Post office restores normal delivery times as mediated talks fail

Post office restores normal delivery times as mediated talks fail

OTTAWA — The restoration of delivery service guarantees by Canada Post — three weeks after striking postal workers were forced back to work — proves the shipment backlogs Ottawa used to justify legislating an end to rotating walkouts were “fiction,” says the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

The Crown agency announced Tuesday it had caught up on most parcel delivery backlogs that had been created by the sporadic labour disruptions that began Oct. 22.

As a result, the corporation said its normal holiday service commitments were being restored across most of Canada, except the West Coast.

“With continued progress, we are now in a position to restore our normal holiday delivery service guarantees for much of the country,” Canada Post said in a statement.

“This means Canadians can expect normal holiday delivery timelines for parcels. The exception remains items headed to or departing Vancouver as backlogs there continue to cause additional delays.”

The announcement came as the mediation process aimed at bridging the impasse between the post office and its unionized employees came to an abrupt end.

The federal government legislated an end to job action by postal workers on Nov. 27 after Canada Post complained that a backlog of parcels had reached historic levels ahead of the crucial holiday shopping period.

At the time, Canada Post warned the backlog could take until the end of January to clear up.

The fact that service delivery guarantees are being restored just three weeks after back-to-work legislation was passed proves the parcel backlogs being claimed by Canada Post were an illusion, said CUPW national president Mike Palecek.

“The reports that we’ve been getting, and are still getting, is that our plants are not even operating at capacity,” Palecek said in an interview.

“We have places where (Canada Post) is offering members leave without pay to go home because they don’t have work. So I wouldn’t just question the backlog, I would say it was total fiction.”

Canada Post said it delivered about four million packages between last Friday and Monday of this week, and will likely be able to deliver items ordered online in time for Christmas.

It credited a lack of incoming packages — rather than a non-existent backlog — for the faster-than-expected pace of deliveries.

“Incoming holiday parcel volumes continue to be down over 2017, and significantly below projections for this year,” the agency said.

“As a result, our fully-enacted holiday delivery plans, which were built to deliver the projected double-digit parcel growth from online shopping this holiday season, continue to help our operations catch up.”

Still, the corporation warned, whether packages arrive before Christmas will also depend on where the parcels are coming from. Some shipments from outside Canada might only be delivered in early January.

During the walkouts, Canada Post requested that its foreign partners halt deliveries to Canada while job action was underway. That request was lifted after postal workers were legislated back to their jobs.

Under the back-to-work bill, a mediator-arbitrator was appointed to attempt reaching new collective agreements at Canada Post.

But a week of talks aided by former Canada Industrial Relations Board chair Elizabeth MacPherson were halted Tuesday with both sides too far apart to extend the negotiations for another seven days, as was an option under the legislation.

Palecek said there was no movement on the union’s key demands, which include health and safety concerns and calls for equality measures, during the talks.

A spokeswoman for Labour Minister Patty Hajdu said the government was “disappointed” the two sides were unable to reach negotiated agreements, but noted the bill sets out a path to bring the dispute to an end.

“The legislation outlines guiding principles for a new collective agreement, which will ensure that a fair and balanced deal is arbitrated for the parties,” Veronique Simard said in a statement.

MacPherson is now expected to begin a process in January that will result in arbitrated settlements being imposed on Canada Post and its 42,000 urban carriers and 8,000 rural and suburban employees.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta declines Ontario’s request to send health-care workers

Alberta is “not in a position” to send health-care workers out of… Continue reading

The Red Deer Rebels allowed four straight goals from the Medicine Hat Tigers Friday night on the road. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers hand Red Deer Rebels 10th straight loss

Tigers 4 Rebels 2 Through 17 games in the shortened WHL season,… Continue reading

Meghan Huizing has been selected by Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools as a finalist for the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) 2021 Edwin Parr Award. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Regional Catholic Schools)
Red Deer Catholic names finalist for Edwin Parr Award

Meghan Huizing from St. Gregory the Great Catholic School in Blackfalds has… Continue reading

GrammaLink-Africa members are participating in the Stride to Turn the Tide campaign until June 30. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer group walking to raise money for African grandmothers

A group of central Albertans will be walking every day until the… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Montreal Canadiens' Tyler Toffoli celebrates his goal past Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom during second-period NHL hockey action in Montreal on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Toffoli scores twice, Canadiens put some distance on Flames with 2-1 win

Toffoli scores twice, Canadiens put some distance on Flames with 2-1 win

Canadian prop Jake Ilnicki savouring life in Seattle, looks forward to facing Arrows

Canadian prop Jake Ilnicki savouring life in Seattle, looks forward to facing Arrows

Corey Conners, of Canada, hits out of a bunker on the seventh hole during the final round of the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Sunday, April 11, 2021. Conners notched six birdies on his back nine to take the lead after his second round of the RBC Heritage on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Matt Slocum
Canadian Corey Conners surges into lead at PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage

Canadian Corey Conners surges into lead at PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage

Patrick Marleau poised to break Gordie Howe’s games record

Patrick Marleau poised to break Gordie Howe’s games record

Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada serves to Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic in round 1 of the Rogers Cup women's tennis tournament in Toronto, Monday August 5, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch
Rebecca Marino propels Canada into 2-0 lead over Serbia at Billie Jean King Cup

Rebecca Marino propels Canada into 2-0 lead over Serbia at Billie Jean King Cup

Dalton Kellett pulls out of the pits during a practice session for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in Indianapolis, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. Dalton Kellett is pleased his second career season in IndyCar will be different than his first, which started on an elaborate iRacing rig in his home office in Indianapolis because of COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Darron Cummings
Canada’s Dalton Kellett set for a more stable season as an IndyCar driver

Canada’s Dalton Kellett set for a more stable season as an IndyCar driver

Canada head coach Bev Priestman reacts during the women's international friendly soccer match between England and Canada at Bet365 stadium in Stoke on Trent, England, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Rui Vieira
Canadian women get peek at their possible road at Olympic soccer tournament

Canadian women get peek at their possible road at Olympic soccer tournament

Head coach John Tait talks to his team as Canada takes on Japan in women's sevens rugby action at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Rugby Canada says probe into complaint from members of women’s 7s team is complete

Rugby Canada says probe into complaint from members of women’s 7s team is complete

Most Read