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The Progressive Economics Forum

Canada Post: A Billion-Dollar Boondoggle?

One of the most frequently repeated claims in coverage of yesterday’s Canada Post announcement is that the Crown corporation is on track to lose a billion dollars annually by the decade’s end. This apprehended threat to taxpayers supposedly justifies the complete elimination of door-to-door mail delivery.

The Conference Board made this billion-dollar projection earlier this year in a report commissioned by Canada Post management. But as the Canadian Union of Postal Workers pointed out at the time and as I noted on last night’s Power & Politics (video below), the Conference Board got to a billion dollars in 2020 by starting from an assumed loss of $250 million in 2012. In fact, Canada Post turned a modest profit in 2012.

Declining letter volumes do pose a major challenge to Canada Post. An alternative to service cuts would be to provide new services through the Crown corporation’s existing network of post offices, such as postal banking. We should consider these options rather than being bowled over by the Conference Board’s large but dubious round number.

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Comments

Comment from duncan cameron
Time: December 12, 2013, 10:05 pm

Well done Erin, exposing the Conference Board study.
Anybody commenting on breaking issues should check rabble.ca. Our piece on #CanadaPost by Dave Bush was up within minutes of the announcement about ending home delivery. Basic info is no longer a pre-requisite for mainstream commentary or reporting, sadly. Bush had what was needed to refute the story being spun by the management of Canada Post.
To think the government attack CUPW the week all their important solidarity work with South Africa was shoved into the background. The CUPW President should have been on the Canadian delegation to the Mandela celebration of life.

Comment from Travis Fast
Time: December 17, 2013, 3:26 pm

I think Erin should also be commended for his bold suggestion that a Crown Corp expand it range of services.

Dynamic publicly owned companies, what a wonderful idea!

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