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Monday, April 7, 2014

Letter mailing cost soars as post office says it's a "case of necessity"

   Canada column for Sunday, April 6/14

   (c) By Jim Fox

   The cost of mailing a letter within Canada has jumped by 35 percent – to 85 cents from 63 cents.
   The new rate is part of a “tiered-pricing structure” implemented by Canada Post, with a single stamp costing $1, or 85 cents if bought in booklets of 10.
   Mailing a letter to the United States from Canada now costs $1.20, up from $1.10, and internationally it is $2.50, up from $1.85.
   Canada Post said the higher prices “better reflect the cost of serving various customer segments as bulk mailers and businesses pay less.
   Calling it a “difficult decision, but also a case of necessity,” Canada Post said it has a mandate to “fund its operations with revenues from the sales of its products and services.”
   It’s part of an “overall plan to save postal services” and includes ending door-to-door delivery to urban addresses within five years, as announced earlier.
   Mail will be delivered to neighborhood group boxes for pickup with many now in new subdivisions.


   Another storm has dumped up to two feet of snow on weather-weary Atlantic Canada.
   The largest amounts fell in Newfoundland’s south and east coasts while snow also fell in New Brunswick, central and western Prince Edward Island and northern Nova Scotia.
   High winds, snow and freezing rain cut power to about 30,000 customers in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.


    News in brief:
   - A police investigation says technology expert Peter Faist was given access to computers in the Ontario premier’s office to delete files. Those files concerned the Liberal government’s decision to cancel the construction of two unpopular gas plants at a cost of $1.1 billion to help win the last election. Premier Kathleen Wynne, who took over Feb. 11 from former Premier Dalton McGuinty, said she was not aware of the deletion of any files.
   - There will no longer be a “free lunch” on Air Transat flights. The Quebec-based carrier said economy-class travelers on flights to sun destinations will have to pay for their meals starting June 1. Passengers flying to Florida were already paying for meals.
   - A Toronto-area police officer is recovering after being shot in the abdomen at the courthouse in Brampton. Peel Regional Police Constable Mike Klarenbeek, 53, was providing security when a man walked in and opened fire. The Special Investigations Unit said the gunman who was shot and killed by other officers was Charnjit Bassi, 45. They haven’t disclosed a motive for the incident.


   Facts and figures:
   A drop in Canada’s unemployment rate to 6.9 percent helped prop up the dollar to 91.04 cents U.S. on Friday. The U.S. dollar returns $1.0984 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 is 3 percent.
   Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 14,420 points and the TSX Venture index 1,007 points.
   The average price of a liter of gasoline across Canada is lower at $1.3034 (Canadian).
   Lotto 6-49: (April 2) 9, 11, 32, 36, 38 and 40; bonus 26. (March 29) 15, 22, 25, 26, 42 and 43; bonus 9. Lotto Max: (March 28) 8, 15, 16, 21, 31, 37 and 39; bonus 20.


   Regional briefs:
   - The Nova Scotia government enacted “essential services” legislation to force striking Halifax-area nurses back to work a day after they left their jobs. The 2,400 nurses, members of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, are demanding lower nurse-to-patient ratios.
   - A Vancouver driver who has received 26 tickets in three years for using his electronic devices while driving faces an insurance premium of $24,000 a year. Police said he was given a fine of $167 for each offense, adding up to $4,342 along with the hefty insurance fee for receiving 69 penalty points on his license.
   - The first time was a charm for Tina Ferrone of Kanata, Ontario who won $48 million tax-free on a $5 Lotto Max ticket. She said it was the first lottery ticket she ever bought and the win couldn’t have come at a better time. Her husband Liam McGee is recovering from cancer treatment and hasn’t been able to work in two years.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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