Friday, April 20, 2018
News Roundup

Canada Post to phase out home mail delivery in cities

The days of door-to-door mail delivery in urban areas across Canada are about to end.

And, the declining number of people still using the mail will see substantial increases in domestic stamp prices — to 85 cents from 63 cents if bought in a booklet, and to $1 individually — starting March 31.

It's part of a plan by Canada Post to cut its operating costs by up to $900 million a year based on the reality that fewer people use the service in these days of email, courier deliveries and bills received and paid online.

Additionally, the "average Canadian household" now buys fewer than two stamps a month.

Thirty years ago, the post office began installing group mailboxes in newly built subdivisions and that will be implemented in all city areas over the next five years, said spokesman Jon Hamilton.

Canada Post said up to 8,000 jobs would be eliminated while nearly 15,000 employees will retire or leave the government agency within that time.

This will be a hardship for seniors with mobility issues who still want five-day-a-week home delivery of their mail, said Susan Eng of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons.

"In cases where there are mobility issues, we will ensure a box can be accessed that isn't too high and we will provide additional keys (for caregivers to pick up the mail)," Hamilton said.

Thousands more workers lose jobs

As the holiday season approaches, things are not so jolly for thousands of Canadian workers.

Soon after the Bank of Montreal said it has reduced its Canadian workforce by nearly 1,000 positions to cut costs and improve efficiency, there have been numerous other job losses.

Kellogg Co. said it will close its cereal plant that employs more than 500 people in London, Ontario, and Heinz is shutting its ketchup plant in Leamington, Ontario, eliminating 740 full-time jobs.

National Steel Car is temporarily laying off 400 workers, about one-fifth of its workforce, in Hamilton, Ontario, the week before Christmas.

Sears Canada announced earlier it is laying off another 800 employees in the latest round of major cuts and the closing of several of its largest stores.

News in brief

• Household debt that has hit an all-time high is a major risk to the Canadian economy, says Stephen Poloz, governor of the Bank of Canada. The risks need to be managed even as the "growth in household borrowing has moderated and residential investment is on a more sustainable track," he said. Latest figures show only a very small rise in debt in the third quarter of the year, suggesting Canadians are reaching their limit on borrowing.

• The Canadian government will begin to phase out the sale of old-style incandescent lightbulbs beginning on Jan. 1 as it introduces new standards for energy efficiency. Instead, consumers will be encouraged to replace their old bulbs with more expensive but longer-lasting compact fluorescent lamps.

Facts and figures

The Canadian dollar has advanced to 94.32 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar is valued at $1.0602 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.

The Bank of Canada's trendsetting interest rate is steady at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate remains at 3 percent.

Stock markets are lower, with the Toronto exchange index at 13,118 points and the TSX Venture index 888 points.

Lotto 6-49: (Dec. 11) 4, 15, 28, 31, 37 and 44; bonus 35. (Dec. 7) 2, 8, 11, 15, 24 and 27; bonus 44. Lotto Max: (Dec. 6) 3, 4, 11, 18, 37, 42 and 44; bonus 47.

Regional briefs

• The Alberta government is concerned that a $7.9 billion hydroelectric dam proposed for northeastern British Columbia could cause serious environmental impacts. In a submission to review hearings, the government said the dam could increase mercury levels in fish and escalate the risk of floods or drought along the Peace River. It would flood a 50-mile stretch of the river from Fort St. John to near Hudson's Hope.

• The Ontario Lottery and Gaming wants to build a new entertainment center to more than triple the size of its casino operations in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Proposed is a 5,000-seat "privately funded multipurpose entertainment center" to be larger than those at the province's Casino Rama and Casino Windsor.

Jim Fox can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Clearwater Central Catholic tops Dunedin Spring Tournament host in extra innings

Clearwater Central Catholic tops Dunedin Spring Tournament host in extra innings

DUNEDIN — After losing a four-run lead thanks to a bad sixth inning, it would have been easy for Clearwater Central Catholic to fold against Dunedin in the final of the 49th annual Dunedin Spring Tournament. But quality relief pitching from Gar...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

ST. PETERSBURG — Roughly four hours before taking the field against his former team Friday, Rays outfielder Denard Span spoke admirably about the Minnesota Twins, their organization in general, even hometown icon Joe Mauer.But business is busin...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

BRANDON — Ryan McDonagh blocks shots. He competes for pucks in the corners and wins those battles. He moves the puck up the ice well. He can join the rush. He can shoot from the blue line. He kills penalties."It was a great pickup by (Lightning...
Updated: 2 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 20

Friday’s scoreboardSoftballSpringstead 15, Central 0
Updated: 2 hours ago
St. Pete says discharge never reached the bay. Its own report says otherwise.

St. Pete says discharge never reached the bay. Its own report says otherwise.

ST. PETERSBURG — The city said not one of the 266,000 gallons of reclaimed water released on Jan. 18 reached Tampa Bay.There was no mention of the waste released from the Northeast Water Reclamation Facility ever reaching the bay in the city’s notice...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts

Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts

Nicole Leary and Taylor Redington stood outside St. Petersburg High School on Friday morning with parents and protesters who had gathered with bullhorns and signs. In a few minutes they would lead about 70 students on a walk to City Hall, joining oth...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Deputies: Woman in road rage incident targeted ... a school bus?

Deputies: Woman in road rage incident targeted ... a school bus?

TAMPA — Deputies are searching for a woman accused of blocking a special needs school bus with her car, getting out and banging and kicking on the bus door until she broke the glass.And there were four children inside, deputies said, as she shouted a...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

BRANDON – Devils top defenseman Sami Vatanen had not traveled to Tampa as of Friday afternoon, according to coach John Hynes, and his availability for Game 5 Saturday against the Lightning is in doubt.Hynes, however, did not rule out Vatan...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

TAMPA — Private developers would bear much of the cost of a new Rays stadium in Ybor City under a plan Hillsborough County officials are putting together.Developers would benefit by cashing in on commercial, retail and other construction around a ne...
Updated: 5 hours ago
St. Pete police search for missing 20-year-old woman

St. Pete police search for missing 20-year-old woman

ST. PETERSBURG — Officers are searching for a 20-year-old woman who they believe to be missing and who could be in danger.Kayla Brandi Boone was last seen at about 11 p.m. Thursday in the 2700 block of Fourth Street S, according to St. Petersburg pol...
Updated: 5 hours ago