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The Globe and Mail

Canada first G7 country to cut all urban home mail delivery

The United States still provides door-to-door delivery six days a week, by law.

SHANNON STAPLETON/Reuters

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night" are to deter letter carriers from their appointed rounds, as the famous U.S. Postal Service motto has it.

But now – in a dramatic move – Canada Post says urban home mail delivery will be phased out over the next five years and replaced with community mailboxes. The plan is expected to save the organization up to $500-million.

Canada is the first G7 country to cut all urban home mail delivery. Here is a breakdown of the six other countries' services:

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1) United States

Provides door-to-door delivery six days a week. But it can now decide between home delivery or neighbourhood box clusters in newly built areas. There is Congressional pressure to curb urban service. USPS is trying out new revenue streams, such as enhanced post office box services and prepaid greeting cards.
Website: usps.com

2) United Kingdom

Home delivery six days a week, "even in my small village," said Globe and Mail correspondent Paul Waldie. The British communications industry regulator has warned there are "considerable" risks to the Royal Mail's ability to provide universal service due to declining mail volumes.
Website: postoffice.co.uk

3) Germany

Home delivery six days a week. Under German law, 89 per cent of mail must be delivered next day. Universal service stipulates that urban customers must not live more than one kilometre from a mailbox and that there be one post office for every municipality with more than 2,000 people.
Website: deutschepost.de

4) Japan

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Service six days out of seven. Parcel post delivery was excluded from the universal service provisions in 2007. Website: post.japanpost.jp

5) Italy

Poste Italiane is mandated to deliver the mail to all addresses in the country at least five times a week. Last year, 60.1 per cent of its revenues came from financial services.
Website: posteitaliane.post

6) France

La Poste carriers deliver door-to-door six days a week. The postal service also has a bank division that provides retail banking and home mortgages.
Website: laposte.com

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story said Canada is the first G7 country to break with universal postal service. The term "universal services" is defined differently by the various countries, and this story has been updated to specify that Canada is the first G7 country to cut all urban home mail delivery.

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About the Author
Quebec Business Correspondent

Bertrand has been covering Quebec business and finance since 2000. Before joining The Globe and Mail in 2000, he was the Toronto-based national business correspondent for Southam News. He has a B.A. from McGill University and a Bachelor of Applied Arts from Ryerson. More

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