postal

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.

Canada Post Update

New community mailboxes will be introduced to these communities this year :

Instead of nine individual square compartments, these feature sixteen individual rectangular compartments per mailbox so more addresses can be serviced per mailbox. And some mailboxes that don’t feature a mail slot and parcel compartments will have more individual compartments.

A picture of the new community mailboxes can be found in the Community Mailbox Backgrounder (PDF). Comments and questions in regards the new community mailbox will be accepted at feedback.canadapost.com.

By the way, you have until the end of this month to stock up on domestic “permanent” stamps at 63 cents. The domestic postage rate for letters under 30 grams with be 83 cents on April 1st in booklets, coils and panes and $1 per stamp when purchased by single unit.

Rates in general for domestic and international letter mail will be going up on April 1st, 2014. Light parcel rates had gone up in mid January.

Budget Day Goodies ?

Today is Budget Day in Ottawa. And the current government has been promising to address some issues related to the higher prices Canadians pay for certain products.

Canadians pay significantly more for certain products than the Americans and although some of the price differences can be attributed to tariffs, labour and transportation costs, much of the purchase price is pre-determined by the manufacturer.

“Country Pricing” has become the standard and unfortunately Canada’s prices have not been adjusted to match our dollar’s strength.

Some online retailers have done their best to match prices but Canadians were still forced to either import products from the states or pay higher prices at their local retailers.

I suspect that tariffs will be reduced or eliminated on certain products in this budget, perhaps on books, clothing, electronics and home appliances.

Those are the most imported products, especially on Black Friday. But I’m also hoping they will follow the recommendations in the February 2013 Senate Committee report of the US/Canada Price Gap  and raise the de minimis threshold for postal shipments from $20.

When you import most products by mail you are exempt from duties, fees and taxes if the product or products shipped are valued at less than $20 Canadian.

I’ve managed to save some money using they exemption. But many countries like the United States, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore had raised this minimum to US$100 in November 2011, enabling their citizens to avoid paying the hefty brokerage fees some couriers charge on parcels.

Brokerage fees have recently gone up in Canada so I’m hoping they will at least consider a CAN$50 threshold.

The other probabilities in the budget are reductions in credit card/banking fees, funding for an expansion of high speed internet into rural areas, and the unbundling of cable channels so I guess lots of Canadians will be watching this afternoon.

The budget broadcast will air on television and online on CPAC at 4PM Eastern. Details on the budget will also be made available on the Government’s Official Site after 4 PM Eastern.

Petition For Door To Door Delivery

A petition for Canada Post to keep door to door deliveries has been created on change.org and currently has over 120,000 signatures.

Click here for additional information on this petition.