By Kelsey Verboom
For those who haven’t licked a stamp and sent a letter in a long time, the only question the Canada Post strike generates is, “Will many people notice?”
In an age of online banking, e-bills, texts, emails, and digital money transfers, fewer and fewer people visit the post office regularly. The postal workers’ union is tiptoeing a thin line by threatening a nation-wide strike as opposed to the rolling strike, which so far has proved minimally disruptive. By striking, Canada Post — which itself admits that letter mail volume has dropped more than 17 per cent since 2006 — risks pushing businesses and individuals who still send deliveries or pay bills via the mail to find alternative methods; methods those senders just might find more convenient.
The last postal strike was 14 years ago, but it might as well have been another century ago. So many things about the way people communicate and conduct commerce have changed since then that the same striking tactics are more likely to backfire than succeed.
That being said, the postal service is still worth saving, and a strike now won’t spell its extinction.
Regardless of how online-driven our world has become, we still wouldn’t be able to fully operate without the post. Sure, you can shop online, but how does your purchase reach the valley? Canada Post is still the only mail delivery service that can reach every household in Canada. Plus, there are still a plethora of small businesses who deliver through the mail, a huge number of people who rely on posted assistance cheques, and charities that count on mail-in donations. Without the postal service, think of the tacky email wedding invitations brides would be forced to send out. Oh, the horror!
Technical details aside, receiving a piece of handwritten mail has become more of a rarity, and thus a real treasure. Holding a physical letter, with the handwriting of someone who took the time to write it, is irreplaceable in the email era, and is one more good reason to keep the postal service busy.