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Maple Ridge postal workers protest at MP’s office

A postal worker delivers mail along 206th Street in Maple Ridge on Thursday. Canada Post will be phasing out home delivery over the next five years. - Colleen Flanagan/The News
A postal worker delivers mail along 206th Street in Maple Ridge on Thursday. Canada Post will be phasing out home delivery over the next five years.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan/The News

Four postal workers from Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows staged a quiet protest Friday to draw attention to the decision to phase out home mail delivery in Canada.

The group delivered a message to Member of Parliament Randy Kamp, with help from Santa Claus, who dropped by to support them.

The Crown corporation announced its plans last week, saying urban home delivery will come to an end over the next five years, making Canada the only G7 country to do so.

It blames the cuts on declining use of postal mail as households shift to online bill payments and other digital communication.

Canada Post’s revenue dropped $20 million in the first three quarters of 2013 compared with the same period last year.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers, however, believes replacing door-to-door delivery with community mailboxes is a “totally unnecessary measure” that will penalize millions, particularly the disabled and seniors.

It points out that financial statements for the past decade show that Canada Post has made a profit every year except 2011, when there was a strike.

Cindy McDonnell, a union spokesperson for the Pacific region, said Friday’s impromptu protest was meant to target the government and allowed them to share their grievances with Kamp.

These changes are not going to get reversed by Canada Post, she explained.

“It’s going to get changed by the Conservative party. The government needs to stop this. That’s why we are here,” she said while stationed at Kamp’s office.

On Wednesday, the union planned on delivering thousands of postcards from Canadians angry with the proposed cuts to the office of Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt, who is responsible for Canada Post.

It says rather than cut, Canada Post should innovate as have other countries, such as Australia and the U.K., which haven’t stopped home delivery.

They’ve cashed in on parcel delivery, as online shopping soars, and expanded postal financial services.

According to an annual report, Canada Post has seen double digit growth in parcel delivery, along with Purolator, which was bought by the Crown corporation in 1993.

The federal government, however, has no plans on intervening to stop the cuts and changes to Canada Post.

Kamp met with the postal workers for an hour Friday to “understand their concerns” and plans on sharing them with the minister responsible for Canada Post when he returns to Ottawa after Christmas.

“Canada Post is a Crown corporation that makes day-to-day operational decisions independent of government. Because our government’s priority is to protect Canadian taxpayers, we support their efforts to address a real problem that was clearly identified in a report from the Conference Board of Canada,” said Kamp.

That reported noted with mail volumes dropping by almost 25 per cent since 2008, Canada Post could face losses of $1 billion a year by 2020 without fundamental changes to its business model.

Kamp said his office has received little feedback on the proposed changes to Canada Post, including the planned cuts to home delivery.

 

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