A Look into the Canada Post Corporation Act

The Canada Post Operation Act and how it relates to the contemporary affairs of the Canadian Post Office.

It is puzzling that the Universal Service Obligation is omitted in the Act but clearly defined in the Canadian Postal Service Charter. The Charter states that delivery cost is to be uniform across Canada and is to be five days a week — though Lisa Raitt, the Minister of Transport, has suggested that delivery days is under review and may be reduced.(1)

It is surprising that although Canada Post is to be arms-length from the Government, the Act points to a strong amount of Federal control. It states that the Corporation shall comply with such directives as the Minister may give to it. These directives do not need to publicly stated and in reality is considered confidential between both parties. The Postal Transformation Project highlights this ambiguity. It is not clear whether Canada Post acted under its own business plan, or was rushed to enact one that was directed by the Minister responsible for Canada Post.

The Act gives the Minister power to appoint the board of directors. If the Minister so wishes, the board of directors can be occupied by those who support the ideology of the Minister, people who align with a certain political party, or can be a form of patronage. They may also lack the necessary skills, experience and training for such a large and complex company. Moya Greene, ex-CEO of Canada Post complained that these type of appointments has hindered Canada Post.(2)

It also gives Employees the ability to own shares of the Corporation, but cannot collectively have more than 10% and do not have the right to vote. This part of the Act has never been implemented.

The Act stipulates that the Government has a set borrowing limit of $500 million dollars for Canada Post. Cabinet can override this if there is a need. There is no requirement for this override to be brought before Parliament or discussed publicly for approval. However, additional funds issued by Cabinet must be repaid. If not, the issue has to be brought before Parliament.

(1)See the CBC article by Alison Crawford: Cash-strapped Canada Post weighs future of mail delivery
(2)Canada Post: A Blue Print For Change Sept. 2. 2008. Pg. 41

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