Business, Finance & Economics

Would you pay a dollar to send a letter?

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Credit:

Chris Wattie/Reuters

A Canada Post employee delivers mail in Ottawa December 11, 2013.

A stamp.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

You lick it and stick it, pop your letter in a mailbox and off it goes.

But how often do you send mail these days? If your answer is like most of ours, it's less than you used to.

And that's the problem. We pay our bills online, we send e-vites for parties, we send e-cards for birthday. We rarely mail things. And in Canada that has sent the cost of stamps skyrocketing as of Monday.

A single first class stamp, what you'd use to send a letter, now costs a Canadian dollar — roughly 91 US cents. That's a 35 percent jump in price and nearly double the 49-cent cost of a US first class stamp.

So are Canadians storming their post offices, declaring that a loonie for a stamp is lunacy? Not so much.

“Occasionally my kids send letters to their grandmother, but that's about it,” said one Toronto resident.

Canada Post gave notice of the big price rise in December as part of a plan to reduce deepening losses.

“A Canadian family will send about two envelopes a month. So the increase will probably generate about $5 a year,” said Anick Losier, a spokesperson with Canada Post.

At the same time, it also revealed plans over a five-year period to phase out door-to-door mail delivery to the millions of Canadian homes that still get it.

“Generally, Canadians understand that their own habits of using the postal service have changed," Losier said. "One thing we heard loud and clear before announcing our action plan is that most Canadians have no interest whatsoever in starting to pay for Canada Post through their taxes. The revenue we generate pays for our operations and we need to continue doing that.”

Even with this week's big price jump, Canada doesn't come close to having the world's most expensive postage.

Some of the countries with higher stamp fees include Peru, Jamaica, Japan, Denmark and the United Kingdom.

But the winner is Norway.

At the equivalent of $1.68, Norway has the most expensive stamp in the world.

As for Canadians, they aren't mailing any letters of complaint over their stamp costs. They aren't mailing much of anything.

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