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11/21/2018 14:39 EST | Updated 11/22/2018 13:04 EST

Kids Should Still Mail Letters To Santa, Canada Post Says Amid Strike

But they may want to send their wish-lists earlier this year.

Canada Post is still encouraging kids to mail letters to Santa.
lacaosa via Getty Images
Canada Post is still encouraging kids to mail letters to Santa.

Update: Nov. 22, 1:00 p.m. -- While there may still be a backlog, the federal government has introduced legislation to force an end to the Canada Post Strike.

Kids should still write letters to Santa, but they may want to send them off soon to get responses in time for Christmas.

Given Canada Post's rotating strikes, some parents and teachers might be wondering about the fate of a beloved Canadian tradition. Since 1981, the elves at Canada Post's "North Pole Office" have helped Santa respond to each and every letter that has a return address — that's more than 27.8 million letters over the last few decades.

WATCH: How to send a letter to Santa (for free!). Story continues below video.

Canada Post said Wednesday that the program is still a go for this year.

"We continue to operate and continue to process Santa's letters. We've also had volunteers at parades gathering the letters," a spokesperson told HuffPost Canada in an emailed statement.

"Parents should continue sending Santa letters from their children as they have for 30 years. Helping Santa with his letters is a long-standing tradition at Canada Post."

The organization did not respond to a question about whether any delays are expected, explaining that they "don't talk about the behind the scenes of the Santa letter program as we want to keep the magic alive."

But Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) spokesperson Kevin Matthews told Global News to expect some delays "if the strike action continues as it is."

Rotating strikes are causing backlogs

The CUPW began rotating strikes in October, hoping to pressure Canada Post into agreeing to contract demands, including better job security, reduced workloads and stronger health and safety measures. The strikes have affected its approximately 42,000 urban employees and 8,000 rural and suburban carriers, and created a massive delivery backlog.

Michel Comte/AFP/ Getty Images
Rotating strikes at Canada post have created a delivery backlog.

Canada Post has warned Canadians that they can expect delays of parcel and mail delivery into 2019 as a result of rotating walkouts. The worst delays are expected for mail delivered to or from Southern and Southwestern Ontario, Canada Post said in a statement.

On Tuesday, federal Labour Minister Patty Hajdu said the government is prepared to issue back-to-work legislation if an agreement isn't reached soon.

How to mail a letter to Santa

The letter-mailing program is free (postage isn't required), but letters must be mailed to: Santa Claus, North Pole, HOH OHO, Canada.

To get a response before Christmas, the deadline for sending letters this year is Dec. 10. Schools and daycares should send letters by Dec. 7. Last year, Canada Post announced it would no longer send individual letters to school kids, but instead mail more generic, poster-sized group letters to classes.

Photo galleryFree Santa Letter Templates For Kids See Gallery

You must include your full return address to get a letter back. Kids are encouraged to include some personal details in their letters (such as their favourite subjects, sports, or even a joke) so every kid will get a "magical Santa letter experience" with a personalized response.

Last year, more than 1.6 million kids mailed letters to Santa, according to Canada Post. More than half came from schools and daycares.

With files from Canadian Press

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