Cash-strapped Christmas for some as Canada Post fails to deliver pension cheques on time

  • Jan. 11, 2010 1:00 p.m.

Eighty-five Old Age Security cheques, sent to seniors on the islands via Canada Post, made it here on Christmas Eve, but not before banks had closed for the long holiday weekend. Queen Charlotte mayor Carol Kulesha says this is another example of Canada Post failing islanders. The cheques were caught in the system after bad weather kept the ferry from arriving and the mail from being delivered between Dec. 17 and 22. Spokesperson Lillian Au said Canada Post realized that this important mail would not make it to the islands in time for Christmas by ferry, so the corporation decided to send the cheques by plane on Dec. 24. “The Queen Charlotte City rural suburban mail carrier and postmaster worked late on Christmas Eve to ensure the cheques were delivered to the customers’ mailboxes,” Ms Au said in a statement emailed to the Observer. But Ms Kulesha said people did not have a chance to cash these cheques before Christmas on that delivery schedule. “Pension cheques are awaited by people who quite often live month by month,” she wrote in a letter to Canada Post’s ombudsman. She said the people affected are those who do not receive direct deposits and they are usually the ones who need the cheques the most. Further, she said that pension cheques only arrived on time on the islands once in the past six months. The federal government’s Service Canada site posts a schedule that states cheques should arrive in the mail on the last three days of each month. The schedule changes in December to ensure that cheques arrive before Christmas. Ms Kulesha said that after repeated inquiries the cheques were finally flown over, but the action came too late. Pensioners ended up spending the holidays short of funds, she said.