Commentary with Geoff deGannes
Few would argue that Canada Post had no choice but to take some drastic steps if it is to ever again be financially viable For a business on track to lose $1 billion by 2020, according to Conference Board of Canada projections, something had to change. However, it begs these questions: Why was the crown corporation allowed to deteriorate to this stage and why didnât the Harper Government take steps a number of years ago to privatize the postal service while it still had value.
A number of European countries have already gone that route. I was surprised to read last week that in 2008 Canada Post was worth about $1.5 billion, was debt free and its pension fund was fully funded.
Since that time, the federal government has allowed Canada Post to borrow heavily for a failed business transformation plan and mismanage what was a healthy pension fund. As a Crown corporation, Canada Post does operate at arms length from the government, but it is still answerable to the Feds and specifically Transport Canada.
Among the changes being proposed by CPC, door-to-door delivery to five million urban households will be phased out in favour of community mailboxes over the next five years. Itâs part of a five-point shakeup announced by the Crown corporation.
The price of a regular stamp will jump on March 31 from 63 cents to 85 cents (and $1 if you buy stamps individually instead of in a book). As well, thousands of Canada Post jobs will be shed in the process.
As customers, we had better get used to reduced services at a higher cost.
From the governmentâs perspective, Canadians should be resigned to accepting the inevitable. As far as Government House Leader Peter Van Loan is concerned, Canada Postâs plan to do away with door-to-door delivery service is really âno big dealâ and those city slickers who have been pampered with such a service for a lifetime should simply get over it.
Van Loan says most Canadians are already getting their mail from superboxes and that Canada Post made the decision after consulting with customers.
While the changes in delivery may be a minor inconvenience for many of us, the Tory House leaderâs comments are particularly insensitive to seniors and persons with disabilities who are confined to their own homes.
The loss of their home mail delivery will severely impact them.
We can only hope that a new âlean and meanâ Canada Post will be able to survive beyond 2020, but the drastic steps it has proposed in recent days to reverse its fortunes may be too little too late.
Geoff deGannes is the past chairman of the Tantramar Radio Society. His daily commentaries can be heard on 107.9 CFTA.