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As most people are aware by now, Canada Post announced a 5 point plan to restructure their monopoly business.  (How a monopoly can lose so much money defies explanation... but I will not go there.)

Years ago, 250 people were invited to a conference to discuss national rural issues. Many issues were brought forward.  The members prioritized, what we deemed, as essential issues that needed to be addressed.

There was discussion concerning basic delivery of essential services for Rural Canadians such as clean reliable source of water, reliable source of food within a reasonable travel distance, banking, reliable communication system, and a few others.

What we saw happening at the time was the fact that services were gravitating towards urban centers. Urban centers have high density population therefore the cost of most services can be minimized with increased demand.

At the time of those national meetings, a big issue was basic telecommunications/transportation infrastructure.  There were communities in Canada that did not have access to phone lines or decent roads.  Analogue and party phone lines were common.  Internet, cable and fax services to many rural people were unattainable at the time. 

Our township at the time had digital phone services to the east and west of us (south is the lake) but not available to us.  When told of this, the young Ottawa reps asked where I lived.  In Northern Canada?  No, in the heart of SW Ontario.....with the major North American telecommunication line running through the center of our township but not providing digital services to us. (has since changed, but still not DSL in most of the township).  They had a very hard time believing it as they were raised with access to new technology, not knowing life otherwise.

Urban centers offer public transportation, garbage pick-up, banking, food supplies, access to DSL, cable and many many other services usually in a very short walking/travel distance.

Many rural areas consist of huge tracts of farmland or forests. 

The land is needed for food production. Huge spaces is needed for food production. 

Land Use is controlled by Provincial legislation and regulations.  Rural Ontario has an extremely low population density by Provincial design.

As technology advanced, it was obviously supplied first to urban centers. Business will go where the consumers are located.  Low density population is an economic barrier in reality for those wishing to provide services.

There is increasing pressure to do business electronically.  Government agencies are actively encouraging people to submit payroll remittances, ROEs, T4s, WSIB, HST, crop insurance reports, etc on-line.

As a result, Corporations such as Canada Post, find that it is not business as usual.  A generation of urban consumers/businesses know little about in-bank services, snail mail, cheque writing and in-store shopping.

But infrastructure that urbanites have grown accustomed to is not always available to the rural folks still to this day.

Obtaining reliable high-speed cost effective internet service is still a huge issue in rural Ontario. DSL lines are simply not in place in many parts of rural Ontario.  Wireless internet is a challenge due to trees as obstructions.  (Trees are protected)  Satellite services are costly and when it rains, the service is comprised.

Paying bills at a financial institution can be challenging even if one can be found in a near-by community.

In short, government and businesses are evolving and encouraging the use of  electronics and as a result Canada Post needs to adapt to the demands of the many at the expense of the few.

Rural folks are the forgotten people .... again... in the Canada Post announcement. 

Our costs will increase as many rural folks depend on that mailbox at the road. 

Not everyone has a vehicle.  Not everyone lives within a days' walking distance to an urban area that provides banking/food/clothing/etc services.  Not everyone has internet.. much less understand it. Not everyone has a cell phone because of the lack of transmission towers.

We are being pressured to deliver required forms, information and remittances electronically but the same Government is not providing the basic infrastructure to allow us to comply.  Rural folk need Canada Post in a manner most urban people do not understand.

Yes, I know.  The monopoly corporation that delivers mail will cut home delivery services in urban areas.  There is no mention on rural delivery......... today......but the writing is on the wall and rural Canada needs to be part of the discussion... NOW.

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Good points Joann,

 

I think it is going to be difficult for Canada Post to continue to maintain the current level of service.  We might see less frequent delivery etc., I am not sure how you fix such a huge entity.

 

I agree that rural communities need to be well serviced and need to make sure their requirements are heard by policy makers in Ottawa and Queens Park - I suggest that we wrap it in the Rural Economic Development flag - jobs seem to be what gets the attention of politicians these days...modern and cost effective telecommunications infrastructure is critical.

 

If rural communities are well serviced with internet and cellular phones we can at least operate and compete in the future economy and survive even with irregular postal services....not sure we can compete without internet and smartphone coverage.

 

I agree with your last point that the writing is on the wall with rural delivery so people need to proactively prepare for the changes and make sure we have modern infrastructure - I would rather invest in that demand and fight than try to hold on to more regular snail mail.

 

Take care and have a wonderful holiday,

 

Joe Dales

 

Thank you Joe.

I totally agree with your sentiments.  I'm sure the people that delivered stone tablets saw the writing on the wall when papyrus scrolls and parchment paper made from sheep skin arrived on the scene.

We are evolving as a society whether we like it or not.  I am sure there will be new communication services available within a decade that is not even imagined right now.

What I am suggesting is that Rural Ontario needs to start the discussion now concerning communications of the future.  We will need basic infrastructure to accommodate our commications needs.  Right now we are lacking in that area while being forced to comply to new standards.

As an example, any employer with 50 employees or more, by law has to send T4s electronically.  When a farmer does not have reliable internet, and sends a paper form, he is non-compliant.  The government has instituted rules but makes no effort to ensure the farmer has the tools to comply.

The Canada Post announcement is a wake up call and we need to be on the ground floor NOW to ensure we don't get left behind even further.

It's so unfortunate that rural people in Ontario have no representation.  There are so few of us, we don't even register on the radar.



Joe Dales said:

Good points Joann,

 

I think it is going to be difficult for Canada Post to continue to maintain the current level of service.  We might see less frequent delivery etc., I am not sure how you fix such a huge entity.

 

I agree that rural communities need to be well serviced and need to make sure their requirements are heard by policy makers in Ottawa and Queens Park - I suggest that we wrap it in the Rural Economic Development flag - jobs seem to be what gets the attention of politicians these days...modern and cost effective telecommunications infrastructure is critical.

 

If rural communities are well serviced with internet and cellular phones we can at least operate and compete in the future economy and survive even with irregular postal services....not sure we can compete without internet and smartphone coverage.

 

I agree with your last point that the writing is on the wall with rural delivery so people need to proactively prepare for the changes and make sure we have modern infrastructure - I would rather invest in that demand and fight than try to hold on to more regular snail mail.

 

Take care and have a wonderful holiday,

 

Joe Dales

 

I think your last point is the one we need to focus on....very little representation and a small number of rural votes.

 

We need to position agriculture as a strong economic engine in Ontario...which it is and that we can compete globally and create jobs.  That is how we get politicians' attention...right now it is about building the economy.

 

I believe they are looking at our agri food sector and want to grow it but realize it is difficult.  Big multinational food companies make the headlines but are risky.

 

Policies need to be directed at our rural communities and farmers to encourage innovation and investment in infrastructure and people...communications technology is critical to our remaining competitive.

 

We need to make sure politicians know that investing a dollar in rural infrastructure is a terrific long term investment and that we tell them and prove it.

 

I hope that Santa will improve rural infrastructure this year.

 

Take care,

 

Joe

 

 

 

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