were sent to customers over the past six months explaining the upcoming change and requesting information in order to provide mail forwarding service for 12 months, free of charge.”
Liu says customers who have questions about their postal services can call 1-866-607-6301 or visit canadapost.ca/support.
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