Category Archives: Canada Post

Canada Post Claims, “We Service Canadians with Pride and Passion”

One of Canada’s Post’s fleet of mini mail trucks. Instead of our posties collecting the pre-sorted mail for their routes from the secure corner boxes (now largely disappeared), they now sort their own mail in the mini trucks and do all sorts of other tasks once done by specialized help. If you peer in the passenger side of one of these trucks, often you can see high priority mail just sitting there unattended, as the postie walks his/her route.

One of Canada’s Post’s fleet of mail trucks. Instead of our posties collecting the pre-sorted mail for their routes from the secure corner boxes (largely a thing of the past), they now sort their own mail in their mini trucks and do all sorts of other tasks once done by specialized help. If you peer in the passenger side of one of these trucks, often you can see high priority mail just sitting there unattended, as the postie walks his/her route. Canada Post leaves the postie few options. Ordinary posties also often are tasked these days with clearing corner post boxes, once a separate job, but now being eliminated where possible to improve the bottom line at the expense of having a real postal service.

Canada Post is a huge organization. According to Wikipedia: “Canada Post provided service to 15.7 million addresses and delivered more than 9 billion items in 2014 and consolidated revenue from operations reached $7.98 billion.” Ordinary citizens (who own the outfit and pay its 65,000 of employees very generously) and innumerable small businesses, however, continue to be punished daily by Canada Post management and labour. So much for the “service” part of the Canada Post slogan that heads this item, right. With CANAV Books, for example, the poor service has not improved since we began campaigning years ago — writing letters to Canada Post in Ottawa, discussing on the phone with its representatives, blogging, etc. Lately, things are worse than ever — there’s no consistency even to the simple process of delivering a letter to someone’s house.

For one thing, there are the rates. Sadly, nothing much can be done about Canada’s exorbitant postal rates and it’s the same picture almost anywhere in the world. These rates have driven many small mail order operators out of the picture. CANAV Books barely holds on. It’s tough to sell a $30 book, when the cheapest postal rate to the West Coast is in the $20 range. Canada Post, sad to say, doesn’t worry about which small company it drives out of business next. This goes back to whenever it was that Canada Post decided that postal service no longer was a vital, national, public right, but a new government “profit centre”. So … if a service doesn’t make money, reduce or eliminate it as necessary.

Canada Post’s ivory tower people live in their comfy dreamland, while CUPW (another ivory tower outfit) plans new ways to undermine its postal bosses up there at 2701 Riverside Drive, Ottawa. Who are we in the process? Nothing much more than suckers stuck in the middle. We 36,000,000 owners of Canada Post just keep getting all the crap in ever more smelly ways.

Through it all, CANAV Books somehow has survived. We started with our best selling book, The Avro CF-100, in 1981, right in the jaws of an ugly CUPW strike, so all CANAV could do was wait for this particular horror story to settle. The only hope of a solution was that Canadians still could ship to the US and overseas (rates were affordable the those times) by driving their mail across the border to be handled by US Post. To serve my good customers, I made such trips in 1981 and during subsequent postal strikes.

USA and offshore business today

Once a vital part of CANAV operations, 99% of the world no longer is a market for our books. This is solely due to postal rates. To ship a single copy from the “Aviation in Canada” series anywhere in the European Union, for example, doubles the sticker price of the book. The most avid EU aviation bibliophile these days throws up his hands in despair. It’s a done deal … thanks, Canada Post. All the way down the line, this sad story can be felt through ever-smaller print runs and fewer titles gestating. Paper makers, ink and glue suppliers, printers and binders, truckers, warehousers and many others gradually feel the pinch. Bottom line … today’s postal rates are retrogressive.

Door to Door Delivery

Back in 2009 I still was praising Canada Post for its door-to-door delivery. Certainly in the M4E postal code, that no longer is the case and, judging by the uproar in other postal codes across Canada, M4E is no aberration. Over the past two to three years service has deteriorated to the “pitiful” level, what with every neighbour in M4E regularly receiving other people’s mail. Neighbours regularly bring CANAV mail to my door, and these thoughtful citizens aren’t exactly receiving CUPW benefits. Neither are they obliged to re-direct wrongly delivered mail (some do not, so we all lose valuable letters, etc. – talk about the unthinkable). Last month I did not get my usual bank statements and other important banking mail that always comes in the same week. Where is it? Last week I received a neighbour’s Census papers. Great, eh, since Census Canada threatens the citizenry with $500 fines and/or jail time, should someone not file a census report on time. Guaranteed, other Canadians did not receive their census paperwork on account of Canada Post.

