Canadian postal services were saved by an agreement between Canada Post and the union representing carriers, but its future remains in doubt if the Crown corporation is not able to make key changes to ensure its viability into the future.
Concessions need to be made on both ends for the sake of Canadians and for the sake of Canada Post.
Postal services have sat in doubt during the summer months over disagreements between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers on pensions, pay equity issues and dealing with declining mail volumes.
A strike, or lock out, could be a deathblow to Canada Post. People have other options, from receiving and paying bills electronically to opting for private courier companies.
Canada Post is facing a decline in mail volume and increased pension obligations, while the unions demand rural carriers be paid the same as their urban counterparts all make for a complex issue.
A two-year agreement is the right move to ensure service isn’t disrupted while important issues are discussed.
It’s a question of sound business practice. A corporation losing money in the real world would have to declare bankruptcy and cut its losses. Canada Post is able to stay afloat with assistance from taxpayer dollars.
In the next two years, Canada Post and the union will have difficult decisions to make to balance a liability-heavy budget and take the onus off taxpayers. Both sides have two years to find a solution that will ensure Canada Post can continue as a viable business entity.
In the meantime, Canadians will continue to find other options and do more personal communication, shopping and business transactions online, as well as using private courier services.
It’s up to both sides to show Canadians how the postal service can be there to serve them.