Postby Oscar » Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:13 am

Greens propose to broaden Canada Post mandate to help serve rural communities
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September 24, 2019

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Quill Plains (Wynyard) chapter launches e-petition in support of postal banking

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September 8, 2017 - 1:05 pm

Click here to sign the petition! [ Closed Jan. 5, 2018 ]

The Council of Canadians Quill Plains (Wynyard) chapter has launched a House of Commons e-petition calling for postal banking.

The guide for e-petitions notes, "An e-petition will remain open for signatures for 120 days. To receive final certification, an e-petition must receive a minimum of 500 valid signatures during this period. ...The Standing Orders (the rules governing the House of Commons) require the government to respond within 45 calendar days to every petition presented in the House of Commons. You, the supporters, the signatories, and the sponsor will be notified by e-mail when the response is tabled in the House."

Postal banking is a crucial issue.

Our ally the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has stated, "Canada needs a postal bank. Thousands of rural towns and villages in our country do not have a bank, but many of them have a post office that could provide financial services."

Quill Plains (Wynyard) chapter activist Elaine Hughes has highlighted in a letter to the editor published in the Wadena News this summer that Canada's three biggest banks will be closing down 20 of their rural branches in Saskatchewan this year.

E-1236 raises concerns about bank closures, the need for "a public banking system that works for all Canadians", and concludes, "We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to instruct Canada Post to make a rapid transition to include postal banking in its mandate."

To add your name to this petition, please click here: [ Closed Jan. 5, 2018 ]

The petition, sponsored by NDP MP Niki Ashton, is open for signatures until January 5, 2018 - but don't delay, sign today!

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Re: POSTAL BANKING: Chapter launches e-Petition

Postby Oscar » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:52 pm

Liberals to scrap community mail box conversions, but won’t restore door-to-door

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The move by the federal Liberals means Canada Post won’t realize savings it estimated at $350 million annually from converting the remaining 4.2 million addresses across the country that still get mail dropped at their doorstep.

By Terry Pedwell The Canadian Press Wed., Jan. 24, 2018

OTTAWA—The federal Liberals are terminating a program launched by the former Conservative government to convert existing home mail delivery in Canada to community boxes.

But some 840,000 families who have already started walking down the street for their mail since the conversions began in 2014 won’t see door-to-door delivery restored.

“We’re not going to put the toothpaste back in the tube,” Public Services Minister Carla Qualtrough told a news conference Wednesday at a Canada Post sorting plant in Mississauga, Ont.

“We’re not going to reverse these decisions that were made by the former government, but we are going to guarantee exceptional services to Canadians.”

The decision not to restore door-to-door delivery is expected to upset postal workers who have demanded the post office turn back the clock on mailbox conversions.

It also means Canada Post won’t realize savings it estimated at $350 million annually from converting the remaining 4.2 million addresses across the country that still get mail dropped at their doorstep.

Some 840,000 families who have already started walking down the street for their mail since the conversions won’t see door-to-door delivery restored.

At least one analyst warned that will hamper the Crown corporation’s ability to remain self sustaining, and merely postpones difficult decisions by kicking the problem of collapsing letter mail volumes down the road.

“This is going to become a great big black hole for the government,” said Ian Lee, a professor at Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business.

The Liberals vaguely promised during the 2015 election campaign to “save home mail delivery” after an outcry over the community mailbox conversion plan launched by the Conservatives.

David Doel, 32, has a community mailbox near his Toronto home. But he isn't bothered at the news that he won't switch over to door-to-door delivery.

"No, not at all," he said when asked.

However, he did wonder why Canada Post hadn't considered keeping door-to-door delivery for the elderly or disabled - those who might very well find it difficult to walk out to a community mailbox.

"But, big-picture wise, I don't see it as a problem," Doel said of Canada Post's decision.

Under the new Liberal plan for Canada Post, a task force will be struck to examine how to enhance the corporation’s accessibility program for seniors and people with mobility issues who lost home delivery. Qualtrough said the existing program needs to be upgraded and better promoted.

The minister also announced changes to the financial rules that drive Canada Post, allowing the agency to make a profit and then re-invest the extra money back into operations to improve services and remain self-sustaining over the long run.

Senior leadership at the post office, which is in the midst of a large-scale turnover that includes a search for a new CEO, will also be mandated to establish more cordial labour relations. Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers are currently in contract negotiations.

As well, the government is encouraging Canada Post to promote its postal money order business to Canadians who send money to friends and family abroad. CUPW had called instead for a re-introduction of banking services at postal outlets as a way to make money, an idea that has been rejected by the agency.

