I have worked at Canada Post for almost 34 years and I currently work at a Canada Post Corporate Outlet in Dartmouth. Whether you’re sending or receiving mail or parcels, you’re counting on our reliable and self-sustaining postal system for your family’s needs or your business. I’m one of the 50,000 people who make that system work every day.
In 2013, when the previous government tried to cut door-to door-delivery of mail, I spoke out. I took action with my union, our neighbours, and community organizations. I spoke before the Parliamentary Committee that conducted the review of Canada Post when they were in Halifax on October 4, 2016.
Many of you stood with us and together we stopped further cuts! We’re still calling for a better post office, and fighting for services that you and your neighbours can rely on. We are advancing many ideas to Canada Post that are sustainable for the future and more relevant than ever.
Postal banking, for one, is where post offices offer banking services — everything from paying bills and managing savings accounts, to mortgages, loans, insurance, investments and more.
Currently there are thousands of towns, villages, and indigenous communities without even one bank branch, some that have even lost their last ATM. But many of them do have a post office that could provide financial services. A 2014 study by the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association (CPAA) found that there are almost 1,200 rural communities with a post office but without a single bank or credit union.
Meanwhile, nearly 2 million Canadians are relying on payday lenders and their predatory fees. Even those of us who can use the big banks are paying some of the highest service fees in the world. We need another option.
Postal banking is a proven success, operating in sixty-one countries around the world. Some of them contribute a significant share of their postal service’s revenue, making them a key to the long-term viability of these important services. Some also have a social mandate – to make sure everyone has access to affordable banking.
That’s why postal banking is part of a bold coalition vision that we want you to know more about: Delivering Community Power. In It, postal workers and allies propose using the postal service as part of the solution to a variety of environmental, economic and social issues.
Delivering Community Power proposes new services at Canada Post like grocery delivery, affordable broadband internet access in communities that currently lack it, and postal-worker check in on seniors so that they can live longer in their own homes. It would transform Canada Post into a renewable-powered, efficient system, with an electrified vehicle fleet, building retrofits and improvements, and other green initiatives.
Altogether the vision would lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a highly visible example of the green transformation we all need to make, and support for decent, stable jobs in communities across the country. All while keeping your letters and parcels flowing at affordable rates.
We’re here to serve you and we’re pushing for better postal services for everyone. We’ve taken some of these ideas into our current round of collective bargaining with Canada Post. I hope that, like in the past, you’ll stand with us: call on your member of Parliament to implement postal banking, and support us in our negotiations with Canada Post.
This piece was first published by the Nova Scotia Advocate.