Canada Post centralization will mean slower deliveries to small communities

Steve Mertl
National Affairs Contributor
Daily Brew
Post office could be losing a billion dollars a year by 2020, report says

If you live in rural Canada, brace yourself for snail mail getting even slower.

Canada Post is moving mail sorting out of smaller communities and centralizing it in larger cities, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers told CBC News.

Union official Gord Fischer, the union's Prairie region national director, said posties are worried about the effect of the change on customers. Service is bound to be slower, he warned.

“Where they used to have overnight service in Brandon (Manitoba), within city mail, now of course it’s going to be in a lot of cases delayed,” said Fischer. “It’s going to have significant customer impact.”

The union, not surprisingly, is also worried about job cuts. But Canada Post spokesman John Caine told CBC News the jobs of existing employees are secure, though the workforce will shrink through attrition.

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“As we move forward, if someone leaves, chances are we won’t replace them,” Caine said.

All mail in local communities is expected to be delivered within two days, he said.

Canada Post is has been fighting a losing battle against declining mail volumes thanks to the popularity of email, web-based bill-paying and competition from private couriers.

A controversial report released last month by the Conference Board of Canada forecast the Crown corporation faces a $1-billion annual operating deficit by 2020 if it doesn't replace the revenue lost from private mail.

Canada Post welcomed the report but the union rejected its conclusions as inaccurate and said the agency had bankrolled its production.

[ Related: Canada Post forecasts billion-dollar annual losses by 2020 ]

Canada Post's problems mirror those of the larger U.S. Postal Service, which reported a US$1.9-billion second-quarter loss earlier this month, the Washington Post reported. It brought the loss for the first half of the fiscal year to US$3.2 billion.

The postal service's proposed cuts, including ending six-day mail delivery (which hasn't existed in Canada for decades), were blocked by Congress.