The government will also ask Canada Post to capitalize on a boom in its parcel services, since that’s where the money and growth are.

While mail deliveries by postal workers have been declining drastically in recent years, Canada Post has seen parcel delivery volumes soar. The agency saw parcel delivery revenues increase by 41 per cent in the third quarter of 2017 alone, compared with the same period the previous year, officials said.

And Canada Post will be expected to look at how other countries have used weekend delivery or parcel lockers to bolster their postal service revenues.

The government will also be looking at ways to leverage the fact that Canada Post has a presence in even the smallest of Canadian communities, and could be used to deliver other government services.

Canada Post said it made a profit of roughly $81 million from all of its operations in 2016, down from $99 million in 2015.

A Liberal-dominated House of Commons committee recommended more than a year ago that the agency devise a plan to reinstate door-to-door delivery for households converted since 2014. But Canada Post estimated the price tag for doing that would reach $195 million, plus ongoing costs of about $90 million annually.

Under the new Liberal plan, community mailboxes will continue to be installed in new housing developments, a practice that’s been ongoing since the 1980s.
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Re: POSTAL BANKING: Chapter e-Petition fails . . . . .

Postby Oscar » Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:50 pm

Canada Post promise not broken, Trudeau maintains

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Liberals have halted postal plan set by Conservatives, but will not restore home delivery to those who lost it

By Elise von Scheel, CBC News Posted: Feb 02, 2018 4:00 AM ET| Last Updated: Feb 02, 2018 12:39 PM ET

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government didn't break a promise when it said it would not restore door-to-door mail delivery to households that had been converted to community mailboxes under the Harper government.

"We promised to stop Stephen Harper's conversion to community mailboxes, and we stopped conversion to community mailboxes," Trudeau said in an interview this week with Chris Hall, host of CBC Radio's The House.

Last week, the Trudeau government announced it would be scrapping the previous government's program to replace door-to-door mail delivery with community mailboxes as part of a broader plan to renew Canada Post.

However, the Liberals clarified that Canadians who have already been moved to community mailboxes wouldn't be getting their home delivery service back.

Two years earlier, in December 2015, then public services minister Judy Foote told the House of Commons that addresses converted to the community boxes would have door-to-door delivery service restored.

That was not the message relayed Jan. 24 by new Public Services Minister Carla Qualtrough, who has taken over from Foote.

Her statement seemed contrary to Trudeau's promise in September 2015, when he said he would "work to restore mail service to Canadians who expect it to be a proper service from their government and not a profit-making enterprise."

Trudeau made the promise as he stood with Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, who just weeks earlier in a highly publicized stunt had taken a jackhammer to a concrete slab meant to hold one of the new community mailboxes.


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Re: POSTAL BANKING: Chapter e-Petition fails . . . . .

Postby Oscar » Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:08 pm

Canada Post union pitches low-income bank, greener tech. But critics ask, who pays the bill?

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Unclear what proposals would cost, or if there would be support from management, public

Chris Arsenault · CBC News · Posted: Jan 20, 2019 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated: 7 hours ago

As arbitration grinds on at Canada Post following back-to-work legislation passed in November, the union has made a series of proposals beyond standard contract negotiations on wages and benefits: they want the Crown corporation to open a new bank for low-income people and turn the post office into a hub for green technology

With one of the country's largest vehicle fleets that could be converted from gas to electric power, 6,000 distribution outlets where electric car-charging stations for consumers could be built, and old buildings ready to be retrofitted with solar panels, the post office is well positioned to help Canada transition to a greener economy, said the union's president.

There's one major problem with the ambitious proposal, according to critics: Who's going to pay for it?

Debates over how institutions should reduce their carbon footprint — and how the changes should be financed — are playing out across the public and private sectors as leading scientists warn the world has just 12 years to drastically reduce emissions to avoid catastrophic climate change.

"Climate change is the biggest challenge facing humanity," Mike Palecek, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) said in an interview. "We have to address it ... Canada Post is the biggest piece of federal infrastructure, it has the largest vehicle fleet in the country, it would be a good place to start."

He couldn't say how much the proposals would cost.

Canada Post declined to comment on demands for a postal bank and the green retrofit. "With the arbitration process now underway, it would be inappropriate to comment on specific negotiations issues," a spokesperson told CBC News by email. "We are committed to the process and are fully engaged with the union and the arbitrator."

