Volume of packages increased at Iqaluit post office

“While the Iqaluit Post Office has always been one of the busiest post offices in Canada, it has been processing an even larger volume of packages and mail since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis”

Since April, Iqaluit’s Canada Post office has seen more than a 25 per cent increase in the volume of mail it handles compared to the same period last year. (File photo)

By Dustin Patar

The Iqaluit Canada Post office processed 64 per cent more mail this past June than it did for the same month last year.

According to information provided by Canada Post, between April and June Iqaluit also saw volumes increase by more than 25 per cent compared to the same period in 2019.

“While the Iqaluit Post Office has always been one of the busiest post offices in Canada, it has been processing an even larger volume of packages and mail since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis,” said a Canada Post spokesperson in an email to Nunatsiaq News.

Last October, long lines were the result of a deluge in packages after Iqaluit residents placed large orders on Amazon thinking they were going to lose their free shipping.

The recent increase in online shopping has again resulted in notoriously long lines at both the main Canada Post office and the parcel warehouse, which have drawn the ire of many Iqaluit residents.

While many complaints are often accompanied by words of support for the local Canada Post staff, the ongoing issue has prompted some to call for further action, including Iqaluit city councillor Kyle Sheppard and Mayor Kenny Bell.

For Canada Post, the main challenge recently has been the backlog of packages waiting to be picked up.

“We often see customers wait until all their orders have arrived before collecting them all at once,” said the spokesperson.

“This choice puts a strain on our operations as we must find space, which is frequently maximized, to sort and store the mail and avoid returning packages to senders.”

But some Iqaluit residents say that it’s not a choice, that the length of the lineup prevents them picking up a package while on a lunch break during business hours.

The post office is currently open from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“To help deal with these volumes since this unprecedented time began we have, at times, extended hours during evenings and opened the post office on Saturdays,” said the spokesperson.

Canada Post did not say what plans are in place should the lines continue into the winter, but it did say that it is continually reviewing its processes in order to improve service.

Aside from the influx of packages since the start of the pandemic, the post office has also had to make changes in staffing, staff scheduling, the work environment and work practices in order to give employees sufficient space in all work areas.

“Larger incoming parcel volumes and required safety measures mean that it is taking longer to process mail and serve each customer,” said the spokesperson.

“We thank the community for their continued patience and support for the measures we’ve put in place for everyone’s safety.”

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(14) Comments:

  1. Posted by Bureaucrats Step Up on

    When I’m asked “what do you do?” I jokingly say that I spend my days in the postal line-up. But it’s getting tiresome and when winter comes ridiculous.
    The staff are wonderful, but they’re not getting any support from the south. The bureaucrats are blind.

  2. Posted by In the North on

    That would be so frustrating to have to wait in long line ups. The up side of this story is that Iqaluit is still able to order from Amazon and get free shipping, unlike other places in Nunavut. When we order from Amazon, we end up paying exorbitant shipping rates because cities like Iqaluit is getting theirs for free. I would not mind standing in line to get my parcels if I knew I had not paid almost half the price of my items in shipping costs. But then mind you, i’m living in a much smaller community with a whole less people. Maybe they need two post offices to service the population? Just a thought.

  3. Posted by Bs on

    It is not people waiting till their whole order is in. Amazon ships everything separately so you could go one day and have no slips and go the next and have 6.

    You need more hours or more staff. You can’t have 1 employee working with the rest on lunch break. This is not rocket science but for the current management it seems to be.

  4. Posted by Cheap on

    If Canada Post would pay their Nunavut employees a better wage, they would retain good employees, and those employers would be happier and more committed. Down south, when you are hired by Canada Post, the future is bright and many people decide to make it their long-term term career. Up here, their “isolated post” allowance is not even close to other government-type jobs. It is probably the busiest post office in Canada, and they should be compensated fairly. I nearly accepted a job offer from them, but when I found out what I’d be paid, I decided to keep looking.

    • Posted by I support this whole heartedly. on

      This is exactly on the mark.

  5. Posted by lineup solution? on

    The long lines could be somewhat shortened if small items are placed directly in the PO boxes. I find its strange that during this Covid times, the management doesn’t see this simple solution. The staff are clearly overwhelmed,underpaid and overworked but with little support from the management. I have waited in line past 6pm and watched 1 person at the counter dealing with customers and what i assume the supervisor was just going in and out to the front without helping the lone staff. Seeing our Mayor’s tweet and head office replied by saying we should look at our spending habits is highly unprofessional on Canada post part.

  6. Posted by John K on

    18 days between scanning out of Montreal and being scanned here. Then another day before I got the card.

    We’re ordering Christmas stuff now.

  7. Posted by Lead by example on

    Really disappointing tweet by our mayor there. Throwing people under the bus like that does no one any good in a small town.

    • Posted by Posty on

      He didn’t throw anyone under the bus. He tried to contact head office. They wouldn’t meet with him. He isn’t talking about local staff or frontline workers (who I think we mostly all agree are being overworked with probably not close to enough pay). He’s talking about the people in the big office, probably down south. He is holding them accountable, and keeping us in the loop. I don’t even think he called anyone out by name or a specific position.

  8. Posted by Unik on

    The city has grown too big for pick-up only service.
    The second warehouse location was opened a few years back temporarily during the Holidays to accommodate larger amounts of parcels, and then just never went back to a single location.
    We need to start thinking about home delivery like they do in larger cities.

  9. Posted by Jack Napier on

    If Food mail was still around this would not be a problem.

  10. Posted by Unik on

    Maybe a temporary solution would be to have designated (“Suggested”) pickup times for certain box numbers?
    That way people would be able to go pick up their parcels at a specific time with somewhat shorter lines.

  11. Posted by Change locations on

    Renovated the old yellow submarine airport, although it is a bit out of the way, it would be a nice location. Right off the runway, no need to transport between two different locations.

    • Posted by Unik on

      That’s a pretty good idea actually.

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