Postal union worried about private outlets

NANAIMO – The Canadian Union of Postal Workers is concerned Canada Post is on its way to shutting down the retail postal outlet

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers is concerned Canada Post is on its way to shutting down the retail postal outlet in Nanaimo.

John Bail, national director for the union’s Pacific region, pointed to a similar situation in Campbell River where a new privatized outlet was built in close proximity from the long-time retail post office, with a store in between, and an outlet was shut down in Port Alberni.

However, Phil Legault, media relations manager for Canada Post, said it will be status quo for Nanaimo.

“We do not have plans at the moment to add a postal outlet in a retail location in Nanaimo,” Legault said.

But Bail said the proposal for a new retail outlet was discussed during consultation with the union.

“What they’ve done is they say they’re building a franchise outlet nearby the Nanaimo outlet – that’s going to take away all the business – then they shut down the outlet,” said Bail. “They haven’t put one in yet, they’re just serving us notice. What they say is, they’re giving us a chance to give them a business plan, but we’re not in any position to give them a business plan – they’re just notifying us that they’re intending to put a fairly large privatized outlet nearby the other outlet.

“They give us a bunch of figures about how much business that franchise will take, which is usually similar to the amount that the corporate retail outlet takes in, and then they give us a street corner – they don’t tell us what location exactly, they just give us an area within seven kilometres,” he said.

Legault said Canada Post stands to lose money if changes aren’t made, adding the company evaluates all of its post offices across the country regularly in order to ensure efficiency in its delivery system.

According to the Conference Board of Canada’s Future of Postal Service in Canada report released this past April, the Crown corporation is projected to lose approximately $1 billion a year by 2020.

Legault said from 2006-12, Canada Post is delivering one billion fewer pieces of mail and Canadians are using mail, parcel and delivery systems differently.

“A lot of people are going online much more these days, whether it’s by e-mail or the payment of bills, people are moving so much towards the electronic means in communicating,” he said. “We’ve got to take a look at shifting with how our customers are viewing us and how our customers are using us.”

Legault said people can comment about the future of the postal service at www.canadapost.ca.