Seven myths about Canada Post

by Doug Nesbitt and Dan Darrah

With another lockout or strike looming at Canada Post, management is once again relying on huge amounts of public misinformation to turn the people against the postal workers, and sap confidence in our public postal service. Here are seven big myths about Canada Post that you’ll find repeated in the papers and on TV, at the dinner table or on your smoke break, and from politicians and Canada Post management. A version of this list is available as a printable flyer or poster.

One way to show your support.
One way to show your support.

MYTH #1: “We aren’t profitable”

FACT: Canada Post has been profitable for 20 of the last 22 years, including the past four years. It was not profitable in 2011 because management locked out its workforce and lost a lot of business. Since the mid-1990s, Canada Post has put over a billion dollars in profits back into the public purse.

MYTH #2: “Canada Post is a waste of taxpayers’ money”

FACT: Canada Post doesn’t run on any taxpayer money. It has actually put more than a billion dollars back. Canada Post became a Crown Corporation in the early 1980s so it could survive off its own revenues. Anyone who says Canada Post wastes taxpayers money is misinformed or lying.

MYTH #3: “The internet is killing Canada Post”

FACT: Canada Post is shipping more items each year than it was in 1989, five years before the internet took off. Letters are declining steadily but internet shopping has led to a boom in parcel deliveries. Canada Post is constantly setting new records in parcel delivery volumes. Canada Post is riding the internet shipping boom just like Amazon and other internet shipping companies.

rf meme - canada post cutsMYTH #4: “We can’t afford pensions”

FACT: Canada Post wants to weaken pensions for new hires, saying the old pension plan is too costly. But the pension crisis is a phony one. Canada Post is profitable and postal workers continue to pay into the plan. The pension plan has enough money to pay out workers as they retire. Rolling back the pension plan is a management cash grab.

MYTH #5: “We can’t afford home delivery”

FACT: Canada Post can afford to restore and expand home delivery. We don’t have to be the only wealthy country in the world that is cutting this service. Restoring and expanding home delivery would be even easier with new revenue-generating services like postal banking, which exists in many other countries, including Canada until the mid-1960s. Canada Post’s own studies show postal banking is a financial no-brainer, but they don’t want postal banking or home delivery because they have another agenda. This agenda has nothing to do with providing essential public services.

MYTH #6: “We won’t privatize Canada Post”

FACT: Cutting home delivery, rejecting postal banking, and pushing rollbacks on postal workers is about making Canada Post ready for privatization. Canada Post delivers two-thirds of the country’s mail, and has by far the largest retail infrastructure in the entire country. Private mail and shipping companies want these assets, and they want to get rid of Canada Post as a competitor. Canada Post top management is full of privatizers. Canada Post CEO Deepak Chopra sits on the board of a think-tank that called on the Harper government to privatize our postal service. Chopra was also a major executive for the world’s largest private mail corporation, Pitney Bowes. The previous Canada Post CEO became British Royal Mail’s CEO and oversaw its wholesale privatization. Canada Post management, the private sector, and politicians across party lines want to privatize Canada Post.

SaveCanadaPostMYTH #7: “We don’t want a labour dispute”

FACT: Canada Post wants a labour dispute and disrupted service so it can undermine our confidence in our public postal service, blame the dispute on the postal workers in some old fashioned union-bashing, and further prepare it for privatization. The new Liberal government is also putting together a review of Canada Post. Management definitely wants a labour dispute and a phony pension crisis to dominate the agenda, not the restoration of home delivery and new services like postal banking. Look out for corporate think-tanks, newspaper columnists and politicians repeating all these myths. The goal is to undermine a public service so the public won’t protest its privatization. This is a classic privatization strategy.

What do we want?

