Sunday, September 28, 2008

Queen Charlotte Islanders find little relief from Canada Post officials

"It's considered a remote location so there are exceptions to the delivery standard we provide on our premium products"-- Lillian Au, spokesperson for Canada Post BC appearing to advise residents of the Charlotte's that their location is working against them in the quest for the same mail service as other locations in Canada.

One of their more famous marketing slogans at Canada Post is "From anywhere to anyone", however in the case of the Queen Charlotte Islands, they might want to tack onto it, "whenever it gets there".

Suggesting that they were lucky in the past, but won't be much so any more isn't exactly being welcomed as the best in public relations for residents of the Queen Charlotte's who recently discovered that their premium mail services are about to shift to less frequent and slower methods of delivery.

A cancelled contract with Air Canada has resulted in Canada Post shifting all delivery to the Charlotte's to the BC Ferry system, a process that as ferry users know isn't one that is a daily event and is quite dependant on the unpredictable nature of the weather.

The answers provided to public officials on the Charlotte's are proving to be a little controversial and more importantly indicative of a system that seems to count rural communities as less than equal with their big city counterparts.

The Daily News featured the issue as the front page, headline story in Friday's paper.

Letters will arrive in Islands within five days, but 'lucky' early delivery set to be lost
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Friday, September 26, 2008
Page one

Canada Post has responded to concerns raised by Village of Queen Charlotte Mayor Carol Kulesha by insisting that mail service to the Islands is not declining.

Lillian Au, spokesperson for Canada Post BC, said this week that the priority service has always taken five days to deliver but that the Islanders sometimes got "lucky" and had a plane service deliver mail the next day.

The issue arose after Canada Post announced it would no longer be using Air Canada planes to fly mail to the Islands but that it would rely on the ferry.

"When we were using Air Canada flights, due to the limited capacity on their planes, Canada Post was unable to ever promise next day delivery service," said Au. "But occasionally it did happen. Customers who were fortunate to receive that extra service on premier products will no longer be able to receive that extra service," said Au.

The answer did not satisfy Kulesha.

She said that she was baffled that Canada Post considered it fortunate that Islanders received next-day service - something much of the rest of Canada takes for granted.

"Aren't they supposed to serve all of Canada? What kind of nonsense is that? We happen to be part of Canada. We might be remote but that is all the more reason we need our mail service," said Kulesha.

Last week, Canada Post announced that its contract with Air Canada to deliver mail across the globe had been cancelled by the airline. While no reason publicly has been given as to why that contract was cancelled, Canada Post said it did look into other options regarding service, only to discover many other options were too expensive.

"Our policy has been that mail will continue to be delivered to the Queen Charlotte Islands by ferry," said Au.

"It's considered a remote location so there are exceptions to the delivery standard we provide on our premium products."
Again Kulesha was unsatisfied.

"Maybe we are considered a 'remote location' and it is true they never guaranteed service before five days, but we sent our mail out every day. We often received it the following day or the day after. So I don't think that is the way the five-day service worked until now," said Kulesha.

Au said that regular post from the Queen Charlottes would remain an eight-day service and that has also been in place for many years.

As for Prince Rupert, nothing has changed at all, said Au.

"Air Canada's cancellation of our agreement has not changed our delivery service commitments and standards to and from Prince Rupert. We will continue to maintain that standard that has been in place for many years," said Au.

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