Canada Post

Postal Strike/Lockout Truce ?

Canada Post has withdrawn the 72 day notice and has agreed to a 30 day extension. But whether this will end with binding arbitration or not is still being debated, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers claiming they oppose arbitration in their latest statement.

This means that mail will be delivered today and until further notice. But I will post updates to this blog if need be.

Postal Update And More

It appears that we will be getting our mail delivered on Friday. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has refused arbitration and Canada Post had delayed the lockout until noon, Monday the 11th of July, 2016.

The other carriers have been reporting a boom in business so it is obvious that most of the e-commerce retailers have already taken preemptive action to keep their parcel deliveries flowing. And as I’ve mentioned in previous entries, most people will likely see no significant delays in their parcel deliveries.

I will update this blog with new information if the situation changes, of course. So don’t forget to pop on by over the next few days.

By the way, a new Parliamentary petition has been created to ask the federal government to raise their de minimis threshold on postal imports from $20 to $200 (in Canadian funds).

At the moment postal shipments valued at less than $20 in Canadian funds are exempt from duties and taxes. And this petition calls for shipments to be valued at less than $200 in Canadian funds to be free of duties and taxes, in response to a study commissioned by eBay that I had mentioned in a previous post.

I have signed the petition and hope that you will sign it too before the October 14th, 2016, when the petition closes.

Canada Post Issues Lockout Notice For July 8th

Canada Post has issued a 72 hour lockout notice to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and have notified Canadian mail order retailers to use their courier services.

If this lockout occurs people who have their shipments sent to their local store for pickup will likely notice no change because those parcels are usually delivered to these stores with regular shipments of merchandise at retailers (like Sears.ca and Staples).

Neither will customers of retailers that have multiple carriers like Amazon.ca, chapters.indigo.ca and Old Navy Canada.

According to Canada Post it appears that their major e-commerce retailers have decided to go with other carriers resulting in a 75% drop in parcels processed at their plants ; “The number of parcels arriving at our largest plants via transport trucks has declined to the point where there often are not enough parcels to last an entire processing shift”.

Perhaps the postal banking and seven day parcel delivery services proposed by the Union might help but a lockout doesn’t seem prudent because it simply causes smaller retailers to be exposed to the services offered by the other carriers.

In regards to imports by mail, unfortunately some importers will have their parcels delayed until the lock-out is over. And others will be subjected to significant customs processing fees, like customers of UPS.

Some American retailers like Amazon.com and Sheet Music Plus do offer customs processing services through alternative couriers so try purchasing from those retailers first. Foreign retailers that offer this service usually add taxes and customs fees during their checkout procedure and mention that this service is available in their shipping and handling policies.

By the way, if you’re thinking of traveling soon you might want to obtain your new or renewed passport directly from a Service Canada or Passport Office. This will cost more because of a pick up fee but it would bypass some of the delays associated to the lockout.

Canadian Postal Strike Update

Negotiations are continuing in-between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, the later saying they will not give notice for a strike for now.

The Union is currently seeing higher yearly wage increases, the current offer being approximately 0.75% according to the Union, and other concessions including an agreement by Canada Post to fulfill their obligation to keep a minimum of 493 retail outlets open and the expansion of parcel deliveries on weekends.

I think the latter is something they should consider. It would be advantageous for online retailers like amazon.ca and chapters.indigo.ca to have their parcels delivered on weekends and to have a stable amount of retail outlets for their customers to use for returns and programs like FlexDelivery. And i’d definitely like to have these options, as a customer.

The Union is also proposing the introduction of Postal Banking at the Canada Post retail outlets, which would definitely be advantageous for some retailers.

I also think this is a good idea because some smaller communities that are serviced by Canada Post outlets are not serviced by a bank or financial institution. But i’m guessing this program might be some ways off because of the agreements some retailers may have with banks in regards to ATMs and credit card services. For example, one can find Bank of Montreal ATMs in some Rexall stores and one can find Royal Bank of Canada ATMs in Shopper’s Drug Mart stores.

I will of course post updates over the next few days in regards to these subject, so stay tuned.

eBay Wants Changes In Duties

A study published by the CD Howe Institute is the latest attempt by eBay to get the Canadian government to consider raising the duty free thresholds.

Most postal shipments valued at under $20 and gift shipments valued at under $60 (in Canadian funds) that are imported into Canada are not subject to duties and taxes. And this eBay commissioned report studies the possible effects of a hike of this threshold to $80, $100 and $200 (in Canadian funds).

Apparently the authors of this study have found “that an increase of the DMT in Canada will be fiscally neutral or even positive for the federal government” and that such an increase would “likely to yield a net economic benefit for Canada”.

The American threshold was raised from $200 to $800 (in American funds) last February so hopefully the government will consider a higher threshold, reducing a need for paperwork for eBay sellers and Amazon Marketplace merchants outside of Canada. But the study does not include information in regards to the impact of these changes to Canadian retailers so the government would likely need to commission a report on the issue as well.

For additional information on importing music by mail you can either click here to read my article on saving by importing films and music or click here for the official information issued by the Canadian Borders Services Agency.

Shipping Deadlines

Today is the last day to ship regular parcels out to Canadian addresses for December 24th, according to Canada Post. And the last day to send a parcel Xpresspost or Priority is on December 22nd, conservatively, although I would do it on or prior to December 21st myself.

You will also have until December 17th to send out cards/gift cards by regular letter mail, December 18th if its destination is within the province. But Amazon.ca also has an option to send gift cards express by December 21st.

December 17th would likely also be the last day to get physical gift cards shipped from chapters.indigo.ca and Sears.ca.

The above mentioned retailers also send gift cards by email, if it’s more of your thing or you happened to have forgotten, along with iTunes Canada and Newegg.ca.