A publicly-owned, financially-stable Canada Post is possible. We can afford decent jobs for all postal workers and home delivery for all. The internet has led to a boom in parcel deliveries. We could also have postal banking like other countries, giving us more options than just the big banks and predatory payday loans, and offer better banking services to rural and remote Canadians. Postal banking would ensure Canada Post’s financial stability well into the future. The postal workers are not the problem.
The service-cutting privatizers running Canada Post are the problem.
Tell your MP that you want a better public postal service, not one that cuts services and pushes for labour disruption.
Send a message of support to our postal workers. Put a sign on your mailbox, tell a postal worker you support them, and if it comes to it, get down to the picket lines.

Download a version of this article in a printable flyer/poster.

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28 thoughts on “Seven myths about Canada Post

  1. Thanks for this, exactly what I was thinking was needed. Misinformation is a powerful union busting tool and this helps challenge that. Solidarity with CUPW.

  2. Canada Post must remain a crown corporation and provide good service across Canada. As it is profitable then the postal rates should decline to encourage more business especially in the package delivery and expand to rural communities for banking perhaps in partnership with a bank.
    Canada Post belongs to Canadians not the CEO who is there to operate the postal service not privatize it.

  3. WE NEED TO KEEP CANADA POST PUBLIC……….

    Knowledge is power, and because most Canadians are misinformed, of course we revert back to the “greedy unions” and misdirect our incorrect information at them.

    PROTECT OUR FUTURE, AND OUR CHILDREN’S FUTURE…….EDUCATE ON THE FACTS.

    Canada is a wealthy country and needs to stay that way.

  4. The coming battle of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers could be a decisive turning point for the labour movement and all working people across the country. 50,000 postal workers are standing up to fight concessions, to defend and extend public services. Not only do they deserve our support, which should be manifested at every picket line in the event of a lockout or a strike, but workers should now demand and organize sympathy strikes by unions everywhere possible to ensure a victory by CUPW. This challenge, and this opportunity for meaningful solidarity in action, should be fully and enthusiastically embraced.

  5. But they can afford to run Purolator Courier. They can afford to pay outrageous salaries to the the top management. It is every where the same thing, the top gets more and the once who pull the cart less.

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  7. Our sense of entitlement in Canada is unsustainable. This article is another great example of that. Why do we need daily mail delivered door to door? We could easily switch to twice a week delivery to community boxes. Anyone wanting home delivery can pay extra. This would allow Canada post to afford their pension liability payments as the workforce would be significantly reduced. The current public service employment model is not sustainable thanks to unions pushing wages and benefits beyond reality of the typical Canadians employment situation.

    1. You’ve missed the point that Canada Post has been profitable for the past 20 of 22 years and the pension plan is financially sound. It has revenue-generating options like postal banking that management refuses to pursue despite it proving a huge success in other countries where postal banking is implemented. There is no sense of entitlement here. It is about delivering the best possible universal public service, as it is legally mandated to do through legislation. You set the standard and then meet it and home delivery falls well within the realm of financial sustainability. Your claims are baseless. Start doing some research of your own.

      1. Show us how the Pension Plan is ‘fully funded’ via a financial statement from your 2016 auditors.

        Saying it is so is not the same as empirical evidence.

      2. Concerned stamp buyer

        Reply

        Take a look at the Canada Post Act, Part 1, Paragraph 5.

        (b) the need to conduct its operations on a self-sustaining financial basis while providing a standard of service that will meet the needs of the people of Canada and that is similar with respect to communities of the same size;

        It’s hard to lose money when you have the LEGAL AUTHORITY to raise the price of your product (a stamp). Your potential losses are offset by an increase in stamp prices (to expand on the LEGAL MANDATE of your comment).

        Talking about baseless claims… If businesses and individuals collectively agreed to stop using Canada Post, the price of a stamp could reach 8 billion dollars for that 1 person who chooses to send a letter out at Christmas.

        1. Read the entire act before you cherry pick what you want. Read 5(1), 5(2), and 19(2) and think again about an 8 billion dollar stamp being possible. The act has checks and balances when it comes to the costs borne by consumers. You are just fearmongering based on your own inability to do your research – or you’re happy to pump out misinformation.

    2. Matt – time to ditch the entitlement song and dance. You cant dodge the truth: your whole argument is bull

      Canada Post rakes it in each year. You lie when you say it isn’t.

