Hamilton wants to “regulated not prohibit” Canada Post mail boxes, says lawyer

News Jun 04, 2015 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

Hamilton’s roads and maintenance bylaw only regulates how Canada Post installs its new community mailboxes, says the city’s solicitor Justyna Hidalgo.

It doesn’t, Hidalgo argued in Ontario Superior Court June 4, prohibit the mailboxes from city land.

“We can not prohibit,” said Hidalgo, during the third day of a hearing that has Canada Post challenging the validity of the city’s recently approved bylaw. “We can regulate.”

The city lawyer said the bylaw was established  provide further consultations with Canada Post and other agencies on where to locate their equipment.

But Whitten said Canada Post has been installing community mail boxes since 1980 with very little problems until Hamilton introduced its bylaw.

“The city had a voice until it had desired not to speak,” said Whitten.

The bylaw identifies a $200 permit fee for each community mailbox Canada Post wants to install. It also provides municipal oversight to the location and installation of the boxes. The city included a four-month moratorium in the bylaw after the company pays for the first 500 boxes.

Canada Post’s lawyer, John Laskin, had argued that Hamilton was “asserting control” over Canada Post, a crown agency that follows its own rules approved by Parliament.

But Hidalgo argued municipalities have a long history of establishing regulations on its own properties.  She said cities have the authority to approve bylaws for its roads. The bylaw was passed for the protection of property, and to promote safety, she said.

Hidalgo argued the bylaw applies to all agencies, such as cable, telephone and other utility companies, not just Canada Post. But Whitten said those are all private agencies.

Laskin had argued that a municipal bylaw would delay Canada Post’s installation of its mailboxes across the mountain.  By the end of 2014 100,000 addresses had been converted to super mailboxes across Canada, with another 900,000 set for completion by the end of 2015.

But Hildago says there would be no delay for Canada Post.  She said it is “moot” now since Canada Post continues to install the mailboxes, even during court hearing. The city has filed a restraining order against Canada Post to halt the installation.

“(The bylaw) has not stopped anything,” she said. “The installations are continuing.”

Hidalgo attempted to argue that Canada Post has already installed mailboxes in “unsafe” sites, but Whitten cut her off. Despite photographic evidence provided by the city, Whitten said the “sample size” was not enough to state Canada Post is locating the mailboxes in precarious locations.

“There are safety issues,” said Hidalgo.

“According to you,” responded Whitten, who questioned the city solicitor often during her presentation.

“According to our engineer,” she said.

Hamilton’s case is being watched by other municipalities since it could have broader implications.

The postal workers’ union has also launched a lawsuit against Canada Post in Federal Court to declare the cancellation of door-to-door delivery unconstitutional.

Whitten has indicated he will reserve judgement on his decision, until June 10.

Hamilton wants to “regulated not prohibit” Canada Post mail boxes, says lawyer

News Jun 04, 2015 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

Hamilton’s roads and maintenance bylaw only regulates how Canada Post installs its new community mailboxes, says the city’s solicitor Justyna Hidalgo.

It doesn’t, Hidalgo argued in Ontario Superior Court June 4, prohibit the mailboxes from city land.

“We can not prohibit,” said Hidalgo, during the third day of a hearing that has Canada Post challenging the validity of the city’s recently approved bylaw. “We can regulate.”

The city lawyer said the bylaw was established  provide further consultations with Canada Post and other agencies on where to locate their equipment.

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But Whitten said Canada Post has been installing community mail boxes since 1980 with very little problems until Hamilton introduced its bylaw.

“The city had a voice until it had desired not to speak,” said Whitten.

The bylaw identifies a $200 permit fee for each community mailbox Canada Post wants to install. It also provides municipal oversight to the location and installation of the boxes. The city included a four-month moratorium in the bylaw after the company pays for the first 500 boxes.

Canada Post’s lawyer, John Laskin, had argued that Hamilton was “asserting control” over Canada Post, a crown agency that follows its own rules approved by Parliament.

But Hidalgo argued municipalities have a long history of establishing regulations on its own properties.  She said cities have the authority to approve bylaws for its roads. The bylaw was passed for the protection of property, and to promote safety, she said.

