Reality is quickly catching up with Canada Post as the obsolete Crown Corporation continues to bleed record losses every year. $129,000,000 went down the hole in the last quarter alone and these huge losses will only grow as electronic communications and an ever efficient private sector fills the void where conventional mail used to be.
On top of these losses that the taxpayer will surely end up paying, Canada Post is carrying a $6 billion pension deficit with no realistic means in sight to pay that out. This monster of a debt that accumulated through decades of buying labor peace through unrealistic pension promises will surely be biting us all soon. That growing black hole will only get worse as long as Canada Post is in operation.
Along with technological realities making the services of a Crown postal carrier obsolete, Canada Post has been burdened with one of the most activist and self-destructive unions in the country. CUPW used to gleefully strike just before Christmas every few years. In holding the country hostage at holiday time, huge pension obligations grew and letter carriers became grossly overcompensated for what truly is unskilled labor.
I remember well in the 90s when a tipping point was hit with the postal union. Postal workers made a great deal of noise as usual and hit the streets with the usual demands of more compensation for less work. What CUPE had not realized at that time is that the fax machine had removed business dependency on them for document delivery and things such as telephone banking were beginning to take hold. Consumers found the postal strike to be an annoyance at best as opposed to crippling as such strikes used to be. After some time picketing to an indifferent populace, the postal workers returned to work with their collective tails between their legs. Following that strike loss, Canada Post actually managed to profit for a few years as they could restructure with a cowed and humbled union. That was simply putting off the inevitable though as technology simply continued to advance and need for postal services declined.
The Canadian Union for Postal Workers should have been watching out for their workers and working with Canada Post to try and restructure the company for the future. Instead of using such foresight, the union went on extreme left wing activist crusades that were totally unrelated to their mandate of labor such as an ongoing and fervent CUPW campaign against Israel. Opportunity has passed and now the layoffs of the workers that the union was supposed to be protecting will be in the thousands (and Israel still exists).
Canada Post is rightly phasing out home delivery which will lead to the loss of 8000 jobs. That is simple reality and this can’t be fought. Letter delivery will be going up to as high as $1 as rates must be hiked dramatically in a vain hope of achieving solvency. While this increase in service charges is clearly needed, it will also speed up the process of people leaving conventional mail delivery behind.
In their usual bizarre manner, the idiotic Postal Union feels that Canada Post should expand into financial services and banking. I can think of few ways where billions more could be lost and pinned on the taxpayer. Why don’t those clowns pool their union dues and start their own damn bank and show us how it’s done then?
It is time to work on an exit strategy. There really is nothing that Canada Post provides that the private world can’t do (and usually does better).
The billions in pension debt will surely be a disaster as it is. Let’s end the growth of that debt and the ongoing burden to the taxpayer of constant Canada Post operating losses while we can. Things are not going to turn around.
The next dinosaur on the Crown Corporation list is the CBC but that is a matter for another post.