Canada Post aims to increase postal service in Indigenous communities
SAULT STE. MARIE -- Canada post is looking to improve service for Indigenous communities across Canada and in the North.
Its launch of the Indigenous and Northern Reconciliation Strategy sees the Crown corporation aiming to overhaul its postal service in indigenous communities.
"We calculate, that's my calculation, (there's) about 1,200 First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities throughout the country and Canada Post," said Dale Leclair, Canada Post director of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. "As it relates to post offices, it's only in 200 of those communities."
Leclair said many of these communities can be as far as 60 kilometres way from the nearest post office. He said adding more will not only help address key infrastructure faults, but also fill in the gaps in employment.
"Which would increase the number of people that we employ as we create post offices, it would create better infrastructure for e-commerce," Leclair said.
The Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief said job creation and communication is the most important part of the plan.
Often frozen out
Oftentimes, he said many Indigenous people are frozen out by employers, leading to an inequity of opportunity.
"When our kids apply for high paying, nice jobs, just like everybody else, we never get … even a response or an acknowledgement that they get our application," said Chief Glen Hare. "I'm dealing with that right now. Things have to change."
Hare said more governmental organizations reaching out to Indigenous communities is what's needed right now.
He commends Canada Post for its efforts so far, but said he wants to see others do the same.
"It's not that our people don't want to learn about what's out there for them," he said. "They don't know what there is, yet some still put the onus on us, there is that disconnect."
Canada Post says in time, it hopes to increase its partnerships with Indigenous-owned businesses, rather than sticking with large commercial retailers.