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Canada Post calls in reinforcements to meet historic demand

·2 min read
Coquitlam, BC Canada - April 24, 2014 : Hand sending a tax report letter in a red mail box
Coquitlam, BC Canada - April 24, 2014 : Hand sending a tax report letter in a red mail box

It's been a record year at Canada Post — since the start of the year, postal service employees have processed almost one million packages in Quebec alone.

The 955,000 packages represent a 50 per cent increase from the 650,000 envelopes and packages delivered in 2019.

"It's unheard of," said Karl Baillargeon, a letter carrier and union spokesperson.

"These are volumes we've never dealt with."

Letter carrier Marie-Ève Trudel is bracing for a demanding few weeks to cap off what has been a demanding year.

"We know we're going to work hard over the holidays. They're going to be busy days," she said.

Canada Post is hiring 4,000 extra staff across Canada — including 210 in the Montreal area and 140 in Quebec City — to help with the period between Black Friday and Christmas.

John Hamilton, a spokesperson for Canada Post, said that while the holidays are always the busiest time of year for package delivery, the pandemic has spiked an increase all year long.

He echoed the agency's warning earlier this year to get Christmas presents in the mail sooner rather than later to avoid delays.

"We know how it important it is to deliver Canadians' online shopping and get it under the tree on time," Hamilton said.

He said during the early stages of the pandemic and first months of confinement, many people were staying at home and doing more online shopping than usual.

He also attributes some of the growth to smaller businesses who have been experimenting with online sales for the first time.

Overall though, the growth is emblematic of a larger trend, wherein more and more people get their goods delivered right to their door.

"It was just a few years ago we delivered a million parcels in a single day during the holiday season. That was a record and we celebrated that and we were all very excited. Now that's a slow day," he said, saying Canada Post sometimes delivers twice that many packages in a single day.