Matt Stockburn already knew paper supplies were running short when the Toronto city clerk’s office, where he works as a manager, received a notice from its envelope supplier to expect shipment delays.
Long-term disruptions to the pulp and paper industry coupled with more recent supply-chain issues triggered a global shortage of envelopes this year. It was a matter of time before an institution as reliant on paper correspondence as a municipal government would feel the effect. “For the envelopes, it really wasn’t until June, when all of a sudden we seemed to be facing some shortages,” said Stockburn.
For the Toronto clerk’s office, a scarcity of #10 windowed envelopes—standard for business mail—put its legislative mandate to inform residents about city business that affects them at risk. To meet those obligations, it sends about 14,000 pieces of mail each month. More broadly, the supply shortfall raises questions about why many institutions still rely on snail mail to communicate critical information to the public and clients.