CUPW Raises Concerns about the Canadian Postal Services Charter

April 2, 2012  -  14:30

Your Public Post Office Delivers Campaign / Letter

Steven Fletcher
Minister of State (Transport)
Place de Ville, Tower C, 29th Floor
330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario 
K1A 0N5

Dear Mr. Fletcher,

I am writing to raise concerns about the Canadian Postal Service Charter, which is the government policy document outlining expectations for Canada Post in regard to service standards and other matters.

CUPW and others have lived with the Canadian Postal Service Charter for two and a half years now. We know, based on Charter provision #20, that the government will review this policy document in another two and a half years.

The union would like you to consider our views and our experience to date as you prepare for the upcoming review.

We would also like the government to take steps to ensure that Canada Post is living up to Charter expectations.

Moratorium on closures needs to be clarified

The Charter maintains the existing moratorium that has been in effect since 1994. This moratorium protects public post offices in rural and small one-post-office towns. Unfortunately, it appears that Canada Post does not believe the moratorium protects the public nature of post offices. The corporation says each situation will be “determined on a case-by-case ba­sis in consultation with the affected community.”

The Charter should be revised in a way that protects the public nature of the post offices and outlets covered by the moratorium.

Consultation period needs to be extended – Consultation process needs to be dramatically improved

The Charter says:

"13. Where Canada Post plans to change delivery methods Canada Post will communicate, either in person or in writing, with affected customers and communities at least one month in advance to explain decisions and explore options that address customer concerns.

14. At least one month before deciding to permanently close, move or amalgamate corporate post offices, Canada Post will meet with affected customers and communities to jointly explore options and find practical solutions that address customer concerns."

In short, Canada Post has to in­form people at least one month prior to closing, moving or amal­gamating their public post office or changing their method of delivery. The corporation is also expected to explore options that address people’s concerns. But one month is not enough time to do this.

The Charter should be revised to dramatically extend the con­sultation period.

The consultation process also needs to be improved.  The process Canada Post uses does not adhere to the spirit of Charter provisions.

Many rural residents have complained that they were not consulted or adequately consulted when their rural mail box delivery was changed to delivery at a community mailbox, green group box or post office. It appears that Canada Post does not always "explain decisions or explore options that address customers concerns."

As well, many communities have been shocked to find that they were not consulted about a post office closure. Canada Post currently puts a notice on a post office door or window to let people know it is considering closing an office. It does not "meet" with communities to jointly explore options and find practical solutions that address their concerns.

The government should take immediate steps to ensure that Canada Post is living up to the spirit of Charter provisions on community outreach and consultation. Canada Post should hold public meetings when it considers closing a post office. The government should consult with the public, municipalities, Members of Parliament, postal unions and other major stakeholders to develop a reasonable, uniform and democratic process for making changes to the postal and delivery network.

Exceptions to moratorium need to go

There are too many exceptions to the moratorium. Communities may face post office closures due to retirement, illness, death, fire or termination of lease, etc.

The Charter should be revised to remove the exceptions to the moratorium on closures.

List of post offices covered by the moratorium needs to be publicly posted

The list of post offices covered by the moratorium has not been made public by Canada Post or the government.

The government should request that Canada Post put the list of post offices covered by the moratorium on closures in a prominent place on its website.

Community outreach and consultation process needs to be posted

The process that is to be followed when Canada Post closes, moves or amalgamates a public post office or changes the method of delivery has not been made public by Canada Post or the government.

The government should request that Canada Post put information on its community outreach and consultation process in a prominent place on its website.

Canada Post shouldn’t report on its own performance

Canada Post shouldn’t report on its own performance in meeting Charter expectations. This job should be given to an inde­pendent Canada Post ombudsper­son. There is currently an ombudsperson for complaints regarding the corporation’s compliance with the Canadian Postal Service Charter, but the independence of this ombudsperson is questionable. The Canada Post ombudsperson is appointed by the Canada Post Board of Directors, a board that includes the Canada Post President. Furthermore, the person in this position was a Canada Post employee for many years. We need a truly independent ombudsperson.

The Charter should be revised to say that an independent ombudsperson will report on Canada Post’s performance in meeting each of the expectations in the Canadian Postal Service Charter and that this report will be published each year. The government should take steps to create a truly independent ombudsperson for complaints regarding Canada Post’s compliance with the Canadian Postal Service Charter and other matters.

The public and key stakeholders need to be consulted on the Charter

The people who own Canada Post –the public – were never asked what a Canadian Postal Service Charter should say. The government should consult with the public, municipalities, Members of Parliament, postal unions and other major stakeholders to improve the Charter.

The government should hold public consultations during the upcoming review ofthe Canadian Postal Service Charter to assess the need to improve the Charter.

I look forward to your response.

Yours truly,

Denis Lemelin
National President

c.c.

National Executive Committee
Regional Executive Committees
National Union Representatives
Regional Union Representatives
Specialists
All CUPW locals
Deepak Chopra, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canada Post Corporation
Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
Olivia Chow, MP
Jamie Nicholls, MP
Denis Coderre, MP
Maria Mourani, MP
Elizabeth May, Leader Green Party

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