A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service
Canada Post Stops Planned Service Cuts
Workers and Allies Continue Advocating for Restored Door Delivery
(This article first appeared in the May-June 2018 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine)
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), along with community allies across Canada, have consistently advocated for door delivery; keeping post offices open; new and expanded services, including postal banking; and the “greening” of Canada Post.
Despite public support for postal services, at the end of 2013, Canada Post announced a cost-cutting plan that included eliminating door delivery. They began making increased use of community mailboxes – delivering to cluster boxes that serve an entire neighborhood.
Community mailboxes came at great costs to the public – especially to seniors and people with disabilities – and at a cost to the environment, as many mail recipients drive to their mailboxes, which can be located far away. Many residents experienced increased mail thefts. Others had to trudge through snow or found snow had blocked access to the boxes entirely. Some cluster mailboxes were located on busy roads – where it was unsafe to stand or park – and others were not handicap accessible.
According to the CUPW, between 2014 and 2015 Canada Post ended door delivery for 830,000 homes. When the cuts were announced, CUPW and their allies jumped into action, launching a campaign to “Save Canada Post.” Along the way, they learned that Canada Post’s claims of mail decline were misleading and many rely on the postal service.
CUPW made Canada Post an election issue in 2015. That same year, Liberals in Parliament and the Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were elected “on a promise to restore door-to-door and to consult on a new vision for Canada Post,” said CUPW National President Mike Palecek.
In 2016, the government began a review of Canada Post. CUPW contributed recommendations at the beginning of this process. One of them was that Canada Post end its plan for community mailboxes and restore door delivery to homes that lost it. CUPW also urged the government to outline a vision for Canada Post that addresses climate change and expands service into postal banking.
The Canadian government delayed releasing the review for more than a year, finally doing so at the end of January 2018. The government declared the service cuts would no longer continue. However, they stopped short of agreeing to restore door delivery for the more than 800,000 homes that no longer have access.
While the government touted that they were “putting service to Canadians front and center,” Palecek said that with their review, the government “breaks the promise to restore door-to-door and gives the crown corporation little direction on some major issues.” (A crown corporation is an enterprise owned by the state, in this case, Canada.)
Public Services Minister Carla Qualtrough did not make a decision to restore postal banking. She did, however, order the board of directors to review sources of revenue in posts around the world. In many other countries, banking services are often important revenue generators.
In response, CUPW thanked supporters for helping stop the service cuts. They also declared they will continue fighting for the future of the public postal service during contract negotiations, which begin in December, and by working with allies.