Canada Post mailboxes along Franklin Avenue in Yellowknife. Hiroshi Tateishi/Dreamstime
As Northwest Territories evacuees anxiously await when they will be able to return home, or have recently returned home, several are wondering what is happening to their mail.
Canada Post’s “red alert” for Yellowknife was changed to a “yellow alert” on Monday afternoon, meaning mail delivery operations had resumed in the city but Canada Post said there may be delays due to poor air quality. On Tuesday, it lifted all alerts for the city and Colville Lake saying normal operations had resumed.
Red alerts remain in place for Fort Smith, Enterprise, Hay River and Kátł’odeeche First Nation, which are still under evacuation order, meaning mail delivery is suspended for those communities.
“We understand the importance of postal services to our customers in those communities and we are working to resume regular daily mail delivery as soon as possible,” Canada Post stated in an email.
The postal service had said letter mail and parcels destined for NWT locations impacted by wildfires were being held securely at a facility in Edmonton.
Canada Post announced on August 31 that all eligible residents affected by wildfires in the NWT, with the postal codes X0E or X1A, can sign up for a mail forwarding service free of charge for up to 12 months. Impacted residents have until September 29 to register.
You can register online (Canada Post says no fee will be charged to your credit card) or go to a post office with government-issued photo ID. Proof of authorization is required to request the service on behalf of another person.
The postal service said eligible residents that are staying at a community centre, shelter, or hotel can access the free mail forwarding service by visiting a Canada Post corporate post office location.
It noted it may take several days before the service take effects and any mail being held since the evacuation may not be able to reach you right away.
Eligible residents who purchased mail forwarding before August 30 can contact Customer Service to request a refund online at canadapost.ca/support or by calling 1-866-607-6301.
Mail forwarding does not include parcel deliveries. Canada Post said to have parcels delivered to another location, customers can use flex delivery.
In a statement earlier this month, Amazon said it would communicate directly with customers in affected areas regarding any changes to expected deliveries. It added the company’s customer service is available 24/7.
“The safety of our customers, employees and partners is our first priority.”
Delivery company Intelcom said all deliveries are on hold until evacuation orders are lifted, and independent delivery contractors in the area have been evacuated for their safety.
It said packages are secure at Intelcom’s station in Edmonton awaiting clearance for delivery or possible return to shippers, depending on when evacuation orders are lifted.
“We are monitoring the situation closely, with a focus on security.”