Once, when I discussed mail delivery foul-ups with a Canada Post employee I was told: “Get to love it. This is Canada Post’s new “Get to Know Your Neighbours Program”. Very funny, Mr. $500,000-a-year Canada Post potentate CEO, Deepak Chopra. More recently, when I nicely enquired of a letter carrier about the frequent mis-delivery of mail in M4E, the answer was, “It’s those guys down at the sortation plant. They give us the wrong mail or it’s in the wrong order”. What?! Isn’t it the letter carrier’s actual DUTY to actually read the address on each piece of mail? Or is this (along, perhaps, with literacy) no longer a job requirement at Canada Post?

 

Canada’s Post’s new “open air” mail delivery was introduced to M4E on May 6, 2016. The peasantry is not impressed.

Here’s the latest little curve ball. Recently my letter carrier (these folks now change like the weather, gone is the letter carrier who held a route for years and became a beloved community member) has decided not to use the mail slot in my door. For 46 years letter carriers have understood the basic function of the mail-slot-in-the-door. Now, CANAV’s mail some days simply is dropped on the open porch floor (see above unstaged photo). With this new glitch I now have to hope that I can catch all my cheques, orders, legal and government documents, letters from grand kids, etc., before they blow away.

This spring Canada Post is once again re-thinking door-to-door delivery. As if that wasn’t bound to happen, following the corporation’s disastrous community mailbox program. The PM promised some action during his election campaign, so good on him. On May 5 the Winnipeg Free Press ran this headline, “Door-to-door delivery up for debate as Liberals order review of Canada Post”. The item begins, “Canadians could once again find mail at their doors after what the government says will be a sweeping review of every business line at Canada Post …”

This can’t hurt, considering how the previous government had zero interest, except to support Canada Post’s profit vs service fixation. It watched unconcerned as Canada Post ran down in the general direction of Somalia standards (no mail delivery there for 23 years). Now, according to the Free Press, change is in the wind. Minister Judy Foote explains, “We need to hear from Canadians what it is they need and Canadians are responsible” Wow, eh!

Well, Minister Foote, you are hearing from this Canadian. Feel free to drop by any time for a chitchat about Canada Post and how vital it still is for any country that’s going anywhere, e.g., to the key building blocks that spell civilization – education, healthcare, postal service, national defence, transportation infrastructure, etc. You just cannot remove one of these essentials and still have a strong, healthy society.

One of my suggestions last year to Canada Post was that it might seriously take a look at the mission statement of the Bangladeshi Post Office. Bangladesh (at least on paper) seems to have an action plan for postal service. Here’s an excerpt that should really make you hang your heads at Canada Post: “Bangladesh Post office is a government-owned department dedicated to provide a wide range of postal products and public services. It is the premier national postal communication service holding together a vast country with a large population. Bangladesh Post Office is committed to provide a speedy, reliable and regular service to the people of all walks of life at a reasonable cost.”

What do you think, Minister Foote? Mightn’t this work for Canada, too? It sure as heck used to “back in the day”, when few countries had a postal service as effective as Canada’s, and when a slogan such as “We Service Canadians with Pride and Passion”  actually would have rung true.

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*UPDATE* The Peasantry Is Grovelling for Its Mail

To: Canada Post CEO Deepak of the $500,000 annual salary.

Dear Sire,

We peasants out here would be ever so grateful if you could organize your people a bit better. Please do whatever’s necessary to get them bundled up and out on their walks, braving our great Canadian winter, as in days of yore, to deliver the Queen’s mail.

Down here in M4E delivery remains hit-and-miss long after the ice storm, good sire — no mail today January 24, none yesterday. How can CANAV Books serve its customers (or stay in business), when Canada Post is on vacation, “or whatever”,  oblivious to the nation’s welfare?

