Snow has fallen, Halloween has passed, and it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. With Covid case numbers rising across the country, however, holiday shopping options are somewhat limited and many are opting out of travel this season.
In June, a Canada Post survey showed 48 per cent of Canadian shoppers plan to do their spending mostly or exclusively online this holiday season. The Crown Corporation is urging Canadians to shop earlier to plan for “a holiday season like no other,” said Rod Hart, Canada Post’s chief customer and marketing officer in a video message.
“Significant parcel volumes” could overwhelm delivery capacity and result in delays, he warned.
In preparation, Canada Post is scaling up. Across the country, the corporation is adding more than 4,000 seasonal employees to work in processing, transportation and delivery.
Though Canada Post couldn’t say how many people have been hired in the NWT, spokesperson Phil Legault confirmed retail locations in Yellowknife, Fort Smith, Hay River, Fort Simpson and Inuvik will be extending hours in the coming weeks. Canada Post will also be delivering on weekends in Hay River and Yellowknife “to help manage the volumes,” Legault said.
“Typically, the bulk of holiday parcels arrive in a short-term surge as Canadians do most of their online shopping within a short window close to Christmas,” he said. “Even with plans to upscale, add capacity and work with customers, a traditional holiday parcel surge combined with unprecedented volumes could overwhelm our capacity to process and deliver across the country.”
Legault explained that Canadian shopping habits have shifted dramatically in response to Covid. He said Canada Post’s plan for the season builds on what it has learned amid the pandemic so far.
“Throughout this unprecedented time, we have been working incredibly hard to keep our employees safe while following physical distancing measures as we serve our customers,” he said.