The Canada Post Strike: Will Your Mail Arrive on Time For The Holidays?

On October 22, 2018, after over a year of negotiation, the union representing Canada Post employees began a process of rotating strikes across the country, in order to put pressure on Canada Post to arrive at a new contract agreement.

Their principle demands were to obtain concrete proposals from Canada Post for dealing with an escalating number of work injuries, as well as a review of employee workloads. However, Canada Post has been in a dire financial situation before the rotating strikes began, therefore their capacity to meet the union’s demands were limited.

Canada Post’s has traditionally mainly delivered letters, with less delivery of parcels. However, due to shifting trends in technology and the increasing popularity of online shopping, the ratio between letters and parcels has reversed. The cost structure of Canada Post is different than private parcel delivery services such as UPS, Purolator, and Fed Ex, therefore Canada Post is unable to compete with these companies at a profit. This, as well as a recent pay equity ruling announced in September 2018, which awarded suburban and rural postal workers a 25% pay increase, has prevented Canada Post from being able to satisfy the union’s demands.

On November 23, 2018 the Federal Labour Minister announced that while a negotiated settlement would have been preferable, “all options for this were exhausted”, and “there really wasn’t a way forward for the two parties. They were at a complete impasse”. The rotating strikes were causing a “significant and growing economic harm to the country, small businesses were struggling, and remote communities were struggling”.

As a result, back to work legislation was passed by the Liberal Government on November 25, and on November 26 received royal assent by the Canadian Senate to be passed into legislation. The rotating walkouts were forced to end at 12 noon on November 28.

Unfortunately, the timing of the strike overlapped with an increased number of people ordering online due to Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, in addition to those shopping for gifts for the holidays.

According to Canada Post, “customers can continue to expect delivery delays for the next several weeks.” Parcels are expected to be delayed during the holidays through to January. International parcels are expected to be delayed even later than this. Letters however, are expected be sent and delivered on time for the holidays. 


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