Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Post office denies late Christmas deliveries

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Canada Post says no mail was left undelivered in Winnipeg on Christmas Eve -- to the surprise of the union that represents mail carriers and the customers whose mail arrived after Christmas or those still waiting for mail.

Canada Post spokeswoman Kathi Neal said that while there might be the odd exception, every piece of mail -- letters and parcels -- was delivered on time. "Our floors were clear as of 4 p.m. (Dec. 24). All the mail that was scheduled for delivery was delivered."

Bob Tyre, president of the Winnipeg local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, said he's puzzled by that claim.

Tyre said thousands of letters and parcels were undelivered over Christmas and carriers and clerks continue to work extensive overtime to clear the backlog: "I'm getting reports daily of mail not being delivered. Why bring in all these people for overtime if there was no mail to be delivered."

A Manitoba Hydro spokesman said customers have complained about late delivery of utility bills over Christmas, with the bills arriving just before or after the due date.

"We've received a significantly higher number of complaints than we normally do," Hydro spokesman Glenn Schneider said.

Neal said Canada Post employees worked overtime before Christmas to ensure mail was delivered on time.

Heather McKnight said Christmas cards post-marked in early December from Edmonton didn't arrive at her home until Jan. 4. McKnight said business mail delivered within Winnipeg in mid-December didn't arrive until after Christmas.

Vancouver resident Kathy Keelan and Ottawa resident Laurie Morgan said they sent parcels to Winnipeg that arrived in the city on Dec. 17 and Dec. 18 and were not delivered until Jan. 2.

Keelan was so upset with the late delivery and Canada Post's denial, that she wrote a letter to Canada Post CEO Stewart Bacon.

"Who do you think you are kidding?" begins Keelan's letter to Bacon. She said her parcel arrived in Winnipeg's new depot Dec. 18 and "sat somewhere undelivered through Christmas."

Neal said Canada Post is proud of its staff performance in December, adding that if anyone believes their mail was not delivered to contact the customer service line at 1-866-607-6301.

Neal said the number of complaints this Christmas is similar to previous years. "While we work very hard, we don't meet our timelines 100 per cent of the time every single day," Neal said. "We do our very, very best. However, you know, sometimes mail is delivered late but definitely it's the exception and not the rule."

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 8, 2011 B3

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