Canada Post

Canada Post is driving me nuts this year. They’ve always been bad in St. John’s, but there used to be a time where you could get someone on the phone willing to call the local depot and follow up on a package that was overdue, or missing. Now you can’t. Call centre employees are of no help – they simply have three lines –

  • we have the same tracking information as you have.
  • have the sender put in an inquiry.
  • the weather is causing delays, there’s nothing we can do.

I had one chat employee end the call when I suggested that weather was NOT the cause of the delays.

One thing that seems consistent in my deliveries, is that packages sit in St. John’s for way too long before a delivery is attempted. The service standard for most of my packages (Milton, ON to St. John’s, NL) is 6 days (the others typically Montreal, 4 days). So, a package can’t afford to be sitting in St. John’s for 3 days waiting to go out for delivery.

Here is a list of my recent parcel shipments, and the total shipping time (business days) and the total days waiting in St. John’s before delivery is attempted. These exclude weekends, holidays and the whole state of emergency, but include the day of arrival and day out for delivery. This is a somewhat simplified approach, only St. John’s was affected by the state of emergency, thus shipments were moving throughout the rest of Canada during this time, and indeed, there were no significant delays for any reason, until the packages arrived in St. John’s. All packages, except the one with the ID #6804, are small enough to fit in one of the six parcel sections of my community mailbox. #6804 actually took less time to arrive than I expected and was the only one below sent regular parcel – all the others were sent expedited parcel.

IDShippedTotal shipping days – Business Days/Total DaysDays in St. John’s before OFD – Business Days/Total Days
572813/12/1914/225/8
680424/12/199/126/8
474127/12/198/134/6
651830/12/1916/3012/25
893321/01/209/166/8
979221/01/20NYD (21)/(29)NYD (17)/(23)
482103/02/207/92/2

NYD = Not Yet Delivered
OFD = Out for Delivery

All of the shipments above originated in Ontario (Mississauga or Milton), Dieppe, NB or Montreal, QC. For these, the longest “service standard” for expedited shipping, is Milton, ON. at 6 business days.

The State of Emergency in St. John’s was from Friday 17th January to Friday 24th January.

Although you can see from the table above that every single shipment exceeded the delivery standard, the one of particular concern to me, is that with ID #9792. This hasn’t actually arrived yet, but has been sitting in St. John’s now for 17 business days (23 days total).

Most days, Canada Post just updates the status with “Delivery may be delayed due to extreme weather conditions”. This is regardless of the actual weather conditions. We haven’t actually had any snow days since the state of emergency, though conditions have been icy on a couple of occasions. Oddly, other packages (and letter mail) were not delayed by these icy conditions, but Package #9792 remains delayed. Presumably them updating the status takes off any responsibility to actually make a delivery, and presumably would also cause an automatic rejection of a refund application of the shipping paid by the sender.

Canada Post has such a convoluted process, that its impossible to get a direct answer as to when my package will be delivered. They won’t talk to me (as the receiver) about it. The second time the sender inquired, Canada Post told them that all the packages that arrived immediately after the State of Emergency are sitting in a warehouse and are going out gradually. Clearly, they are completely ignoring any responsibility to deliver in the order they received or a reasonable time frame, and I have had two other packages sent to me close by that make #9792 into an anomaly. Package #8933 was shipped on the same day as #9792, but from Dieppe, NB. It actually arrived in St. John’s two days later than #9792, but was delivered in 9 shipping days total, having spent 6 shipping days in St. John’s. A later package mailed to me on 3rd February – 10 days after #9792 was shipped, arrived in 7 shipping days, spending just 2 days in St. John’s (including the arrival and delivery dates!).

Canada Post claims that since the tracking status is being updated, the package is not lost.

Since my missing package is fresh coffee beans, it’s going to be pretty much useless by the time it arrives. My supplier (IDrinkCoffee.com) have offered to replace or refund, whichever I would like, but it’s not their fault, and I’m not going to hold them accountable for something that is Canada Post’s fault. So unless the beans never arrive, I won’t be looking for a refund or replacement. I know they provide a fresh product.

I understand that this is winter, and we have our fair share of snow. I do expect that to cause some delays. However, Canada Post should be able to predict that each year with some degree of dependability. They need more people delivering and they need to deliver in order of receipt at the local depot. If they had an option to deliver directly to a local post office, that would be great. Their tracking app is definitely responsive enough to be able to do this. I believe a legal technicality may be in the way, in that they have to attempt delivery before they are allowed to re-direct, but since this is not in the interest of the receiver, this too needs to be reviewed.

My shipper might be able to help things by marking fresh food or something on the packaging, if Canada Post are able to prioritize. I know they have been prioritizing certain types of package.

I’ve given up on this one now. $45 worth of coffee that is already stale.

Just one other thing worthy of note. I had one package mailed to me a total of three times, from Amazon. The first package was lost by CanadaPost, though it was finally delivered after a month. Amazon had already refunded me, and I’d re-ordered. The second package was damaged by CanadaPost, and I was again refunded by Amazon. The third package arrived. Late, but not by much.

[UPDATE FOR THURSDAY 20 FEBRUARY]

Thanks to Barb Sweet at The Telegram for running a story on this. Perhaps not so surprisingly, within hours of its release, I had a personal delivery from Canada Post with my coffee beans, and an overdue parcel for my wife too.