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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Postal delivery to the door to end for 100,000 addresses across Canada this year

   Canada column for Sunday, Feb. 23/14

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Door-to-door mail delivery will end this year in 11 cities including neighborhoods in Oakville, Calgary, Winnipeg, Halifax and Repentigny, Quebec.
   Canada Post announced the centers where people will have their mail delivered instead to community boxes this fall in a cost-cutting move.
   It’s the first phase of the postal service’s five-year changeover and will affect about 100,000 addresses.
   Canada Post said the changes are necessary with costs rising and mail volumes dropping and since just one-third of Canadian are still getting five-day-a-week home delivery.
   The initial neighborhoods affected are in areas that have nearby community mail boxes and the infrastructure is already in place, the post office said.
   In the larger cities, mail will continue to be delivered to businesses while in smaller cities, most households and a larger number of businesses will switch to group boxes.
   Also affected by the change this year will be Fort McMurray, Alberta; Kanata, Ontario; Bois-des-Filion, Charlemagne, Lorraine and Rosemere, all in Quebec.


   Prime Minister Stephen Harper still doesn’t have an answer from U.S. President Barack Obama whether he will approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.
   When asked about the fate of the project to ship Canadian oilsands crude to the U.S. by pipeline, Obama instead called on Harper to work with him to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
   “I said previously that how Keystone impacted greenhouse gas emissions would affect our decision,” Obama said at the “Three Amigos” summit in Mexico.
   There is a “shared concern” about climate change, Harper said, noting a recent U.S. State Department report gave the Alberta oilsands a good grade on environmental impact.


    News in brief:
   - Suspended Senator Patrick Brazeau has a new job: managing a strip club in Ottawa. Brazeau’s pay was stopped last November and he faces criminal charges in connection with receiving $48,000 in unauthorized expenses. He wouldn’t comment on his job as manager at the Barefax Gentlemen’s Club.
   - The Facebook social website phenomenon has taken over Canadians, with 14 million people logging in daily. “Essentially, we're getting 50 percent of the Canadian population on Facebook every day,” and Jordan Banks, head of Facebook Canada. The number of mobile users accessing Facebook daily is 10 million, with people checking their phones at least 20 times a day, he added.


   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar has slipped to 89.85 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.1129 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate remains at 3 percent.
   Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 14,244 points and the TSX Venture index 1,019 points.
   The average price of a liter of gas across Canada is up at $1.292 (Canadian).
   Lotto 6-49: (Feb. 19) 2, 7, 15, 24, 37 and 45; bonus 13. (Feb. 15) 1, 8, 37, 39, 44 and 45; bonus 21. Lotto Max: (Feb. 14) 6, 8, 11, 16, 17, 19 and 24; bonus 29.


   Regional briefs:
   - Vancouver tops the list of four Canadian cities in North America in the Mercer Quality of Living rankings. The global business consulting company’s survey ranked Vancouver first followed by Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal, with San Francisco in fifth spot. Vancouver’s “relatively mild climate” gave it the edge over the other Canadian cities, said Mercer’s Luc Lalonde. Lowest-ranked in North America were Mexico City, Detroit, St. Louis, Houston and Miami.
   - The Ontario Provincial Police have searched a government computer storage facility in the investigation of deleted emails about cancelled gas plants by staff of former Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty. The Conservative party complained about missing documentation relating to the Liberal’s plan to cancel controversial gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga prior to the 2011 election. The move cost up to $1.1 billion.
   - Canada’s iconic coffee shop chain Tim Hortons has come out with a “pre-cup” agreement, similar to a “pre-nup.” This is aimed at helping to avoid problems in this year’s Roll Up the Rim to Win contest. Arguments in previous years over who should get the prizes, from a coffee to cars, led to the contract that sets out the winner – the purchaser or the recipient of the coffee.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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