postal

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.

Canada Post To Phase Out Door-To-Door Deliveries

Canada Post has unveiled a five-point action plan and unfortunately this means people will loose their door-to-door deliveries, which will be phased out over five years.

Parcels and letters requiring signatures will continue to be delivered door-to-door and more franchised postal outlets are planned. But an estimated 5 million Canadians will loose their regular weekday door-to-door postal deliveries and will receive their mail from community mailboxes instead.

The Future of Canada Post

Having incurred a loss of 100 million in the previous three months, Canada Post is thinking about introducing community boxes to more neighbourhoods where door to door home deliveries are the norm.

Though mostly attributed to equipment upgrades, this loss has resulted in a public consultation in regards to what measures can be taken to address the reduction of letter mail, which was once the corporation`s bread and butter before the internet.

E-mails and paperless billing have pretty much eliminated the need for  weekday letter deliveries for most people in the larger cities of Canada. But there remains a need for parcel deliveries, especially during the Christmas season.

Personally I’ve had very few problems with my community mailbox, other than the rare lock freezing in January and February. But I can see why some people would like to keep their home delivery.

The handicapped and seniors probably prefer to have their mail delivered so they don’t need to go out in bad weather and risk heat stroke, frostbites and injuries related to falls or smog.

I’m guessing these people will probably be eligible for a compassionate exemption programme and will keep getting their mail delivered at their door. But I think community mailboxes should work for most.

In regards to a reduction in letter mail deliveries, Canada Post had stated last February to the Canadian Press that it would continue deliveries weekdays, regardless of the rumours in the press that these would be reduced from five to three deliveries a week.

Whether they choose to reduce their letter deliveries or not  it makes sense for them to keep delivering mail to community mailboxes that receive parcels, so I’m guessing that deliveries at urban and sub-urban community mailboxes will remain unchanged for a while.

If there are any changes or news related to these deliveries I will an update on this blog.