The View From Here – The news of Canada Post’s imminent demise has been greatly exaggerated

Tom Henihan

For years, there has been a broad consensus that in the electronic age, mail delivery is quickly becoming obsolete.

Of course, people think in terms of personal mail, bills, bank statements and such when thinking of mail delivery and these have overwhelmingly gone over to electronic mail.

However, governments don’t pass back-to-work legislation for workers who are providing an obsolete service.

Considering the outcry by the business sector who lauded the government’s decision to pass the back-to-work legislation, it is apparent that Canada Post still has a lot of life left in the parcel delivery business.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business issued a statement saying it was happy that the Federal Government listened to people in the business sector who had deemed the postal strike as “an emergency for many small firms and for Canadian consumers.”

While the Internet has definitely replaced regular mail, it has also opened up even greater opportunities in the package delivery service.

With the growing trend of shopping online, the popularity of entities such as Amazon and online ordering of cannabis, package delivery must be at an all-time high and can look only more promising as things progress.

The strategy of staging rotating strikes as Christmas approaches is easy to understand, especially when the demands of the Canada Post workers are, at least on the face of it, reasonable: workplace safety and pay equity. Yet, Canada Post has been intransigent while purportedly negotiating these matters with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) over the past year.

I suspect that the management at Canada Post had also factored in the extreme likelihood that the government would force the postal employees back to work, so Canada Post had no need to bargain in good faith.

Normal mail service resumed on Tuesday November 27 following the Senate approval of Bill C-89.

However, the vote was far from unanimous at 53 to 25 against and 4 abstentions.

Some senators, including Senator Murray Sinclair, considered the legislation to be unconstitutional.

As a corporation, Canada Post is notoriously indifferent to the complaints of its customers, as it has always put its own profitability ahead of the needs and expectations of the public.

Mail delivery is a public service and as such, should not be driven by profit.

For government to push its crown corporations to generate profit while providing a public service is a form of hidden taxation.

We pay taxes in order to have services, so we don’t expect to be charged excessively when availing of those services.

Crown corporations that offer public services such as mail delivery should, at best, break even.

If Canada Post comes to the negotiating table with the same mercenary and dismissive attitude it offers its customers, it is no wonder that negotiations with CUPW remain at an impasse.

 

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