Canada Post is moving ahead with major changes to mail delivery in Canada, including the elimination of household mail delivery.
Canada Post's plan will see them eliminating household mail delivery and converting all delivery through a community mailbox system. This coast-to-coast transition is expected to take five years to complete, with the first neighbourhoods to be converted starting in the second half of 2014.
As part of a five point plan announced earlier today, Canada Post expects to reduce their workforce by between 6,000 and 8,000 positions. They also expect nearly 15,000 employees to retire or leave the company over the next five years.
The cost to deliver mail will also be taking a jump. Effective March 31, 2014, customers buying stamps in booklets or coils will now be paying 85 cents per stamp, with the cost of individual stamps now set at $1. This is part of a tiered pricing structure for Lettermail.
"Canada Post has a mandate to fund its operations with revenues from the sale of its products and services, rather than become a burden on taxpayers. With the increasing use of digital communication and the historic decline of Lettermail volumes, Canada Post has begun to post significant financial losses. If left unchecked, continued losses would soon jeopardize its financial self-sufficiency and become a significant burden on taxpayers and customers. In April 2013, a Conference Board of Canada study projected a financial loss of close to $1 billion by 2020 unless Canada Post makes fundamental changes to its business. A projection of that magnitude was directionally consistent with Canada Post's own projections," a Canada Post press release notes.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers quickly announced they were "extremely alarmed at this rash decision to gut public postal service for millions of Canadians", calling the decision "short-sighted and foolish."
"If this happens, it would be the end of an era for Canada Post," said Denis Lemelin, CUPW National President. "We recognize that Canada Post needs to change, but this is not the way."
"We are sure we are not alone in disagreeing with Canada Post's plan," said Lemelin. CUPW will stand with those people who resist the elimination of door-to-door delivery.
"We are extremely concerned that these changes will send Canada Post into a downward spiral," said Lemelin. "Furthermore, the skyrocketing stamp prices will make the postal service inaccessible to many people."
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business also voiced their concern over the massive price hikes at Canada Post.
“Introducing massive lettermail price hikes for residential and business consumers is not the way to rescue a failing government entity,” said Dan Kelly, CFIB president. “These hikes will have a significant impact on many small businesses that use the mail to connect with customers or invoice and pay suppliers.”
“While electronic communication has undoubtedly created financial pressures for Canada Post, ridiculous wage, benefit and pension entitlements are the real root causes of the problem,” added Kelly. “While the plan takes some baby steps on Canada Post’s cost structure, the corporation should be working far faster to address its wage and pension problems rather than driving more customers away from using its services through giant hikes. This should be a lesson for governments and public sector unions of the folly of ignoring massive unfunded pension liabilities and high wage structures.”