What is Canada Post thinking?

Years ago, I put a “no flyers/junk mail” sticker on my mailbox because I no longer wanted to receive wasteful ad mail that I often tossed directly into the recycling bin.  It has, thus far, worked wonderfully.

Today, however, I received a letter from Canada Post suggesting that I consider removing that notice from my mailbox. . . .

“Dear occupant,” the letter reads, “Your address is part of Canada Post’s Consumers’ Choice database as a result of having a ‘no flyer’ notice on your mailbox. This means you are currently not receiving unaddressed mail delivered by Canada Post. . . .  [You bet!]  We would like to make it easy for you to receive this important mail that includes information and offers that could benefit you and your family.  [Huh?]”

The letter goes on to inform me that by choosing not to receive unaddressed mail, I am missing out on “important” monetary savings, community connections and product samples.  It then suggests that I opt back in to junk mail delivery by 1) returning an enclosed postage paid card (printed on sustainable paper, no less) and 2) removing the “no flyers” notice from my mailbox.  Both suggestions are printed in boldface text, and the latter item is prefaced with the word “IMPORTANT“.  If I follow these two easy steps, I’ll begin receiving junk mail again in just a few weeks.

Well, I’ll be.  What is Canada Post thinking?  In an era where companies are cutting paper and saving money by turning to e-billing, online advertising and the like, here is Canada Post trying to encourage folks to resume the delivery of excess, wasteful paper products to their homes!  It boggles my mind.  I understand that Canada Post deals in the paper-mail trade, and that the corporation is facing financial difficulties, but launching a campaign intended to get people to embrace junk mail seems both desperate and markedly out of touch with the times.

So, Canada Post, I will be leaving my “no flyers” sticker on my mailbox.  I realize, as you point out, that “most unaddressed mail . . . [is] printed on sustainable papers and can all be recycled.”

The point is, I don’t want to receive these unnecessary materials in the first place.

12 Responses to “What is Canada Post thinking?”

  1. I got one of those letters too, and I also plan to leave my “no flyer” sign in my mailbox. I might even freshen it up (after several years, it’s getting a bit worn), just to re-iterate my decision. In fact, I was thinking about printing up some flyers to distribute to neighbours to encourage them to opt out of junk mail as well. The 1-page flyer would include a little sign that they could simply cut out and tape in their mailbox. And maybe they’ll tell their friends…

    • Hi Frank, that’s a great idea to encourage others to reduce the flow of paper through their mailboxes. I’ll bet most people don’t give the junk mail they receive more than a quick glance before they toss it in either the recycling bin or the garbage. I wish you luck with your endeavour!

  2. Canada Post’s number one priority is strongarming people into coupons. They’re also going to make sure you take advantage of all three for the price of two offers at your grocery store. It’s the only branch of the government devoted to straight up bargains.

    • Thanks for your comment, snaughty. While I can’t speak to Canada Post’s particular motivations, I do think that a campaign aimed at getting people to embrace junk mail is somewhat misguided — especially when it targets people who have consciously taken specific steps to stop the delivery of junk mail to their homes.

  3. Well written and thanks for saying no to admail. A news clip stated that Canada Post sent out 900,000 letters to the people they know are participating in the Consumers Choice Program. How do they know there are 900,000 participates when there is NO requirement to inform them. RED FLAG! Did Canada Post ignore their own policy of respecting our freedom of choice? The letter in question is addressed to “Occupant” RED FLAG!
    Did the envelope have your address printed on it, or was it “unaddressed admail”? Please let me know

    We have all heard the phrase “If you’re not going to use it, don’t take it”. It is as simple as that.
    UNWANTED admail is a serious threat to our environment. The trees wasted, water polluted, GHG’s created, and landfill space and tax dollars ($85 million) needed managing the waste. The invasion of your personal time needs to be account for as well.
    I’m the Co-Founder of NoAdMail. If you have any questions or need help answering one of your followers questions; I’d be happy to help out.

    Is Canada Post flirting with unethical business tactics?
    What would your response be?
    – One of Canada’s largest Oil and Gas Companies have stopped investing millions of dollars per year on environment innovation (making their processes cleaner) just to be more profitable.
    – All Canadians, at every meal take an extra plate full of food and throw it in the garbage.

    • Hi Jeff – thanks for taking the time to comment and share your information. Unfortunately I no longer have the envelope in question, and I can’t remember whether it was printed with my address or not (although I believe it was). I was certainly surprised to see “Occupant” in the addressee line, though!

    • Hi Jeff,
      Just FYI, I kept my envelope…although it was addressed to “OCCUPANT/L’OCCUPANT”, it DID have my street address as well. So technically, it wasn’t ‘unaddressed’, but I still found it annoying!

  4. Thanks for the info Frank. Another question I need help with is – how did Canada Post know you were participating in the program?

    • @Jeff,
      Well, I didn’t tell Canada Post officially – I just put the “no ad-mail” sign in my mailbox. However, the website from which I got the sign (http://www.reddotcampaign.ca/) explains it this way:

      “We applaud Canada Post’s eco-friendly Consumer Choice option that reduces waste and clutter. All you need to do is put a “No Admail” or “No Junk Mail” sign on your mailbox. * The Consumer Choice database is decremented for each person opting out, and advertisers reduce their print quantities accordingly. Refer to Canada Post’s website for more details.”
      [Canada Post’s website: http://www.canadapost.ca/cpo/mc/personal/support/helpcentre/receiving/admail_stop.jsf%5D

      If the part about reducing the print quantities is correct, then it’s possible that Canada Post is just being pro-active by keeping track of the numbers of people who “opt out” of junk mail. It is hard to say…

  5. Thomas Hasek
    4758 Victory Street
    Burnaby, BC V5J 1S2
    Tel. (604) 432-6007
    E-mail: thasek@shaw.ca

    May 28, 2013

    Open Letter to Amanda Maltby
    General Manager, Compliance and Chief Privacy Officer
    Canada Post
    Consumers’ Choice Program
    400 Hunt Club Road
    Ottawa ON K1V 1C1

    Dear Ms. Maltby:
    No Flyer Notice
    I do not actually have a “no flyer “ notice on my mailbox, but thank you for reminding me to put one up. I am pleased to be able to confirm to you that I do not wish to have my mailbox stuffed with advertisements and other unsolicited garbage. I realize that this class of material is one of the few profitable services that remains in the current business plan of Canada Post, but I would urge you to extend your admirable conservation efforts in using recycled materials in your mailing to the preservation of our resources by not pushing the distribution of unaddressed materials and not delivering “OCCUPANT/L’OCCUPANT” mail to my address.

    I appreciate that it is not in the interest of Canada Post to provide an email address to which I can direct this note, but I would urge you to provide a faster and less costly way of communication whereby I might determine that you are open to change and improvement by way of customer feedback.


    aka Thomas Hasek


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