Where is Canada Post headed under a Liberal Government?

There is angst among postal workers on what the future looks like under the auspices of a Liberal Government. Nobody knows where Canada Post is heading now that the Conservative vision of community mailboxes has been nixed.

A recent article by Don Pittis posted on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s website, Canadians must say if Canada Post is more precious than junk mail [ Oct 29, 2015] suggests that Canada Post is once again under analysis and a different set of changes could potentially be forthcoming. There is a brief open window, according to Pittis, to consult the Canadian people on what the future of Canada Post should be.

Pittis makes some very good points that the public needs to discuss.

Flyers and admail subsidize a portion of mail delivery. The removal of this medium would increase the cost of delivery to each household. It would be necessary to increase the cost of postage or the corporation to take a loss without flyers or admail.

The idea of alternate day delivery is up for discussion as well. This is not an easy task to fulfill. Canada Post presently does not have the extra room to store any mail in any of their centres for more than a day. Alternate day delivery requires Canada Post to increase their warehouse and logistic facilities all across Canada which could be very costly.

There are three big points that Mr. Pittis overlooked.

The first one is the potential sale of Canada Post. This was not a discussion point during the elections either. It was the previous Liberal Government that had begun prepping Canada Post for privatization and clearly demonstrated at their hiring of Moya Greene as the president. However, her business plan, combined with the 2008 recession, slowed down rather than accelerate privatization. Stephen Harper and his Conservative Government had proceeded with plans for privatization. One of the biggest hurdles he had to overcome was the problematic Canada Post pension plan. It had significant losses from the 2008 recession. This loss combined with the strategy to almost halve the workforce would devastate the defined pension plan. Future employee contributions would not be able to sustain pension obligations. The solution was to change it. Discussions were in the beginning stages on revising the pension plan when the Conservative Government was outed.

Will the Liberal Government stop the restructure of the defined pension plan? It is not known.

Another problem that the Liberal Government has to face is that of the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership deal. The deal severely limits Government state owned enterprises because TPP believes it gives them too great an advantage against private entities. Although the wording of the TPP is not clear and the details are not known, it points to the notion that Canada Post would have to be privatized.

Last of all, the collective agreement between the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and Canada Post expires January 31st, 2016. Will the Liberal Government fulfill its promise of better relations with employees, or will it legislate workers back to work imposing a new deal?

What is the future of Canada Post? The next six months to a year are going to be interesting.

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