Gerald Berard from the Kimberley local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers visited Kimberley City Council this week seeking support in their efforts to stop plans by Canada Post to end home delivery.
Canada Post announced in December that they were phasing out door-to-door delivery of regular mail to urban residents and increasing the cost of postage in a major move to try to reduce significant, regular losses.
“Kimberley is the smallest letter carrier depot in Canada,” Berard told Council. “Our community will be one of the first for letter carrier service to be cut.”
He said that it has been announced that small communities will lose service first and it is assumed that Kimberley will be one of them. The time line is likely this year.
Berard said that CUPW recognizes that Canada Post is a federal responsibility, but anything the City could do in terms of a motion of support would be appreciated.
And he said that in addition to seniors being forced to walk quite some distance to community mailboxes — something which they are not always physically capable of doing — those mailboxes are vulnerable to break-ins, which can lead to identity theft.
Community mailbox sites are also eyesores, he said, with litter piling up as people discard unwanted mail like flyers. Canada Post will not put recycling containers at community mailbox sites, Berard said as their policy is to deliver mail, not take it away.
Not only that, but there is a huge increase to stamp prices coming as well. He also said that the local taxi company will have a hard time surviving if they lose the Canada Post contract.
The point Berard wanted to make was that the cuts aren’t necessary. CUPW believes that the claims by Canada Post that they will lose a billion dollars a year by 2020 are simply not true.
“We need to look at the facts,” he said. “Canada Post said they would lose $250 million in 2012, but it made a $94 million profit. You can’t believe them. The only year Canada Post lost money was 2011 when they had to pay a wage equity settlement and had a two week lockout. Aside from that, Canada Post has not lost money in ten years. Things are not as bleak as they say. It’s just a clear agenda for privatization.
“Raising rates and cutting service is just a bad plan.”
Berard says the CUPW believes that going into financial services would be a better route for the post office. Not only would it provide financial services not available in many small communities but many other countries have found that it works for their postal services.
Berard promised that the CUPW would make the plans for Canada Post an issue in municipal elections next November.