EDITORIAL: Trust is cheaper

Isolated, frail seniors and people with mobility issues who live alone in a single-family home will be among those hardest hit by new Canada Post plans to discontinue house-to-house mail service by 2019.

While it’s understandable that Canada Post would want to re-visit so-called “snail mail” delivery and look for efficiencies in an era of digital communication, the national postal service shouldn’t discriminate against individuals who are unable to use the new community mail boxes for one health reason or another.

But coming up with a simple solution to help these people is proving to be a challenge.

Canada’s national mail carrier deserves credit for appointing a dedicated team to work out adjustments and accommodations for individuals with mobility issues, but requiring a doctor’s note to prove need seems heavy-handed.

Surely, there are other ways to handle this situation without going to such extremes.

Many of those who need home delivery are likely to be in straitened financial circumstances with few supports. Yet they should also be given credit for their independence and not having to rely on taxpayer-subsidized housing or hospital assistance.

It seems reasonable to take them at their word rather than requiring a doctor’s note to justify a special accommodation. Even Canada’s doctors are crying foul, arguing that this requirement will burden doctors and the already expensive health care system.

Perhaps Canada Post could consider allowing seniors and disability advocacy organizations to be referral agencies. An automated telephone service could also be implemented, similar to one used for Employment Insurance, for people needing special accommodation.

True, there may be some people who take advantage of the situation without a proper screening.

But rooting out these fraudsters might be more costly than simply going by the honour system. Like the SkyTrain fare gates situation where the solution to fair evasion is more costly than the problem, trust is cheaper.


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