Reporting to the Chair of the Board of Directors, the Office of the Ombudsman is independent of Canada Post staff and management. It gives Canadians another avenue if they feel Canada Post did not live up to its service commitments. It investigates customer complaints and recommends fair and equitable solutions. By identifying trends, focusing on prevention and recommending changes as needed, it also offers Canada Post another perspective to improve service.
In 2020, the overall number of appeals filed with our office increased by 36 per cent compared to the previous year. We received 4,700 appeals compared to 3,449 in 2019.
This is a change in the recent trend. The number of appeals had been decreasing steadily over the previous four years, going from 6,092 appeals in 2015 down to 3,449 in 2019. We attribute the increase in 2020 to postal issues related to the pandemic. More specifically:
- Canada Post introduced a variety of changes to how it delivered mail during the pandemic (i.e. new parcel safe-dropping procedures, delivery guarantees suspended, a new signature process) and it created some confusion with consumers who reported they were not aware at the moment of mailing.
- Canada Post implemented new safety protocols in plants and depots, contributing to delivery delays that consumers complained about.
- During the holiday period, we also saw a greater number of consumers mailing gifts that were not properly packaged, resulting in more claims for damaged items.
The number of appeals related to the Canadian Postal Service Charter increased by 1,088, or by 51 per cent over the previous year. This increase was due primarily to more reported issues for damaged or missing items.
Of the 1,822 cases for which we completed an in-depth investigation, 39 per cent resulted in corrective action. In the rest, our investigation supported Canada Post’s actions. In comparison, corrective action was needed in 45 per cent of cases in 2019.
Over half the appeals did not result in an in-depth investigation because customers withdrew their submission before our investigation concluded, or they had reached out to us before Canada Post had time to fully address their issue.
The Office of the Ombudsman’s Annual Report will be available at canadapost.ca/ombudsman.