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.
Since the pandemic began in early 2020, the number of appeals filed with our office has increased and remained well above the 2019 pre-pandemic level. In 2020 and in 2021, many of the new appeals related to temporary changes Canada Post had made to how it delivered mail due to safety reasons. In 2022, all of these temporary changes were phased out and operations went back to normal. However, the number of appeals grew slightly.
In 2022, the total number of appeals filed with our office increased by 3.4 per cent compared to the previous year. We received 4,955 appeals compared to 4,792 in 2021. This also represents an increase of 44 per cent over 2019.
Two complaint categories represented 48 per cent of all investigations completed:
- Mail that was damaged, lost or missing.
- Compensation offered by Canada Post was deemed unfair.
When compared to the previous year, 2022 saw small increases in complaints about mail forwarding issues, no delivery attempts, mail delivered to the wrong address, and behaviour of delivery employees. Having millions more Canadians working from home either full-time or part-time has increased the number of complaints happening at the point of mail delivery.
While the number of appeals decreased steadily between 2015 and 2019, going from 6,092 in 2015 down to 3,449 in 2019, the number of appeals has increased since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. We do not believe this increase is a sign of deeper, more systemic issues.
The number of appeals related to the Canadian Postal Service Charter decreased by 223, or about 8 per cent, compared to the previous year. This decrease was due primarily to fewer reported issues for the security of mail delivery, mostly from fewer reports of damaged or missing items.
Of the 2,259 cases for which we completed an in-depth investigation, 33 per cent resulted in corrective action. For the rest, our investigation supported Canada Post’s decisions and actions.
More than half of the filings received did not result in an in-depth investigation because customers withdrew their submission before our investigation concluded, or did not provide the necessary documents, or reached out to us before Canada Post had the opportunity to fully address their issue.