A Canada Post truck is seen illegally parked in downtown Toronto on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. The company is closing in on $1 million a year in parking fines as it struggles with increasingly congested streets. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel)

Canada Post racking up close to $1 million a year in parking fines, data show

Crown corporation has paid out almost $7.5 million in parking fines over the past decade

Canada Post is racking up close to $1 million annually in parking tickets as drivers struggle to navigate increasingly congested city streets, data show.

The information, obtained by The Canadian Press through freedom of information requests, indicates the bulk of the citations are in and around Toronto.

“To meet the needs of Canadians, our employees have to routinely park their vehicles,” said Canada Post spokesman Jon Hamilton. “With the concentration of addresses in urban downtown cores and a rising demand for pickups and deliveries, this can cause challenges, not just for Canada Post but for all delivery companies.”

Data show the Crown corporation has paid out almost $7.5 million in parking fines over the past decade. The worst year was in 2016 with $943,293 paid, slightly more than last year’s $914,831, and almost quadruple the $289,908 recorded in 2009.

Under the federal Canada Post Act, the corporation has, with some exceptions, the “sole and exclusive privilege of collecting, transmitting and delivering letters to the addressee thereof within Canada.” The corporation has a fleet of almost 13,000 vehicles that delivered close to eight billion pieces of mail last year.

Eric Holmes, a spokesman for the City of Toronto, said mailbox placements are approved with the “general preference” they not be placed along high-volume streets.

“Illegally parking, stopping, or standing a vehicle is dangerous for pedestrians, cyclists and other motorists and creates congestion,” Holmes said. “Enforcement of parking violations is one way the City of Toronto helps deter this behaviour.”

Hamilton said the corporation was an “active participant” in partnerships with Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver that aim to ease congestion, especially in downtown cores and along major access routes.

“We also review our operations to make changes, such as adjusting pickup and delivery times, where possible,” Hamilton said. “It’s a bigger discussion than simply designating more delivery zones.”

READ MORE: Canada Post has unfair advantage in distributing flyers — news group

Overall, the fines are barely a rounding error for Canada Post, which lost $270 million last year on revenue of $6.6 billion dollars — three-quarters of the corporation’s total revenues. The company initially refused a June 2016 request for the ticket data, citing “commercial sensitivity.”

It relented in June after belated intervention from the information commissioner and released the total value of tickets by region paid from 2009 until mid-2016. Asked for updated figures, the country’s largest retail network insisted on receiving a new formal access-to-information request before providing them.

All regions of Canada show ticketing of branded Canada Post vehicles, but most citations are in major urban centres, where thousands of mail addresses can be concentrated in a few blocks. Despite the daunting logistics of pickup and delivery, a Toronto traffic police spokesman was blunt:

“This is an easy one,” Sgt. Brett Moore said. “There is no preferential treatment for Canada Post.”

In general, Canada Post’s drivers are on the hook for traffic violations. However, company policy makes allowance for parking tickets — with an excuse — except in designated accessibility spots.

Emilie Tobin, with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, said the idea of parking exemptions for Canada Post vehicles is a complex topic given that the company is federally regulated but drivers have to follow varying provincial and municipal bylaws.

“In some areas, it is difficult to find a legal parking space, so our members do have to park illegally and some do incur parking tickets,” Tobin said. “It’s not an ideal system and postal workers would prefer that routes could be structured in a way that allowed for legal parking 100 per cent of the time.”

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

READ MORE: Canada Post to unveil Leonard Cohen commemorative stamp to mark late singer’s birthday

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Better COVID-19 testing results needed in the north

Former senior Northern Health official also wants work camps shut down

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

Northern Health preparing ‘for a changing situation’ in response to COVID-19

The health authority is taking a number of measures to free up hospital capacity where possible

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

Northwest Regional Airport says ridership extremely low amid COVID-19

The airport has enacted enhanced sanitary measures and reduced flights

B.C. records first at-home death from COVID-19, but 70+ hospital patients have recovered

Total of 970 novel coronavirus cases in B.C., with the majority in the Lower Mainland area

Canadian COVID-19 round-up: Air Canada cuts 15,000 jobs, 90% of flights

Comprehensive Canadian news update as of 2:30 p.m., Monday, March 30.

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Pay parking suspended at B.C. hospitals due to COVID-19

Temporary free parking reduces need for keypads, contact

Canadian ferry operators call for inclusion in COVID-19 travel restrictions

Domestic travel restrictions should include ferries, operators say

Cruise ships, one with COVID-19 on board, carry Canadians covertly through Panama Canal

Zaandam, Rotterdam pass through canal under cover of darkness in face of local protests

’The energy sector is destroyed beyond repair’: expert on COVID-19’s impact on economy

‘That’s never been heard of before; no one sells oil for $4 a barrel.’ – Dan McTeague

LifeLabs reducing public hours as it assists with COVID-19 testing

Coronavirus tests not done at B.C. patient centres, referrals only

24,000 Canadian Forces members ready for COVID-19 response: Defence Minister

No direct requests made by premiers yet, national defence minister says

Most Read