Frozen Canada Post Community Mail Box Lock: REALLY!?

Is it time to privatize Canada Post?

Canada Post Community Mail Box
Frozen Canada Post Community Mail Box Lock: REALLY!?
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Nolan A Machan

Nolan A Machan

Nolan Machan is the Publisher of OakvilleNews.Org and has over 41 years of local Oakville knowledge. He is committed to providing Oakville residents with the most up-to-date information about our great town.

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Today, I headed over to get my mail at the Canada Post Community Mail Box assigned to my home. I bundled up and headed over with keys in hand. I inserted the key, and tried to turn the lock, but it didn’t turn. I thought, well let’s try the other two keys, because maybe the one that was used was defective. However, that didn’t do it either. Three attempts were made. Nothing worked.

The community mail box is adjacent to the mall where the Canada Post retail outlet is, so I popped in there, and indicated that I couldn’t get into my mailbox.

“Your mail box lock is likely frozen,” said the clerk. “Do you have any hand sanitizer?”

To which I replied “No?”

The sanitizer defrosts the lock. So realizing that they had a bottle on the counter, we lubed up the key and I ran over to try it. I inserted the key, and waited a second for it to work. It didn’t work. Needless to say, this was particularly unsatisfying.

So when I got home, I called Canada Post. Again I explained the issue, after having to go through several prompts, to which the customer service representative responded that my lock must have frozen, and did I have any de-icer?

“I don’t,” I responded.

This left the customer rep with only one solution, to write up a service ticket. She gave me my number and indicated that it would be resolved in 48 hours. There was no way to speed up the process, and the service person would not indicate when it was done.

This appears to be the way Canada Post has decided to handle residential service. First they terminated door to door service, even to condominium town-homes, and installed a Canada Post Community Mail Box which doesn’t work in cold weather. Then when they have a problem, they then ask the consumer to solve it themselves. The consumer doesn’t own the mailboxes, didn’t install them, nor can they service them, but Canada Post believes we should fix them ourselves. So you might want to take along your hand-sanitizer every time you need to get your mail – just in case.

Can you imagine going to your doctor, and they would start by asking you your temperature. When you don’t have a response, they ask you to get your thermometer to take your temperature. If you don’t have a thermometer then you’ll have to wait until they can get to it. However, that may take a while.

Now, I was expecting to receive some important mail from across town. Mail delivery has usually not been an issue, however, it appears that Canada Post in its haste to eliminate home delivery, didn’t ensure that the mail box locks would work in cold temperatures. What were they thinking? Also, they will NOT insure that the person who is scheduled to do the work call you to say that it is completed.

It appears, that customer service is no longer important to Canada Post other then to tell their consumers what they do not do. Maybe it is time, that the consumer have a choice about who will be delivering our mail, since Canada Post doesn’t seem to be interested in that business any longer. Is it time to privatize Canada Post?

A Canada Post Community Mail Box should be able to work well in the cold Canadian winters!



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Readers Comments (27)

  1. ChristineB says:

    Contacted Canada Post about my frozen community mailbox in Oakville. Was told someone would be by to check it within five days!

  2. Eliza says:

    Oh, for Pete’s sake. It’s annoying, yes, but is it really a big enough issue to write an article about it?! good grief. Be happy you don’t have any real problems in life.

  3. ChristineB says:

    By the way, hand sanitizer didn’t work in opening my lock either.

  4. Paul Cummings says:

    Would you prefer no postal delivery at all and being responsible for the debt incurred with door to door postal delivery when the bulk of communication is now done on computer, thus the anticipated deficit at Canada Post? Every place I have lived since I left Oakville, I have never had home delivery. Get used to it. I would sooner a little inconvenience than paying $5 to mail a letter so it can be hand delivered to my home after it being sent to a central sorting facility from Oakville to say Manitoba then sent back to you in Oakville. Wake up – this is an online newspaper – it doesn’t get delivered to your door anymore every day – email, social networking, online shopping, online banking, online billing and a $1.50 charge to have a paper bill mailed to you, even the government is doing everything in their power to not mail cheques but to have then directly deposited in your bank account. There is a cost to all aspects of the mail system as it currently is and if they went back to home delivery because of the protests of a few, then you would guaranteed be the first to complain at the cost to mail a letter and the length of time the letter took to get to you from one end of town to the other!

    • David Marshall says:

      I think that it is being suggested that yeah, we might be better off with no postal delivery. 95% of what we get is junk mail, and even my older relatives are starting to send electronic Christmas cards now… so yes, I think that we should consider getting rid of it completely rather than dealing with crippled “super boxes”.

      Here’s the difference though: I have a choice whether or not I buy a Chevrolet, or even a car for that matter.

      We had no choice here. I am responsible for my “Mail Box” and emptying it even if I didn’t want one. It’s not voluntary, we didn’t get to choose which brand of Mail Box was purchased, and yet we are still somehow responsible for it.

      This is a clear signal to everyone: Convert everything to e-billing. Tell people to correspond via e-mail. Cancel catalogues and flyers where you can. Get off the Canada Post Grid entirely if at all possible. We’re heading there anyway, and this is just another reason to reduce our exposure to Canada Post

  5. Brayden H says:

    Canada post has never truly cared about customer service, I have also had that issue where the lock is completely frozen or the door its self is and won’t open.

    Another issue, my family owns a Printing and Mailing company and we use Gateway in Etobickoe to delivery our mail that we process, the whole system is flawed, they have us put the mail in a FIRE ESCAPE which is just ridiculous and completely unsafe. That is just another thing Canada Post couldn’t care less about.

  6. Nick says:

    I have had a community mail box since 1997 and the lock has never frozen. Give it up, people! – you are not going to get home delivery back!

