Canada Post closes loophole for free Amazon shipping in Nunavut

Residents in rural communities were turning to the loophole to avoid particularly high grocery costs


Canada Post has cracked down on a loophole that allowed people in Nunavut to get free shipping on Amazon orders.

Residents had been using this workaround to take advantage of more affordable grocery items on Amazon versus what’s offered by local grocers. However, Canada Post announced on April 10th that it would begin enforcing its long-held return-to-sender policy.

Previously, residents of small Nunavut communities would take a real postal code, like ‘XOC OGO’ in Rankin Inlet, and change one digit to become an incorrect postal code (in this case, making it ‘XOC OG1’). Despite this inaccuracy, Canada Post would still bring the packages to the community in question and leave them in the recipient’s P.O. Box. This is important because Iqaluit is the only Nunavut community that qualifies for free shipping with Amazon Prime.

With that option being removed, residents are expressing concern that they’ll have to turn to more expensive options for groceries. For example, Amanda Eecherk, a 42-year-old mother in Rankin Inlet, told CBC News that a can of tomatoes would cost her $10 at a local grocer, but she has been able to get almost 10 cans for the same price through Amazon.

She added that the postal code loophole let her circumvent steep Amazon delivery fees to have the cans sent to her. Without it, the delivery fees can reach as high as $56.97 for just two cans of soup.

Canada Post, for its part, told CBC News that putting incorrect addresses on packages only slows down the mailing system for everyone because they have to take extra time to sort through them. Canada Post has been facing financial difficulties. Canada Post also says it suffered a $748 million loss before tax last year, issuing a warning that changes would need to be made to improve its financial situation.

Ultimately, though, this situation just highlights how underserved smaller communities can be. While the whole country deals with rising grocery costs, rural areas like those in Nunavut are hit especially hard, and it’s unclear what residents will do now that the Amazon loophole has been closed.

Source: CBC News

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