03/31/2014 10:34 EDT | Updated 05/31/2014 05:59 EDT

Cost to mail a letter soars 35% today

The cost of mailing a first-class letter within Canada went up to 85 cents today — a 35 per cent jump from the 63 cents it cost yesterday.

But the 85-cent rate is only available if stamps are purchase in a pack. If you want to buy just one stamp, it will cost $1.

Permanent stamps, which are marked with a "p" instead of a specific price, can still be used even though they were bought at the lower price.

Canada Post gave notice of the big price hike in December as part of a plan to reduce ongoing and deepening losses.

At the same time, it also revealed plans to phase out door-to-door mail delivery to the one-third of Canadian homes that still receive it. 

By switching to a system where mail receivers will go to community mailboxes (CMBs) to retrieve their letters, the mail service hopes to save hundreds of millions of dollars per year.

"With the increasing use of digital communication and the historic decline of letter mail volumes, Canada Post has begun to post significant financial losses," the corporation said in a December news release.

"If left unchecked, continued losses would soon jeopardize its financial self-sufficiency and become a significant burden on taxpayers and customers."

A Conference Board of Canada study last year predicted that if nothing were done to rein in costs, Canada Post would be posting losses of $1 billion annually by 2020.

But the Crown corporation's plan to eliminate its red ink by dramatically hiking stamp costs has angered many users, including the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, which represents hundreds of thousands of small businesses.