What would Canada be like, post Canada Post? That fateful day when letter mail was delivered by someone other than Crown Corporation employees. Apocalyptic? Hmm, no.
I admit, for some perverse reason, I like my Canada Post home delivery. I rifle through the the usual assortment of poorly designed, ineffective direct mail pieces, pizza flyers, credit card offerings, the odd subscription request from magazines I don’t want, bills and sometimes, rarely, a postcard or letter.
Receiving anything I actually want in the mail (a cheque) happens only once or twice a year. In truth, for the most part, anything I get in the mail is usually an annoyance or worse, something from a lawyer or CRA.
Canada Post announced yesterday they will now charge more for their “service” by jacking stamps up to a dollar…and whacking urban home delivery, something suburban and rural dwellers here in the Maritimes have come to accept. Nothing says “service” like forcing seniors out in -30 degree weather to collect hand-delivered recycling.
Mercifully, no longer is the Canadian public being extorted by our beloved mail service at Christmas time. Those old enough to remember a world without texting, will also fondly remember masses of posties milling around burn barrels every second November demanding wages and working condition normally reserved for tenured professors. This while grandmothers from Tofino to Bonavista fretted and fumed over packages and cards held in public sector purgatory. Not to speak of the UI cheques.
We haven’t seen much of that of late. Presumably because if Canada Post went on strike today, the impact would be mitigated. Bills would get paid online, UPS, FedEx, Purolator, Altimax, et al would pick up Grannie’s presents and direct deposit would handle the pay cheques and EI payments. It would be an irritant to business but there are effective alternatives and work-arounds available.
On the other hand, we might have to live without a “holiday” letter from an MPs defending the legislative requirements demanded of Canada Post to deliver it. Damn.
Interestingly, Canada Post CEO Deepak Chopra, ($450,000 to $500,000 per annum), also sits on the Conference Board of Canada, the think-tank credited for hatching the idea of pressing delete on urban delivery. Canada Post insists this notion came from inside the Corporation and they take complete ownership of the dollar stamp idea. Neither, however, seems to address sustainability or the bigger picture.
From yesterday’s announcement we can draw that Canada Post’s answers to diminishing customers and revenue are a) a reduction in service and b) an increase in price. Interesting theory.
Perhaps instead of trying to figure out ways to create a lousier business that fewer people use, it might finally be time to accept the current model of the Royal Mail monopoly is as anachronistic as its 150 year-old predecessor…and the federal government needs to rewrite the law and open up letter carriage to full competition. The National Post‘s Andrew Coyne effectively makes the case.
The Chair of the Board of Canada Post, Marc Courtois, built a career in the field of financing, mergers and corporate acquisitions…maybe it’s time he could put that impressive CV to work. Crack open this stale institution, break it up and allow in the fresh air of market forces.
One of the possible positive outcomes? Santa’s Elves could concentrate on what they’re best at and letters to the North Pole won’t be returned for a misspelled address.
It should be noted, Santa is on Twitter.
What do you think?
By the way, I’d be interested to know if in the future, you’d like to hear an audio version of my blog with relevant interviews and such…let me know in the contact box below your thoughts on a podcast. Would you listen to it?
Don’t worry, I won’t do anything with your email address other than use it to reply to you.
- Canada to Stop Delivering Mail to City Homes Over 5 Years (nytimes.com)
- Canada Post: You’re doing it wrong (globalnews.ca)
- Five reasons why the latest Canada Post changes aren’t as bad as you think (canadianbusiness.com)
- Postal reforms reflect advice from think-tank that includes Canada Post CEO (o.canada.com)