Canada Post

7 things postal workers in Toronto wish you knew

Everyone loves receiving that letter or package they were waiting for in the mail, but few people take a moment to stop and appreciate those who helped make it happen.

Being a postal worker can be a tough job, having to navigate a busy city, put up with harsh weather and deal with animals who don't appreciate you stepping onto their property. All that while carting around a seemingly endless supply of deliveries that people are anxious to receive on time.

A number of postal workers told blogTO what the job is really like. Next time you find yourself waiting by the front door for that special delivery to arrive, take a moment to consider a few things that could help out the postal worker you're expecting.

1. Please clear snow and ice from your driveway and front steps

Canada Post has strict guidelines on working safely so if someone slips on a patch of ice and hurts themselves, it's on them. If the postal worker approaching your home thinks there's a chance they could get injured while walking to your mail box, your mail will simply get put into turnaround and won't get delivered until at least three days later.

While it could be frustrating to find out that your home was skipped over, it would have been much worse had the postal worker attempted to deliver and injured themselves on your property. Taking some time in the morning to clear a path will help all parties involved.

2. A loose dog can also stop deliveries

While it may seem like a scene out of a cartoon, postal workers often have to deal with loose and aggressive dogs. Just like slipping on ice, if a worker feels there's a chance they may be bitten or clawed, they can stop delivery until it's safer to do so.

Even if you're also outside, the postal worker may ask you to restrain or tie up your dog for a moment, and it's not because they're being difficult. They're simply trying to do their job as safely as possible - even the friendliest dogs often don't react well to a stranger approaching their home.

"A lot of us like dogs and most are friendly," said one postal worker. "If we ask you to restrain your dog, it's so we won't have to stop delivery or risk getting bitten and having to report your dog."

3. They don't know when someone has moved

People can get upset when a letter delivered to their home was meant for someone who moved away years ago. The people who deliver your mail are simply doing their job of bringing letters and packages to the addresses listed on them.

The person or company responsible for sending the mail is the one at fault. If you're tired of receiving a weekly copy of some magazine meant for a previous tenant, you'll have better luck contacting the magazine company than shouting at the postal worker to update their records.

4. A simple 'no flyers' sign will stop most flyers

Canada Post respects the no flyers policy, so if you put a sign or sticker by your mailbox requesting no flyers, then most of them will be stopped.

That being said, some flyers such as ones from the city or government are mandatory for every household to receive. There are also a number of other companies separate from Canada Post that deliver flyers and may not be as respecting of your sign. 

5. Some days are much worse than others

While a job that involves walking around outside may seem like a dream to someone who just spent all week cooped up in their office, there are plenty of days when postal workers wish they could stay inside.

"Checking the weather every morning helps to mentally prepare myself for how difficult the day will be," explained another postal worker.

Longtime residents of Toronto know how wild weather in this city can get, from sweltering humid summer heat, to freezing winter and high winds throughout the year. If an expected delivery arrives later than you wanted it to, take a moment to see if the postal worker has had to spend the day dragging themself through unbearable weather before getting upset at the delay.

6. It's a really difficult job

Most letter carriers walk 15-25km a day depending on the route. For new carriers, their day starts at 8 a.m. and ends when they're done, so if you receive your mail at 8 p.m., know that they've been walking for the past 12 hours and will likely have to do it all again tomorrow.

Workers have to deliver mail, flyers, parcels and also do pickups, all while navigating busy routes throughout the city. There's a lot to learn and with an 80 per cent turnover rate, it's clear that not everyone is able to handle the demands of the job.

Before you call a poster worker lazy, ask yourself when the last time you walked multiple marathons in a single week was.

7. Customers really are what makes the job great!

Walking around all day can get a bit lonely, so it's always nice to get to know someone on the route and have a chat to break up the monotony of the day. 

Getting to know your letter carrier means they could help you out with some of the more confusing procedures and they'll be glad to do so.

"During the first lockdown the streets were empty it was oddly spooky but everyone was home," explained one mail carrier. "It was nice to see and meet people who would normally be at the office. For some people, seeing us work everyday brought a small sense of normalcy."

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim

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