On April 23, 2013 The Conference Board of Canada, a corporate oriented think tank, released a report with much frenzy created by the monopoly media entitled: “The Future of Postal Service in Canada”, a report which was commissioned and financed entirely by Canada Post Corporation.
The report was commissioned last year when Canada Post recorded a $327 million deficit from its 2011 operations. Noteworthy is the fact that Deepak Chopra, Chief Executive Officer for Canada Post is also a member of the Board of Directors of The Conference Board of Canada. No one from the monopoly media dared to raise this issue and expose this fact.
The report cannot be taken seriously and shows to what extent Canada Post is willing to go to generate “public opinion” for its diabolical plans to drastically cut postal services to the Canadian people and to demand further contract concessions from postal workers in the years to come.
As a matter of fact, the report must be given a fitting response, and that is–the report is nothing less than an organised fraud by Canada Post Corporation to impose its agenda on postal workers and the Canadian people in general.
The report speculates that declining mail volumes from the year 2012 through to the year 2020 will result in Canada Post losing $1 billion dollars in operating revenues by the year 2020 and to offset the loss, the report suggests draconian measures be taken to ensure that Canada Post remains financially self-sustainable in the future.
The Conference Board report speculates that total mail volumes will drop by more than 25% within the next seven years leaving Canada Post with huge operating deficits. The report states that only parcels will buck the trend, with an “expected” increase of 26%, due to the rise of online shopping.
“Canadians must consider what kind of postal service they really need in the years ahead” said David Steward-Patterson, co-author of the report and vice-president of The Conference Board of Canada. Not surprisingly, Canada Post agrees.
Raising the cost of mailing letters and advertising could help to cut Canada Post’s future deficits, the report says, but it will not eliminate them. According to the report, even raising the costs of mailing by 10% a year starting in 2014 would still leave an operating loss of more than $600 million by 2020.
The Conference Board of Canada proposes five options for Canada Post to consider as a way to save money:
. Imposing wage restraints—the report speculates that freezing wages for seven years would stabilize the projected annual operating loss at $300 million. Cutting nominal wages by 1% a year (in effect, a 3% cut in real wages) would eliminate the $1 billion “projected deficit” by 2020 says the report, while it prefers freezing wages for seven years instead.
. Alternate-day delivery for mail but not for parcels—The Conference Board estimates that delivering mail every other day would eliminate about half the report’s projected 2020 operating loss.
. Elimination of door-to-door delivery—the report also notes all the previous cuts to door-to-door delivery made by Canada Post when it says that 2/3 of Canadian households already do without door-to-door mail service either through centralized points of call, group mailboxes, delivery facilities or rural mailboxes. According to the report, replacing all door-to-door service with community mailboxes for residential customers would have the largest financial impact, thus reducing the report’s projected 2020 operating deficit by $576 million.
. Closing of corporate post offices and replacing them with franchised (privatized) postal outlets—the report estimates annual savings of $100 million by 2020.
. Reduced speed of delivery—reducing the service standard by one day would produce savings of $164 million a year by 2020, the report claims.
The Conference Board of Canada report also indicates: “No single change will suffice to prevent significant and growing losses on postal operations. But a series of measures that would align service standards with the actual and future needs of Canadians would enable Canada Post to return to financial self-sustainability”.
For the most part, the report merely repeats Canada Post’s “analysis” already contained in the Annual Financial Report for the year 2012 released on April 17 2013 and adds its so-called “expertise” to it. The report is nothing but speculations upon speculations which the media presents as factual accounts and which Canada Post then uses to try and give itself some credibility.
Aside from this, the report uses household and business surveys to justify its draconian measures to reduce services and to demand further concessions from postal workers insisting that the public will understand the “challenges” facing the corporation and accept these cuts.
The report notes: “The surveys of residential and business customers show that Canada Post is actually delivering a higher level of service than Canadians expect or need”. The report then concludes by stating that “it offers a framework for the constructive discussion of how Canadians would prefer to shape a sustainable postal service for their future”.
In a letter to postal workers dated April 24, 2013 Deepack Chopra plays innocent and writes: “During the last few days you may have seen media reports about the future of Canada Post. A recent Conference Board of Canada study has projected that continuing declines in mail volumes may lead to losses of close to $1 billion a year by 2020”.
He writes further: “Once again we find ourselves at a pivotal point in our history. This time, we must make bold choices to build a new Canada Post that will be relevant to Canadians in the digital economy”.
Also, in a press release dated April 23, 2013 responding to the Conference Board’s report, Canada Post says “the report reflects on the challenges faced by Canada Post and the urgent need to serve the changing needs of Canadians. Canada Post welcomes this comprehensive report as the beginning of an important conversation with people across the country about what they value and what needs to change to get there”. Canada Post further add: “Canada Post must seriously consider all the options put forward by the Conference Board with the understanding that no single initiative will be sufficient to stem the losses from the steep decline in mail volumes”.
The next day, Canada Post announced that it was launching a public online forum for Canadians “to join a national conversation that will help shape future postal services”. Canada Post says that Canadians will be able to share their thoughts by either submitting their comments on the Canada Post website or by writing directly to the corporation.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has denounced the report “as a means to justify cutbacks in delivery, contracting out of retail services and wage cuts” and has raised the lack of credibility of the report as a major issue.
Just as a reminder, on February 13, 2013 just a few months ago, Canada Post leaked a headline to CTV News, “that sweeping cuts may be ahead for Canada Post as it faces a $327 million operating loss for the year 2011”. It was reported then that Canada Post was considering reducing home delivery from five to four, or even three days, closing some of the 6,500 retail outlets across the country and consolidating the 21 sorting centres to just major cities, that is Winnipeg, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.
Canada Post spokesperson Jon Hamilton said at the time that “all options are on the table as the company figures out a way to remain viable in the near future”.
For the time being, one thing is very clear. Canada Post commissioned, financed and organised this study-report fraud prepared by The Conference Board of Canada for the purpose of mobilizing “public opinion” in favour of Canada Post and with the aim of presenting the Canadian people and postal workers across the country with no other alternatives but to carry on with the gutting of the Canadian public post office and imposing future contract concessions onto its workers.