Hidalgo argued the bylaw applies to all agencies, such as cable, telephone and other utility companies, not just Canada Post. But Whitten said those are all private agencies.

Laskin had argued that a municipal bylaw would delay Canada Post’s installation of its mailboxes across the mountain.  By the end of 2014 100,000 addresses had been converted to super mailboxes across Canada, with another 900,000 set for completion by the end of 2015.

But Hildago says there would be no delay for Canada Post.  She said it is “moot” now since Canada Post continues to install the mailboxes, even during court hearing. The city has filed a restraining order against Canada Post to halt the installation.

“(The bylaw) has not stopped anything,” she said. “The installations are continuing.”

Hidalgo attempted to argue that Canada Post has already installed mailboxes in “unsafe” sites, but Whitten cut her off. Despite photographic evidence provided by the city, Whitten said the “sample size” was not enough to state Canada Post is locating the mailboxes in precarious locations.

“There are safety issues,” said Hidalgo.

“According to you,” responded Whitten, who questioned the city solicitor often during her presentation.

“According to our engineer,” she said.

Hamilton’s case is being watched by other municipalities since it could have broader implications.

The postal workers’ union has also launched a lawsuit against Canada Post in Federal Court to declare the cancellation of door-to-door delivery unconstitutional.

Whitten has indicated he will reserve judgement on his decision, until June 10.

Hamilton wants to “regulated not prohibit” Canada Post mail boxes, says lawyer

News Jun 04, 2015 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

Hamilton’s roads and maintenance bylaw only regulates how Canada Post installs its new community mailboxes, says the city’s solicitor Justyna Hidalgo.

It doesn’t, Hidalgo argued in Ontario Superior Court June 4, prohibit the mailboxes from city land.

“We can not prohibit,” said Hidalgo, during the third day of a hearing that has Canada Post challenging the validity of the city’s recently approved bylaw. “We can regulate.”

The city lawyer said the bylaw was established  provide further consultations with Canada Post and other agencies on where to locate their equipment.

Related Content

But Whitten said Canada Post has been installing community mail boxes since 1980 with very little problems until Hamilton introduced its bylaw.

“The city had a voice until it had desired not to speak,” said Whitten.

The bylaw identifies a $200 permit fee for each community mailbox Canada Post wants to install. It also provides municipal oversight to the location and installation of the boxes. The city included a four-month moratorium in the bylaw after the company pays for the first 500 boxes.

Canada Post’s lawyer, John Laskin, had argued that Hamilton was “asserting control” over Canada Post, a crown agency that follows its own rules approved by Parliament.

But Hidalgo argued municipalities have a long history of establishing regulations on its own properties.  She said cities have the authority to approve bylaws for its roads. The bylaw was passed for the protection of property, and to promote safety, she said.

Hidalgo argued the bylaw applies to all agencies, such as cable, telephone and other utility companies, not just Canada Post. But Whitten said those are all private agencies.

Laskin had argued that a municipal bylaw would delay Canada Post’s installation of its mailboxes across the mountain.  By the end of 2014 100,000 addresses had been converted to super mailboxes across Canada, with another 900,000 set for completion by the end of 2015.

But Hildago says there would be no delay for Canada Post.  She said it is “moot” now since Canada Post continues to install the mailboxes, even during court hearing. The city has filed a restraining order against Canada Post to halt the installation.

“(The bylaw) has not stopped anything,” she said. “The installations are continuing.”

Hidalgo attempted to argue that Canada Post has already installed mailboxes in “unsafe” sites, but Whitten cut her off. Despite photographic evidence provided by the city, Whitten said the “sample size” was not enough to state Canada Post is locating the mailboxes in precarious locations.

“There are safety issues,” said Hidalgo.

“According to you,” responded Whitten, who questioned the city solicitor often during her presentation.

“According to our engineer,” she said.

Hamilton’s case is being watched by other municipalities since it could have broader implications.

The postal workers’ union has also launched a lawsuit against Canada Post in Federal Court to declare the cancellation of door-to-door delivery unconstitutional.

Whitten has indicated he will reserve judgement on his decision, until June 10.