      Saying “entitled” to us who want good jobs and strong public services is saying we are selfish pricks – and people like you who want cuts and worse jobs have the best of intentions.

      Your lot are wreckers and liars. You don’t want to build anything. You want knock it all down. Eerything generations of Canadians have built through blood sweat and tears. What you offer is shit jobs, bad services, and a pay to play world. Fuck off.

  8. These myths are what people have been forced to beleive about unions and our postal system. When Canada Post is either disolved or privatized the cost of sending letters or parcels will increase dramatically across Canada giving more profits to the profiteers. This day trynto send a letter via a private courier and find out just one letter will cost you in excess of $10. Of course by then parcel shipping costs from internet shopping will be passed on to the consumer as costs are always done by corporations. Wake up People!

  9. I’m tired of misinformation being spread. I’m tired of the attack on people who do good work. I’m tired of Management etc. deciding to make cuts to workers pay and jobs while often taking a wage increase themselves. I’m tired of the harm that is done to hard workers who have to fight to keep their jobs and decent wages. Save Canada Post! I will try to do something in solidarity as someone who knows what it’s like to feel the push out the door and the sting of job loss after years of dedicated service. Do your best to manage the stress which can flow into every area of your life and affect your well being. Management doesn’t think, talk or likely care about this. We need to keep these good jobs for today and for the future. Thanks for the great work you do!

  10. Is it true that the President of Canada Post has 22 Vice Presidents on the payroll? If so, WHY SO MANY? Seems to me that the cutting should start with upper management………… definitely top heavy…………..a lot patronage positions created there.

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  12. 50 000+ middle class employees nation wide contributing to the their local economies can only be a good thing. Shame on anyone thinking otherwise! The purpose of this post is to clarify truth from lies, namely to inform that NO tax dollars are used to `run` or `save` CPC. The crown corporation actually gives back to the public & pensions are sustainable. Business is booming with parcels, packets & flyers where profits have steadily grown & continue to do so & lettermail pieces are not as `few` as CPC would like the public to believe. Why does CPC need 22 Vp`s? ( no brainer there, fill your pockets, boys!)

  13. Concerned stamp buyer

    Reply

    Hey,

    Canada Post may not “cost taxes”, but Canada Post can’t legally lose money either… Any potential losses CP might face are met with an increase in stamp prices. When you’re a federal crown corporation that has a monopoly on stamp prices, it may as well be a tax.

    So… Give yourself wages and benefits that are far better than the average Canadian while pumping our country full of the worst kind of misinformation.

    When do we predict the price of a stamp to be $2.00/ea? 2020?

    1. Debunking myths means looking at reality. Legally, Canada Post is obligated to meet a public service mandate as well as be financially sustainable. It is not in the red and has been profitable for all but one year in the last two decades – and the sky didn’t fall when a profit wasn’t turned (in 2011 – when management locked out its workforce).

      Reality is, Canada Post turns quarterly profits almost without exception. We don’t live in a world where Canada Post isn’t making profits so let’s not pretend stamp prices are going up because Canada Post isn’t making money. It is making money. It relies on no taxpayer money. So stop pumping out hypothetical scenarios that aren’t happening and claiming that people studying the real world are pumping out misinformation. You’re a million miles off base here.

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  16. Why do people have to be so mean and nasty to anyone who has a middle class income?
    If you want that type of life and income then apply at CPC for a job. I’m sure when the temperature reaches -30 (add windchill) or for that matter +30 (add humidity) you’ll be happy to see so many uninformed people telling you that your “entitled”. Being a letter carrier means your out in the elements everyday….cities issue heat warnings and open cooling centre’s but you still get the mail/parcels delivered. How many people can say they walk 10km+ per day? Never mind that how many of you who insult the workers can actually walk that far?
    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but when your opinion is uneducated, misinformed, and plain bullshit be smart enough to know your stupid and either shut up or get informed.

