Mr. Speaker, last week, I had the opportunity to ask the minister responsible for the Canada Post cuts whether there were any ways to continue providing service to Canadians with functional limitations. The minister said:
“...it will accommodate the situations it may be facing with respect to people with disabilities, or seniors. It does that already....”
She thought the service was already being provided.
Today, I can tell the minister that I checked with Canada Post and they told me that they do not do that.
We contacted Canada Post's customer service to ask whether measures were being taken to deliver the mail to seniors and persons with disabilities. They said no. Instead, Christine, the person who took my call, referred me to a 26-page document on the changes to Canada Post. There is no special mention in that document on how the changes to Canada Post will respect the different needs of persons with disabilities.
The changes proposed to Canada Post's services include the termination of home delivery, which will create more problems for all the Canadians who have reduced mobility or are visually impaired. Those changes will turn the simple fact of receiving mail into a difficult or costly task, making communications complicated and increasing dependency and social exclusion.
Currently, people with reduced mobility or a visual impairment might think that having to go to a community mailbox is impossible because of the distances involved.
The larger the geographic area, the less likely it will be that the mailbox will be within a reasonable distance for people with a disability. This means that more people will have to depend on others and will probably have to pay out of pocket to get their own mail.
This concerns people living in poverty as well, not only because some of them do not have access to the Internet, but also because of the cost of gas or taxis, or even the need to pay someone to get their mail.
As we all know, Canadians with reduced mobility or a visual impairment must use para transit to get around in their community. Will they have to use it just to go to their mailbox? This will overburden these services, which are already unable to meet the needs of their clientele in a number of communities.
The most vulnerable Canadians still rely on the mail. Taking that service away from them will make them more isolated and even more vulnerable. Taking something as basic as home delivery away from them will only limit accessibility and marginalize them. In addition, it will shift the burden onto them—