When her friend failed to call to confirm the lunch date she had set, Muriel Jean Veinot was confused.
So, on the first day of August, Veinot rang Dorothy Mearns.
“Did you get the invitation?” Veinot asked.
Veinot was shocked: nearly two weeks earlier – July 20 – she had popped the lunch invitation into the mail. In fact, she had handed it to a Canada Post worker at a downtown branch, who hand-stamped the letter before Veinot’s eyes.
Turns out, the letter didn’t find its way to Mearns’ mailbox in Esquimalt until Aug. 5 – 12 business days after it was mailed.
“It’s just total idiocy,” Veinot, 86, said. “They’re supposed to be offering a service and I mail a lot of letters.”
Veinot isn’t the only one aghast at Canada Post’s delivery times lately. Victoria MP Denise Savoie tracked how long it took for her contacts to receive mail lately.
“I have done a little test myself and I have seen the same results as (Veinot),” she told the News.
By now, any backlog of mail accumulated during the postal strike and lockout of mid-June has been cleared, confirmed Canada Post’s director of communications, Colleen Frick.
The postal service’s delivery standards within Victoria are two days.
“It’s very unfortunate,” Frick said of Veinot’s experience. “It’s not something we would say is at all within our service commitment to our customers.”
She added: “One has to be careful about making general assumptions about a couple of mail items that unfortunately did take longer to arrive than our delivery standard. I say this because we deliver about 200,000 pieces of mail every day in Greater Victoria and we meet our delivery standards on that mail 96 per cent of the time.”
From conversations with Victoria-area postal workers, she has heard that short-staffing is a major problem. Canada Post denies that, but Savoie believes there’s a bigger factor at play.
“It looks like (the federal government) wants the public to lose confidence in the system, so they can drive them to private courier carriers,” she said.
Whatever the case, Veinot isn’t impressed. The 12-day letter was sent the same day as another, destined for a friend living on Gorge Road. That letter arrived in nine days.
“I could walk to Gorge Road or I could walk to Esquimalt faster than that,” she said.
Testing the system
News staff mailed six letters to Greater Victoria addresses on Friday, Aug. 12. Four arrived at their destinations on Tuesday – within the service standard of two days. The others hadn’t arrived by press time.