  7. fred hayes says:

    I am still getting home delivery but the lack of customer service at the post office in the drug store near me is disgusting. Before Christmas during the rush the only girl they had on was so slow I went for a coffee in the mall drank it in the coffee shop and when I got back the same people were still in my turn (20 min later) she told me my package was to small to mail because the labels she had were to big, so I told her where she could put the labels and went to a courier.
    So I agree privatize it and make them look for a job where they might have to WORK

  8. KenD says:

    Is Chevrolet responsible if your car door lock is frozen? No. Sometimes extreme weather will cause certain devices to malfunction, ie Mail Box locks. My suggestion? Suck it up and figure it out. Is this article even worth being published? Must be a slow news day.

  9. Nick Burbidge says:

    Please explain why this article is “news”.

  10. laurie cestnick says:

    The fact that this was even written is completely lame ..and you can not call yourself Canadian. Get off your arse, get yourself some de-icer or hand santizer, put it in the lock and you’re good to go. Be proud to be a hardy Canadian contending with what comes with being one and it being winter time …stop whining! ..sheesh.

  11. Terry Dubois says:

    Yes, I too have been unable to open my Oakville mailbox for 2 days now, despite notifying Canada Post. Perhaps I’ll have to do a DIY tomorrow morning, fire up the blow torch and extract my own mail. Kind of like providing your own health care, eh?
    God I love this country.

  12. Tim says:

    I’m sorry, but asking the customer to try some hand sanitizer or lock de-icer is… completely reasonable.

    Are we that un-cooperative as a society that we demand Canada Post drive all the way out to do a simple little task all at tax payer cost, without at least asking a simple question of the customer first?

    If the customer says no, that’s fine… they will still take responsibility. But if the customer says yes, then EVERYONE wins.

    Winter is a reality. It makes things difficult. So let us all work together.

  13. Angry Bill says:

    These new boxes they installed have cheap locks on them made in some 3rd world hellhole and not suitable for use in Canada. De-icer does not work. I hope the idiot who decided to buy these crap locks gets locked in a bad public toilet.

  14. Marty says:

    Boo Hoo.. get some lock de-icer.

  15. Perry Amos says:

    I went to my mailbox on Jan 6th 2015 at approx. 4:00 pm and the lock was frozen. I tried to insert the key a few times but no luck. I called canada post and went through several prompts to speak to a customer service representative who was very pleasant. She made a service request ticket for my mail box and said that it should be serviced by Friday January 9 2015.

    mer service representative who reservice request and said that it should be resolved by Friday January 9th. That could be three full business days.

  16. David Marshall says:

    Our box has been frozen for 3 days. I am in complete agreement with the author of this article.
    (1) What genius selected these “super boxes” without thoroughly testing them to make sure that they work well even in really cold temperatures? We’re relatively temperate in Oakville… what will people in colder Canadian cities do?
    (2) What happens after a week or two of junk fliers filling these frozen boxes? Will we be fined for not emptying the lock boxes that we can’t open?
    (3) Isn’t it time to look more closely at shutting the whole thing down? Don’t most of us get 100% of our bills electronically? More and more people don’t even mail Christmas cards any more (given the $1.00/card postage cost), and for parcel delivery, Canada Post isn’t any cheaper than FedEx or UPS anyway!

    To those neighbourhoods/cities/towns that haven’t yet been converted away from home delivery to one of these “SuperBoxes”, you are in for a real treat when it happens.

    What would have been so bad about having home delivery but reducing it to say 2 days a week? With our frozen mail-lock-box we are down to zero mail delivery anyway.

  17. Jdawg says:


    Go to Canadian tire… In the checkout line there is this thing called “lock de-icer and lubricator” it’s under $2.00.

  18. Morar says:

    If hand sanitizer and de-icer don’t work, I know of someone who took a blow torch with him. That worked. Perhaps that solution will speed up and improve customer service.

  19. Jim says:

    Just take a hammer with you and give it a good wack. It will open.

  20. Dan says:

    I don’t mind the concept of the community mailboxes at all. I think it’s good to get people out in their community. I have had a community mailbox while living elsewhere and had no issues. With such a large and permanent rollout though (and so much push back), Canada Post should have ensured that a few basics were done right. Solid quality locks that will last should have been one of those basics. They (we) will end up paying more than the money saved on the cheap locks. As I understand it they found hundreds of keys broken off in the locks this past week.

  21. Art says:

    I went to get my mail and I couldn’t even insert the key. I tried this several times and finally I discovered I was using the wrong key. lol, what a dufous. When I did get my mail it was full of advertising, which I enjoyed immensely. You have to laugh at life and take every day as a present!

  22. Deb says:

    Ours was just installed and the key doesn’t even fit in the lock. We have 12 modules of boxes and I tried every last one of them. Took me an hour! So I open a ticket with Canada Post on June 15th and now it’s June 23 and nothing! Unbelievable. Over a week without being to access my mail and I know a cheque is in there and a small package from Amazon.

  23. Tom says:

    To all those who say suck it up, need to understand that yes there might be quick fixes which don’t always work but at the same time if we damage the box or the locks we now can be charged with destruction of property as we do not own these boxes.
    Also for the people with disabilities or the elderly that are waiting on government documents or even legal papers which are required to be mailed to say figure it out is not very fair.
    I have had super boxes in the past but never had they been so poorly made.

  24. Shirley says:

    So…not a big deal? Try waiting for an important cheque in the mail you cant get at or an elderly person who barely gets to the mail and makes such an effort for nothing. Its a big deal. Why cant the Postie carry a can of deicer himself and spray every day. Oh…maybe not in the job description.

  25. David Maye says:

    Yup, just tried my mailbox in Montreal. Key goes in but doesnt turn.

  26. robert hutchings says:

    use a blowtorch

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