Despite growing opposition to Canada Post’s Five Point Plan that would leave Canada the only country in the G7 without door-to-door delivery, the elimination of door-to-door delivery was announced to start in the fall of 2014 on Feb. 20th.
The Five Point Plan includes the largest single increase in postal rates from 63 cents to $1.00 for a stamp to mail a letter within Canada, outsourcing of work from career-based living wage jobs to a largely part-time low paid workforce with a higher turnover.
Municipalities, small business, seniors groups, accessible community advocates and the labour movement have all come out in solid opposition to the plan, which is an unnecessary move coming prior to a national strategic review of Canada Post set to occur this year.
The national strategic review involves the federal government striking a committee that would listen to all stakeholders; every group and everyone interested has the opportunity to offer input on what the national public service that Canada Post offers should look like. They are supposed to also look at mail volumes, projections and financial realities for the Crown corporation. This is how Canada Post’s mandate is supposed to be maintained. The Five Point Plan fundamentally changes what this public service looks like without the usual opportunity for Canadians to have their say.
Instead of the process mandated in the Canada Post Act, allowing a government appointed committee to review the status of the Crown corporation and listen to Canadians, Canada Post has commissioned a report from the Conference Board of Canada, to which Canada Post CEO Deepak Chopra is on the board of directors.
The Conference Board report was off the mark by over $300 million in their financial projections for 2012, estimating $250 million in losses, which in reality was $54 million in profit. Given that their projections were off so dramatically in the very first year, how can anyone accept the projected losses of 2020 as anything more than fear mongering. This questionable report is what Canada Post CEO and its extremely large upper management team (21 vice presidents) have used to justify the changes with the postal service and is the basis for the Harper Government spokespeople and MPs’ speaking points.
The cities announced for dismantling of door-to-door delivery in the fall of 2014 are Calgary, Fort McMurray, Winnipeg, Oakville, Ottawa, Rosemere, Lorraine, Bois-des-filion, Charlemagne, Repentigny and Halifax. With a total of around 100,000 houses included in this list it represents only part of the cities listed.
Postal workers are encouraging Canadians to share their stories on what their letter carrier means to them and how service cuts and cost increases affect them by contacting their local city councilors, Mayors, MPs, newspaper editors, all to continue this debate and end Canada Post’s planned deterioration of the postal service.
Ruth Breen is a Fredericton-based postal worker.