This good taxpayer in Newmarket is also up against it (I like her part about the contract … good one, eh!):
Canada Post Letter TorStar 23-1-2014
P.S. Paging CUPW (Canadian Union of Postal Workers) … any chance y’all might be able to assist with a bit of creative initiative in getting some regular service at M4E, lest His Royal Highness Deepak in Ottawa is too busy with more important duties? 
Thanks again to the Toronto Star for exposing Canada Post back on January 9 and 10: “Canada Post Scrambles to Restore Service”, “Chopra Keeps Quiet on Delivery Delays”, “Canada Post, Pearson Fumble Crisis Control”, etc. But the Star shouldn’t quit on this topic — there’s likely a bigger, nastier side to what’s on the surface.
P.P.S. I wrote to my MP about this important issue and quickly received a personal response. So bravo to MP Kellway, right! Here is his informative reply:
Thank you for contacting our office about this important matter. My staff has had many calls from constituents about not receiving mail consistently, and they are looking into this and keeping track of the postal codes that are affected.  One of the replies that Canada Post has been giving when we enquire about lack of delivery is that letter carriers have been sick and not been replaced. This is unacceptable as a practice, given that as you point out, lack of delivery impacts both individuals and small businesses.
On January 28, Olivia Chow made the following statement on the defeat of her motion to maintain door-to-door delivery:
“For over a century, Canadians have depended on Canada Post. With Conservatives’ approval, Canada Post executives are planning to cut mail delivery, hike prices, reduce rural post office hours and kill jobs. A responsible government would have proposed solutions to improve service and attract new customers. Other countries have utilized innovations such as e-commerce and financial services to generate more revenue. Now under the Conservatives, Canada will be the only G7 country without door-to-door mail delivery.
New Democrats know that reliable, affordable and accessible mail delivery is vital to Canadians. This is why we immediately recalled the Transportation Committee for an emergency meeting to review the implications of Canada Post’s disastrous decision. Today NDP’s motion generated a full day of debate in the House of Commons in support of the maintenance of this valuable service. By voting against the NDP motion, the Conservatives are ignoring the wishes of ordinary Canadians and small businesses. Instead, they are listening only to Canada Post’s CEO, who claimed that seniors need to get more exercise to pick up their mail. What nonsense.”
If you would keep track of the days that you do not receive mail, that would be useful information. Thank you for writing to me, and thank you for your kind words. Matthew Kellway, MP  Beaches – East York www.matthewkellway.ca

For February 3, 2014, folks, Canada Post got the mail delivered to CANAV Books at 2100 hours (9:00 PM). When I looked out, I saw the letter carrier navigating with a flashlight, so it really is a sitcom these days with Canada Post and CUPW (which has not responded to my challenge).

CANAV received zero mail on February 4, no surprise, since the weather was a teenie bit off. For the 5th, somehow Canada Post/CUPW miraculously arrived here about 1700 hours with a hefty load of pizza flyers. Great, eh … pizza flyers at about $50-$75 per hour in labour cost to the taxpayer. So thank you ever so much Deepak Chopra and CUPW, you’re real Canadian heroes and we small business enterprises can sleep peacefully.

Trick question: Is the sound of Canada Post and CUPW delivering the mail Canada’s sound of freedom? Not sure, but for the USA that would be the roar of the crowd at the Super Bowel or the Thunderbirds going into afterburner at the CNE airshow.

For February 6, 2014 your poor old scribe blogs: CITY News in Toronto has done an excellent report  http://www.citynews.ca/2014/02/05/exclusive-complaints-of-mail-delivery-disruptions-spread-through-gta/ about the disaster that is Canada Post (covers both sides – labour and management, each of which furiously and moronically blames the other for everything wrong with the universe — you’ve just got to see Canada Post mouthpiece John Hamilton straight-out lying to CITY News. In this important item you can see the very best in Canada Post and CUPW obfuscation to us, their bosses (for whom no one in Canada Post/CUPW has a miligram of respect). There are also many tweets to CITY News in reaction, some very good from the we hardpressed victims, others (sad to say) from the foaming-at-the-mouth Canada Post factions.

Both sides are picking our pockets of billions in taxation for which mail delivery supposedly is the end result. So where’s our mail (no mail today for CANAV, by the way)!

CANAV again challenges Canada Post and CUPW to face the fact that they are no longer capable of doing the simple, age-old task of delivering mail (although they sure do get the pizza flyers delivered). So … do something somebody, even if it means contracting the Bangladeshi Post Office with its excellent business model. Get some decent people in who enjoy a solid day’s work for a fair paycheque. Dump the labour and management yahoo potentates, who are blinded by such a loathing for one and other that our mail ends up in long-term storage,while they take another sick day due to their feelings having been hurt, or whatever.

February 7 A fistful of mail today including several orders — orders that should have been shipped by now!

February 14 Today CITY News in Toronto reported on the on-going mail delays. In typical fashion, the Harper Government laughed this off. Of course, what else would the bozos do. It’s their way — insult and belittle the people of Canada at every opportunity. Do yourself and Canada a favour and do not vote next time for that arrogant potentate Harper or any of his underlings. Here is CITY News’ excellent report:

The Conservatives faced questions on Friday about delayed mail delivery and ongoing problems with Canada Post.

During Question Period in the House of Commons, Scarborough-Rouge River MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan said she and her counterparts from across the GTA have been fielding complaints from their constituents about the apparent backlog.

“After the ice storm, Toronto experienced widespread mail delivery delays. It took Canada Post weeks to respond,” Sitsabaiesan said.

