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Canada Post under fire for new fee

A plan by Canada Post to charge developers $200 per home to install new community mailboxes has the new home building industry up in arms.

Dave Pfuetzner, VP of the Canadian Home Builders Association, says the additional charge being levied by Canada Post is unfair and punitive.

He says it amounts to an unfair charge against someone just because they choose to buy a new home.

Pfuetzner says community mailboxes were introduced back in the late 1980s as a cost saving measure by Canada Post."

Now they are saying that because of the 150,000 or 200,000 new developments being developed across Canada, they can't afford to put the boxes in any more," says Pfuetzner.

"They are saying new home developers, passed down to the buyers, are going to pay that $200 flat fee for their mailbox."

Pfuetzner says it is unfair that new homes registered after January 1, 2013, will be hit with the new charge when millions of Canadians who either have home delivery or currently utilize community mailboxes have never and will never have to pay that fee.

Canada Post says it is making the move after the corporation lost a record $327M in 2011.

"It's Canada Post's efforts to somehow line their pockets."

While Pfuetzner says the Canadian Home Builders Association is against the additional charge on principle, he takes exception to comments that $200 on a $300,000, $400,000 or $500,000 home is a drop in the bucket.

"They are eroding new housing affordability. BC did it to us when they decided to arbitrarily put the HST in," says Pfuetzner.

"All these things add up and developers and home builders have a lot of risk and a lot of expenses in order to make any profit what-so-ever.  So yes, $200 is a big deal along with every other fee or other cost or other increase that somehow can be justified."

Pfuetzner says his association has already written a strongly worded letter to MP Denis Lebel, the Minister responsible for Canada Post.

He says the other chapters across the country will be doing the same.

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