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Canada Post will make home delivery exemptions

Mail carrier Leo Gaspari talks with resident Liselotte "Lotte" Porschen, 69 as he delivers mail on his route in the Don Mills and Lawrence area in Toronto on Dec. 11, 12013. Canada Post, which announced last December it plans to phase out home delivery in favour of community mailboxes, is asking residents who can’t physically get to their designated mailboxes to produce a certificate signed by a “health-care professional.”

Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

Canadians will still be able to get letters delivered to their homes – but only if they have a doctor's note.

Canada Post, which announced last December it plans to phase out home delivery in favour of community mailboxes, is asking residents who can't physically get to their designated mailboxes to produce a certificate signed by a "health-care professional."

With 100,000 addresses set to convert from door-to-door delivery to community mailboxes later this year, the postal service is asking residents for feedback on the best way to accommodate their mailing needs.

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For some, the solution is an extra key, a higher mailbox or having mail redirected to a family member or friend, said Jon Hamilton, a spokesman for Canada Post.

"What we heard loud and clear from everybody was that there's no one-size-fits-all. You need to be able to tailor your solutions to the individual circumstances of each customer," Mr. Hamilton said.

The mail service has also consulted with dozens of national and regional organizations that have expertise in seniors and disability and mobility issues over the last few months to discuss concerns that might come up after the transition.

"Everybody's going to have a different set of circumstances and we want to work with each individual," Mr. Hamilton said.

The Crown corporation, which delivered 1.2 billion fewer letters in 2013 than it did in 2006, has taken dramatic steps to turn around a steep slide, including hiking stamp prices, phasing out home delivery and cutting thousands of jobs.

In December, Canada Post chief executive Deepak Chopra defended the controversial cuts to home delivery, saying the many seniors he consulted welcomed the idea because it would provide them with exercise.

"The seniors are telling me, 'I want to be healthy. I want to be active in my life,'" Mr. Chopra told MPs at an emergency session at the House of Commons. "They want to be living fuller lives."

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The first 11 communities to transition in 2014 include parts of Oakville, Ont., Winnipeg, Calgary, Halifax and smaller towns in Quebec.

Follow Kat Sieniuc on Twitter: @katsieniuc

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