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Closure woes not unique to Canada Post

Facebook is the only way to know what’s open at any given time
Stewart Burnett is editor of Kivalliq News. Photo courtesy of Stewart Burnett

An intermittent but entertaining morning show in Rankin Inlet is watching Facebook for updates on if Canada Post is closed that day or not.

Early in the year, the post office would close frequently and post very late notices, often after it was supposed to be open, until Facebook commenters began to revolt.

We contacted Canada Post’s media relations office at that time, who said the issues were due to health protocols, staffing and weather.

Things seemed to quiet down for a while, but the local post office is back making waves on Rankin Inlet’s Facebook pages, as “unforeseen” issues kept it closed multiple times again last week.

“We don’t understand and we’re out of patience,” put one commenter succinctly. “Please raise the salary in order to retain staff that will show up daily.”

Dogpiling a federal agency can be fun, but being honest with ourselves, this issue isn’t limited to Canada Post in Rankin Inlet.

Businesses, restaurants, cabs, drop-in programs – they all seem to have frequent closures, posted the morning of or day before. It’s hard to know what’s going to be open in town unless you keep an eye on Facebook.

Only the community staples and essential services like the big grocery stores seem to have consistent and dependable hours.

It’s easy to hate on Canada Post specifically, but this culture of wonky hours, lack of dependability and the whims of managers is spread throughout the town.

Ultimately, this lack of dependability will hold growth back. Everything already takes longer in the North, and it really takes longer when local businesses and services flip a coin to see if they’re going to open each day.

“Northern time” is a part of the culture we all accept ­­­– where most informal events or meetings start late – and it even has benefits, encouraging a relaxed culture. But the randomness of whether these businesses and services are open at all is going too far.

Once bitten, twice shy, and at some point the average person is just going to give up on a business that doesn’t have consistent hours.

Maybe this is too southern a perspective, but in the words of U.S. President Joe Biden, “C’mon, man!”