  17. This article is not correct. Canada Post only looks like it is making a profit because it is not paying what it owes to the pension. Look it up – Canada Post currently owes over 6 billion dollars to fund the pension, but the government gave it temporary permission not to pay this amount – https://canadasmodernpost.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/the-canada-post-pension-plan-the-elephant-in-the-room/.

    You should be more concerned about our underfunded pension than you are about telling lies to make the situation worse. Why are you doing this?

    Sadly by claiming that Canada Post is making a profit when it is 6 billion in debt only makes it hard to believe anything else the article says.

    You are endangering my retirement.

    1. Hi Peter,
      The $6 billion pension plan deficit is only a problem if full pensions were paid out to every single postal worker at the same time, which is not going to happen. The pension plan is healthy because it is paying out what it is owed to people as they retire. The pension plan is in line with many other plans that run deficits.

      It is Canada Post management and likeminded politicians and newspaper people who are pushing the pension plan deficit as an example of Canada Post having an unsolvable financial crisis. But like we just said, it is doing just fine and comparable to other healthy pension plans.

      And even if there was a pension crisis let’s remember that postal workers have been paying in. It is the company that has got big holidays from paying into the plan. We have to fight so no single worker should ever be robbed of a pension that they’ve been paying into regardless of what happens with company and its plan.

  18. Many seem very narrow minded. We can see the trend away from mail based on declining mail volume and electronic mail. Also, we do NOT need 5 days a week mail delivery. We do NOT need to have someone come to our door everyday and bring one piece of mail. 3 days a week for residential areas is plenty. Where we can capitalize on is parcel delivery. Canada Post needs to be pro active and make adjustments now based on this trend. This article is poorly written and very biased. In fact Canada Post is in debt, with a pension deficit. Also, Canada Post is supposed to be self sustainable as per the mandate. where in some years it posted a loss and borrowed from the government. They need to make changes now continue to cut home mail delivery and continue building community mailboxes. Those elderly and disabled can apply for home delivery and pay a surcharge to receive mail. Home delivery in Canada isn’t a right its a privilege and if people continue to demand home delivery, and the government(Trudeau) listen then eventually they will lose a lot of money and it will then have to be privatised and then the private company will make the changes anyway and much worse.

    1. Your post is all propaganda and opinion and involves no fact. Who are you to tell anyone how often their mail should be delivered?

      1) Canada Post is financially self-sustaining. It has been turning a profit for every year but one over the past two decades and put over a billion dollars of profits back into general government revenues.
      2) It is already capitalizing on its parcel delivery setting records every year in volumes which is offsetting declining mail volume.
      3) Canada Post’s pension deficit is on par with most other pensions. A deficit is common. A pension deficit means it can’t pay everyone their full pension if everyone retires at the same time. That is a hypothetical, not a reality, so it is not a problem.
      4) Canada Post is legally legislated to deliver mail reliably and without interruption to all Canadians. It may not be a right in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms but it certainly isn’t a privilege.

      Profitable. Financially sound. A healthy pension plan. Setting record parcel service. A legal obligation for regular service.

      So why on earth would you cut service from 5 to 3 days?

      Your post is a fine example of regurgitated propaganda. That you don’t know about Canada Post’s booming parcel delivery service shows how little you know. It is precisely the profitability and power of Canada Post that makes it such a desirable target for privatization.

      It is time for you to do some research and learn something about the real world. You should start with Canada Post’s publicly-available financial statements.

    2. Canada Post plants, depots, trucks, boxes, nor management have enough space to hold mail for 3 day deliveries. Plants are running on a good bit of floor space. Though, the objective is to keep pumping mail through and not to get backlogged, or cause risk hazard within the work environment. FIFO. With 3 day delivery system the plant area for letter and parcel volume would need to expand by what percent?… and yet CP would still require the same amount of people to process that mail for a 3 or 5 day delivery plan. Only to have it sit there for delivery? Parcels could one day need a 7 day delivery system, if Canada Post decided to continue with adding new contracts for delivery. It is only going to get more congested and possibly every day could be Christmas pace in the parcel section,, unless of course Canada Post loses big contracts. That’s not the case.

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