12/11/2013 09:37 EST | Updated 02/10/2014 05:59 EST

Canada Post to phase out urban home mail delivery

Canada Post is phasing out door-to-door delivery of regular mail to urban residents and increasing the cost of stamps in a major move to try to reduce significant, regular losses.

The Crown corporation announced its plans in a news release Wednesday, saying urban home delivery will be phased out over the next five years.

Starting March 31, the cost of a stamp will increase to 85 cents each if bought in a pack, up from 63 cents. Individual stamps will cost a dollar.

Canada Post said that over the next five years, it will eliminate 6,000 to 8,000 positions, but it expects 15,000 workers will leave the company or retire within that period.

The first communities that will switch to community mailboxes (CMBs) will be announced in the second half of 2014, according to the release.

Gov't said urban mail changes were possible in September

Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said in September the idea of cutting door-to-door delivery in urban areas was worth considering in the face of $104 million in losses in the second quarter.

"That's a huge cost savings and it's those kinds of things that we want to see come to fruition," she told CBC News.

The latest Canada Post financial data show it lost $73 million in this fiscal year's third quarter compared to the same quarter in 2012.

Revenue dropped $20 million in the first three quarters of 2013 compared to the same timeframe last year.

Here are some other numbers, from Canada Post:

- 5,094,694 people get door-to-door delivery in Canada.

- Average cost per address is $269.

- 3,804, 574 get mail through group mail boxes.

- Average cost per box is $117.

A Conference Board of Canada report released in April said two-thirds of Canadians already do without door-to-door regular mail service, whether through rural mailboxes, group mailboxes, delivery facilities or "centralized mail points."

It said stopping door-to-door delivery of mail to urban Canadians and replacing it with CMBs would have the largest financial impact on a projected $1-billion Canada Post deficit by 2020.

CMBs have been around since the 1980s, with the rise of new home developments, where they are now standard. 

Wednesday's announcement was made two weeks before Christmas, during one of the busiest delivery periods of the year.