A government-appointed arbitrator is expected to announce a deal for a new contract in March, after workers on rotating strikes were legislated back to work in late November amid long delays for packages amid the Christmas delivery rush.

Banking on change

The proposed postal bank is aimed at rural residents, including First Nations, who often don't have easy access to a bank branch, said John Anderson, researcher with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a think-tank whose advocacy areas include reducing income inequality. It would also benefit low-income Canadians, including pensioners and the working poor who often depend on payday lenders for loans, cheque cashing and other financial services.

Popular in France, the U.K., Italy and other countries, postal banking in Canada would almost certainly be profitable, he said, citing a 2016 survey that suggested three million Canadians and about one-third of businesses would use financial services from the post office.

The post office already handles financial transactions, and the federal government runs other successful banking organizations, such as the Export Bank of Canada and Farm Credit Canada, Anderson added.

Canada's federal pension plan even invested in China's postal bank, he said, indicating that such plans are financially viable.

"The federal government — through its ownership of Canada Post — is the only body that could bring modern financial services to every community in Canada," Anderson said. "That would be great competition for the big banks, which are profitable partially because of the high service fees they charge compared to other banks worldwide."

Taxpayer interests

Canada Post hasn't been receptive to demands for the green retrofit or the postal bank, according to CUPW's president.

That's a good thing, said Alex Whalen, vice-president of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, a Halifax-based think-tank that supports reducing government spending.

"I don't think taxpayer interests would be served by those proposals," Whalen said. "The concern has to be that there are public dollars involved."

As a Crown corporation, Canada Post is required to be financially self-sustaining. With more than 60,000 employees, the company made a pre-tax profit of $74 million in 2017, largely due to increased parcel delivery thanks to Amazon, according to its financial statements. Investing in projects outside of its core mandate of delivering mail could jeopordize its profitability, Whalen said.

"If there were good returns in this kind of business, the private sector would already be doing it," Whalen said of the proposed postal bank. "If the union thinks this is a great idea, are they going to be an investor in the bank?"

Pension financing?

To finance the union's proposals, there is one obvious source of funds outside of asking taxpayers or the company: workers' pensions.

With about $25 billion under management, stocks in the big Canadian banks and oil companies — some of the very industries the union's proposals are trying to tackle — make up some of the largest investments for postal workers' pensions, according to 2017 financial statements.

The workers, however, have no say over how their pensions are invested, Paleck said. "We have no decision-making power whatsoever."

That situation isn't unusual for Canadian workers, said Tessa Hebb, a researcher at Carleton University's Centre for Community Innovation who specializes in responsible investing.

"Some representation from employees would be really beneficial, both for the positive components for adjusting to a low-carbon economy and also for the basic protections for workers," from bad decisions by pension fund managers, she said.

However, she cautions against the idea of using pension funds from CUPW to finance new initiatives at Canada Post like the postal bank or green retrofit.

"You don't want the pension funds to be constrained in investing in their own business," Hebb said. "The legal term for that is self-dealing."

Such moves have often hurt workers when the companies themselves face financial trouble and look to their employees' pension funds as a source of capital, she said, citing the examples of Sears and Nortel Networks.

In the U.S., pensions under union control — or funds jointly managed by workers and management — have made a series of profitable investments in green technologies or urban renewal projects like affordable housing, she said. And there's no reason why similar successes couldn't be replicated in Canada.

"Ten years ago, if you were a pension fund in California and you were an early investor in Tesla, you certainly made your money back and then some," Hebb said. "The shift to a low-carbon economy is going to bring forward some really interesting investment opportunities."
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Re: POSTAL BANKING: Chapter e-Petition fails . . . . .

Postby Oscar » Tue Sep 24, 2019 10:41 am

Greens propose to broaden Canada Post mandate to help serve rural communities

[ ... -1.4607735 ]

The Canadian Press Published Tuesday, September 24, 2019 11:11AM EDT

SACKVILLE, N.B. - The federal Greens are proposing to reimagine Canada Post, using its infrastructure to serve communities in different ways and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Party leader Elizabeth May is highlighting promises from her platform that would help rural and remote communities.

That includes developing a national transportation strategy, with a zero-carbon goal for public ground transportation in Canada by 2040.

May says the Greens would upgrade Canada Post's fleet to electric vehicles.

The Greens also want to give postal carriers the mandate to check in on people with mobility issues or live alone, particularly during extreme heat and storms.

May says a Green government would help Canada Post establish banking services, provide public high-speed internet access in post offices, and set up electric vehicle charging stations in its parking lots.
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