Public Values

Rural and remote Canadians suffer if postal services deregulated

Trends worry municipal leaders, so 329 adopt CUPW resolutions to date.

Smaller communities are the ones most affected if a post office closes - George Floresco, CUPW.More than 300 municipalities across Canada have adopted resolutions being circulated by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW). One calls on the federal government to instruct Canada Post to stop cutting public postal service and jobs and start "acting like the public service people want it to be."

Municipalities adopting the resolutions have all written letters to Rob Merrifield, the Minister responsible for Canada Post, calling for a stop to plans to cut public postal service and work with the public and stakeholders on plans to "dramatically improve" postal service.

To date, 329 municipalities, mostly rural and remote communities, have adopted the resolution.

"This is not the result of short-term effort," CUPW Vice President George Floresco told Straight Goods News. "We've been contacting municipalities for a very long time and really got a lot of support from them when Canada Post was doing its strategic review." He says support came especially from smaller communities, "where people realize how much they rely on their post office. It's a vital part of the community."

"Smaller communities are the ones most affected if a post office closes and the ones most in need of expanded postal services, said Floresco. "Aboriginal and remote communities and people who don't have access to banking and other services rely on their post offices heavily," he said. Online commerce, for example, has produced growing demand for postal service in remote areas. "Private companies won't set up offices and provide service in those regions. We believe we need to maintain the pressure for a universal public postal service, and an expanded one."

Canada is under pressure from the EU to deregulate postal services, which Floresco says is driven by demands from giant delivery companies. "A number of countries, Switzerland, for example, are defying the EU directive, so it's not even going down well even in Europe."

Floresco says the European experience is that "When private sector firms come in, they come into large cities. They don't come into rural areas. That puts more pressure on the post office in rural areas to provide service while the private companies skim the cream providing urban service."

Click here to get a copy of the resolution.

Posted: October 20, 2010

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