New Unaddressed Admail rules for community newspapers, slated to go into effect April 1, have been clarified by Canada Post.

In response to a letter from CCNA executive director Serge Lavoie, Canada Post confirmed that community newspapers will be subject to new eligibility guidelines. The criteria state that community newspapers must have a maximum ratio of 70 per cent advertising, including all inserts, to 30 per cent news, editorial, and community notices content. The newspaper must also serve the community in which it is published and its editorial content must be relevant to communities in which it is distributed.

The purpose of the new eligibility criteria, as confirmed in the letter, is to recognize community newspapers as an exemption within Canada Post’s Consumers’ Choice Program. In that program introduced in 1997, consumers may ask to have the delivery of advertising materials blocked from their residences or postal boxes. There are only a few acceptable exemptions. According to the letter, community newspapers not meeting the new eligibility criteria will not be exempted from the Consumers’ Choice Program but will still qualify for the Unaddressed Admail program.

There has been considerable confusion over the introduction of these criteria, according to CCNA’s Serge Lavoie. “When we first learned about them, we were initially told that they were part of a “printer’s error” and would be removed,” he said. “We were also told that clients had been advised of the upcoming changes in correspondence dated September 2000, but we couldn’t find evidence of this in our files or with any of the members we contacted. In fact, the mailing guide currently available on the Canada Post web site makes no mention of these criteria and a version distributed on CD-ROM in January lists them but doesn’t explain that they relate only to the Consumers’ Choice Program.”

“Given the potential for confusion at the local post office level, we asked for written clarification of the criteria so that we could pass that along to our members,” added Lavoie.

CCNA will continue to monitor the situation and welcomes any information or comments from members. Contact Serge Lavoie at 1-877-303-2262, ext. 26 or at .