Who’s afraid of the public postal service? Workers respond as Canada Post begins conversion from door-to-door delivery

Written by Toni MacAfee on April 12, 2014

CPOn February 20, Canada Post announced the 11 communities as the first sites to be converted from door-to-door delivery to community mailboxes.

Two Atlantic Canada communities are included on the list: Bedford and Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia. Both communities are part of the Halifax Regional Municipality. According to Canada Post, 9,950 addresses are slated to lose their door-to-door delivery, including over 500 business points of call. And while Canada Post appears to be proceeding full-steam ahead, opposition to their ill-conceived plans continues to grow.

Postal workers in communities across the country are holding public town hall meetings and hosting information tables in malls, farmers markets, and other community events where the cutbacks have been openly discussed. Judging from the feedback we have received, it’s clear that the Canadian public are opposed to the cuts announced by Canada Post.

Canada Post and the Conservative government seem to have forgotten that our public postal service belongs to Canadians. How Canada Post operates and what services it provides should be determined by its shareholders, the public. The fate of this successful public institution should not be left to Canada Post or the federal government to mismanage and plunder.

As part of its “plan”, Canada Post says it will hold public consultations in the communities slated for services cuts. However, as postal workers, we know all too well what “consultation” means to Canada Post; for Canada Post, consultation is anything but meaningful or productive. If they actually wanted to consult with Canadians, they ought to proceed with the Canada Post Service Charter Review which was scheduled to happen this year.

The reality is that neither Canada Post nor the Conservative government want to hear from Canadians about these cuts in service because they know they are neither supported nor wanted by Canadians. The “public consultation” Canada Post CEO Deepak Chopra claims occurred in 46 communities prior to their December 11 announcement was by invitation only. We have learned since then that in many of these communities, local levels of government and even some Members of Parliament were not included in these “public consultations”.

Canada Post has a requirement under the Canadian Postal Service Charter to consult with communities:

“Where Canada Post plans to change delivery methods Canada Post will communicate, either in person or in writing, with affected customers and communities at least one month in advance to explain decisions and explore options that address customer concerns.”

The federal government and Conservative MPs are ignoring the needs and interests of their own constituents rather than holding Canada Post accountable for its actions. Instead of toeing the party line for their political leader, these MPs should realize that they are elected by the people in their ridings, not by Stephen Harper. Ignoring the desires of their constituents will come with a price.

As Canada Post moves forward with their plans, resistance continues to mount as pressure to reverse the cuts grows from all levels of government. Large and small, municipalities across the country are passing resolutions opposed to the cuts. Over 20 city councils have adopted resolutions and many more are examining ways of diminishing the negative impacts of these plans on their constituents. Cities such as Charlottetown, Antigonish, Miramichi, Dieppe, and larger cities such as Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver have all adopted resolutions opposing the cuts.

The louder and more sustained the opposition, the harder it will be for the federal government to ignore. Make sure your voice is heard by doing one or all of the following:

• Sign a petition;
• Call, write, or visit your MP, MLA, city council, Mayor and let them know you oppose the cuts;
• Contact the CUPW Local in your community and offer to assist in the campaign;
• Write Canada Post and voice your opposition;
• Put a sign in your window or a lawn sign in your yard;
• Attend a town hall;
• Stay up to date on upcoming events in your community so that you can participate and lend your voice to the growing opposition.

Canada Post and the Conservative government need to be held accountable for putting our public postal service at risk. They cannot ignore the real owners of our postal service – the Canadian public – and the only way to ensure they hear us is to send our message loud and clear through our collective actions. Canadians are saying they want expanded services not less services. We must demand open and transparent consultations on the future of Canada Post.

Keep up to date at on the Save Canada Post campaign at www.cupw.ca or follow on twitter @cupw

Toni MacAfee is the Education and Organization Officer with the Atlantic Region chapter of the CUPW.

First published by the Halifax Media Co-op’s The Tide, March 2014, Vol. 6, No. 2.

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