11/12/2015 08:22 EST | Updated 11/12/2015 08:59 EST

Postal Union To Take Feds To Court Over Home Delivery Despite Change In Government

A union spokesman said Trudeau's pledge to maintain home delivery across the country was a campaign promise.


MONTREAL — The Canadian Union of Postal Workers says it will continue with its Federal Court challenge of Canada Post's decision to end home mail delivery, even with a new federal government in power.

A union spokesman in Quebec said Thursday that while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to maintain home delivery across the country, it was said as a campaign promise.

Sylvain Lapointe, a national director of the union for the Montreal area, said the Liberals have never discussed what would happen to sites where community mailboxes have been recently erected to replace home mail delivery.

Lapointe said that given the uncertainty, the union will maintain the legal challenge, which includes several groups including the disabled and retirees who want home delivery maintained. The mayors of several municipalities have also tried to join in as interveners in the case.

Late last month, Canada Post announced a temporary suspension of its plan to end home mail delivery - but only for the rest of this year.

The country's national mail carrier stopped installing the new community boxes a week after the Liberals came to power, meaning about half a million households slated to be converted before the end of 2015 maintained their home delivery service.

During 2014, Canada Post converted 100,000 addresses that had door-to-door delivery to community mailboxes. In 2015, it planned to convert about 900,000 addresses.

"Our motion also covers areas that have lost home delivery," Lapointe said. "Now there is a moratorium that is in place, but what we don't know is if there will be restoration of home delivery in areas that lost it following the announcement in December 2013."

Canada Post had announced a plan to move to community mailboxes nearly two years ago, citing a decline in home mail delivery revenues.

Lapointe says he looks forward to a first meeting with Public Services Minister Judy Foote, who is in charge of the issue. They'd like her consider to expand Canada Post's mandate to include banking services, which other postal services have done as a way of increasing revenues.

"We'll have to look at what the Trudeau government will do in the weeks and months to come," Lapointe said.

The case is before the Federal Court in Toronto, but isn't expected to be argued on its merits until sometime next year.

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