There’s trouble brewing at the Canada Post Corporation, a.k.a. Canada Post, one of the few remaining government-owned crown corporations that still exist in the Great White North.
Once again, threats of a postal strike loom large, as union leaders and corporate heavyweights battle it out over benefits, pensions, and contracts. Media outlets are doing their best to make this impending nation-wide service disruption headline news, but the fact is, we’re really not sure if many Canadians would even notice if their posties went A.W.O.L. for a few weeks…..
American Postal Strikes? Not Since Nixon’s Time
Of course, postal strikes are a relatively common occurrence in Canada, where folks have dealt with close to two-dozen nationwide mail service disruptions since 1965.
This might strike Americans as a bit odd, given that the U.S. hasn’t experienced a postal strike since the notorious 1970 wildcat letter carrier walkout which led to President Nixon calling in the army to restore mail service. Yup, all hell broke loose when the postal system ground to a halt for a week, and when the dust settled, U.S.P.S. postal workers were banned from ever striking again.
So while it’s clear that postal service is a pretty big deal south of the border, we’re not too sure the same can be said for Canadians……
The Steady Decline of Canada Post
Like all major national postal systems, Canada Post has struggled to keep up with the decade-long drop in demand for letter carrier services, thanks to the rapid development of free or low-cost digital alternatives to ‘snail mail’ like email, social media, on-line billing and electronic banking.
Since 2006, the total volume of letters handled by mail in Canada dropped 32 percent, while the cost of a first-class stamp nearly doubled, and service standards took a nosedive with the clawback of home mail delivery and the introduction of those notoriously unsecured community mailboxes.
At the same time, electronic banking became the norm, with direct deposits and e-transfers replacing paper cheques. (Seriously, when’s the last time you wrote or cashed an actual old-school cheque? I’d bet it was on your birthday from your Grandparents)
When It Comes To Parcel Delivery, Canada Post Thinks Close is Good Enough
Of course, Canada Post has tried to push back against their inevitable decline by diving headfirst into the e-commerce delivery space, with varying levels of success. Reports of failed deliveries, late shipments and slickly-branded services like FlexDelivery that actually require consumers to schlep out and get their stuff from a depot with slick marketing copy like “choose when and where to pick up your package. Never miss a delivery.”
So while the impending Canada post strike will undoubtedly be a bit of a pain for some folks (such as those who get their legal medical marijuana by mail), we expect that most Canucks couldn’t care less about whether or not posties will be on duty after Canada Day.
Between e-banking, e-mail, social media and on-demand delivery services like ParcelPal, a pending Canada Post strike simply doesn’t have the same fear-mongering impact on Canadians as it did in the past, and frankly, that’s a really, really good thing.