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WHEREAS Canada Post has established the use of Community and Super Mailboxes for the delivery of residential mail in many communities; and
WHEREAS residents are reporting illegal accessing of Community and Super Mailboxes resulting in mail theft; and
WHEREAS residents, especially seniors and those receiving government benefit or subsidy cheques through the mail, are dependent on the safe and reliable delivery of mail through Community and Super Mailboxes; and
WHEREAS the illegal accessing of Community and Super Mailboxes can potentially lead to identity theft through the interception of confidential or sensitive financial and personal documents;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request that Canada Post work to increase efforts to enhance the security of community and super mailboxes including siting them in open and plainly visible locations in consultation with municipalities, increasing their ability to resist break-in attempts, and implementing a strategy to reduce illegal access and theft of mail from Community and Super Mailboxes.
Generally, the number of reported mailbox break-ins to the RCMP has increased in Sturgeon County within the last three years. Canada Post also confirms anecdotal reports from residents that indicate an ongoing and increasing issue with mail theft in the County.
An official from Canada Post has stated that it is proactively working with local law enforcement agencies and reactively replacing older, less secure units with newer units with enhanced security features. The County is asking AAMDC to request that these efforts be stepped-up on a more proactive basis.
Due to their remote location and the relatively low numbers of passing traffic, some rural Community and Super Mailboxes are at an increased risk for theft. Additionally, those dependent on government subsidy and benefit cheques, such as seniors and low-income families, are at risk of having mailed cheques stolen, resulting in significant delays in payment receipt as the incidents are investigated and new cheques are issued. Finally, all residents face the risk of potential identity theft as confidential and sensitive information such as tax assessments and other financial and personal documents are subject to potential theft.
Though brought forward through Sturgeon County to the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties, we believe this issue is one facing many communities across Alberta and Canada.
The AAMDC has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.
In response to this resolution, the AAMDC received a letter from the Canada Post’s Vice President of Government Relations and Policy dated December 22, 2016, which indicated the following:
Thank you for your letter to Mr. Deepak Chopra, President and Chief Executive Officer, regarding community mailboxes. We appreciate your sharing the views expressed on behalf of yourmembership. Canada Post takes very seriously the secure and efficient delivery of the mail, and I wish to assure you that the highest priority is given to safeguarding all items entrusted to our care.
As part of our ongoing efforts to continue keeping our customers’ mail safe, we have established an internal cross-functional team to assess the risks of mail theft and to ensure that both short- and long-term strategies are developed and deployed to reduce incidents. Our commitment to postal security extends to our partnerships with law enforcement agencies as well. Our officials have excellent working relationships with local police in Alberta, and we continue to collaborate on both crime prevention and investigative strategies. For example, an identity and mail theft law enforcement committee was launched with a focus on intelligence sharing and coordinated enforcement between Canada Post and police agencies in the province, including Criminal Intelligence Services of Alberta (ClSA). Canada Post’s Postal Inspectors host monthly meetings in both northern and southern Alberta to review trends and coordinate efforts to address issues that may arise in the community.
With regard to our equipment, you may be interested to know that Canada Post has developed a new “hardening kit” that is presently being installed in the western regions on previous generations of the community mailboxes. This new kit increases the security of the boxes and has already proven to be extremely effective. Additionally, a number of sites have been upgraded to our latest, more robust model; some boxes have been relocated for added security as well. Moving forward in 2017, our teams will focus on upgrading equipment or installing hardening devices on close to 2,000 sites (5,000 community mailboxes), mainly in western Canada. Our delivery planning team works closely with municipalities in siting equipment and will continue to do so in the future.
Canada Post fully appreciates the interests of municipalities and their residents in ensuring the security of customers’ mail. Our teams are committed to working with local police to fully investigate instances of theft or break-ins. Should there be any specific concerns raised by your membership, we invite municipal officials to contact Andy Paterson, Manager of Municipal Engagement, at 519-457-5247, so that we can ensure the appropriate actions are taken. Residents are also encouraged to report any suspicious activity near the boxes to Canada Post and local police.
Again, thank you for sharing the views on behalf of your membership. Canada Post is dedicated to doing all that we can to provide reliable and secure delivery to all communities.
Canada Post’s response indicates an intent to take action on relocating mailboxes, installing new, more secure mailboxes, and retrofitting existing mail boxes to increase their security and resistance to break-ins and tampering. The response also provides examples of current community engagement actions being taken by Canada Post to work with local law enforcement in Alberta.
The AAMDC is pleased with the planned activities and will follow up with Canada Post in the future to confirm that they are completed and to determine their effectiveness in preventing mail theft. At this point, this resolution is assigned a status of Accepted in Principle.