Canada Post halts deliveries to 220 senior and disabled residents due to ‘health and safety concerns’

No mail services for a week at Nicholson Tower in Vancouver’s West End, apparently due to suite fumigation

By: Karin Larsen May 17, 2018 Source:

Mail delivery to the 220 disabled and low income residents of Nicholson Tower in Vancouver’s West End stopped over a week ago. (Mael Thebault/CBC)

A blind and senior resident of a West End highrise is fuming over the stoppage of mail delivery to his building over a week ago.

Colin Rolston says Canada Post stopped delivering to the 220 suites in Nicholson Tower on May 10 because one or two of the apartments were being fumigated for bed bugs.

“That’s a shocker,” he said. “Since when does a treatment for bed bugs or other pests prevent the post office from delivering mail to over 200 people?”

A notice posted at the Nicholson Tower at 1115 Nelson notifies the 220 residents that mail delivery stopped on May 10 due to ‘health and safety concerns.’ (Colin Rolston)

Nicholson Tower provides affordable housing for low income and disabled people and seniors.

Rolston only found out about the mail issue when a neighbor mentioned the notice taped to a window near the front door.

“I had to find it, take a photo and blow it up to read it, otherwise I wouldn’t have known at all,” he said. “For me, it’s not bad … but there’s a lot of old folks who live here and who get their cheques in the mail.”

Rolston said when he phoned Canada Post he was told he could pick up his mail between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Canada Post depot in East Vancouver, five kilometers away. 

A notice of pesticide use is posted outside one of the Nicholson Tower apartments. (Colin Rolston)

He questions whether the situation at Nicholson Tower truly constitutes a “health and safety concern” as Canada Post has categorized it.

“If it were a health and safety issue, none us us would be here. We’d all be locked out. Is it really so bad that a carrier can’t come and drop off the mail?”

Canada Post spokeswoman Hayley Magermans told CBC in an emailed statement that “as an employer, we have the responsibility to ensure our employees’ workplace is safe.”

The non-profit that runs Nicholson Tower said a manager tried to collect the mail for the entire building earlier Thursday but was unable to because of the requirement to show ID.

“The first step is to make sure it gets to our residents who are waiting for those benefits cheques,” said Trudi Shymka of the Bloom Group. “Then the next step is to resolve with Canada Post.”

Shymka says Nicholson Tower undergoes pest control periodically, but that it has never affected mail delivery in the past. 

Entrance to Nicholson Tower which contains 220 studio and one bedroom suites reserved for low income seniors and people with disabilities. (Mael Thebault/CBC)