“Well Mr. Speaker constituents from across my riding are still reporting mail delays and I’m not alone. MPs from all over Toronto are fielding complaints. When a two-day delivery turns into a six-day delivery, cheques arrive late and bills don’t get paid … What is the minister doing to fix the mail delivery delays in Toronto?”

The government again said Canada Post’s operations were not in its purview.

“I would simply point out that Canada Post Corporation is an independent Crown corporation,” said Jeff Watson, parliamentary secretary to the minister of transport.

“It operates arms-length from the government and is responsible for its day-to-day operational decisions including these. If [Sitsabaiesan] has a service complaint, she may want to direct it to Canada Post.”

Canada Post, meanwhile, continues to say there are no problems with its service and at most there may be delays of one to two days. It claims weather and absenteeism is to blame.

CityNews continues to receive a flood of emails and phone calls from angry citizens who say they aren’t receiving mail. CityNews has heard complaints from downtown Toronto to Guelph, from Windsor to as far as Saskatoon as stories about late mail fill the newsroom inbox.

Hello Ottawa … Is Anybody Up There? Help! Canada Post is Screwing Us. Somebody Make Them Stop!

2009_Lest_We_Forget_StampCanadians get a deal when mailing a first-class letter at $0.54 + GST. The rate is fair and the service fine. But that seems to be where fairness ends at Canada Post. All other rates are horrendous rip-offs. I’m amazed that there hasn’t been an huge outcry from Tofino to Resolute Bay to Pelee Island to Telegraph Hill.

So often, while in that inevitable line-up at Canada Post, I’ve seen people mailing the smallest parcel domestically and paying out $8.00 – $12.00. Quite often the postage exceeds the value of what you’re mailing! Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed.

Even worse, the Canada Post customer service person usually will offer you a list of options: next day, 3-5 days, whatever. These are all costlier than the lowest available. The customer often will, without really thinking, agree to some higher rate with the prospect of faster service.

Speedier delivery, which the customer rarely needs, is not assured in spite of the surcharge. If only the customer would just stop to consider the options. For the lowest rate, his/her parcel will get there fast (often within 1 or 2 days in a range of 800 – 1000 km, regardless of a threat from Canada Post of “7 to 10 business days”, etc. And anyway … what’s the big problem with 7 – 10 business days 99.99% of the time?

So look, good people, you’re getting hosed at the cheapest rate to begin. Don’t let them pick your pocket and make you look like a total ninny. And 99.99% of the time — don’t go for the added “insurance” they love to get you to buy.

You get an automatic $100 insurance coverage when you ship cheapest, regardless. Something else to consider: you add a whack of extra insurance and your parcel gets lost or damaged (this almost never happens — having shipped books to thousands to readers around the world, I know this to be true). Good luck trying to settle a claim with Canada Post. Getting to first base would mean finding someone to talk to on the telephone about your claim. Fat chance of that ever happening, right! Yes, there’s a lot to think about when mailing the least little parcel within Canada. Main thing is, start putting the squeeze on Canada Post for a change — turn the tables. Ship cheapest and be sure even to complain like hell about that.

This brings me to the next beef … mailing to the USA. Canada Post USA rates now are so horrendous that a small Canadian business such as CANAV Books can pretty well write off the American market. I used to be able to mail a book, say to Texas, at some half-affordable rate. Today, to mail one copy of any of CANAV’s titles across the border the cheapest cost is anywhere from $20 to $30. Do you think the reader will go for this? Well, people have their limits, so nearly all of the USA business lovingly built up by CANAV since 1981 has disappeared. My diehard customers will still get their books, but only when they are on a trip to Vancouver, Toronto, etc., where they can drop into Aviation World or some such outlet featuring CANAV.

Meanwhile, in the USA the folks in Washington have some respect for small businesses, publishers included. They realize the importance of this huge sector in their economy. They prefer to nurture rather than crush it. (Listen up, Stephen Harper — you used to champion the small businessman, remember? Probably not, eh.) Today, I received in the mail an aviation book ordered from Arizona. This was charged at the 1 kg rate (approx) and the postage was $4.03 — a fair and civilized rate. For me to send the same book back to Arizona, thanks to our beloved Public Enemy No.1 Canada Post the cost would be between $12.65 and $13.95 plus fuel surcharge. Talk about your world-class cash grab and what a disgrace!

As for mailing anywhere across the pond or the bigpond, you can forget about that if you’re trying to sell your small-business product. CANAV has almost no overseas customers left (it now costs about $85.00 to mail by boat one set of Air Transport in Canada to some destination like Australia). The surface rates are so high that even my former EU customers (the EU — where the price of everything’s sky high) are horrified. A couple of Dutchmen have even gone ballistic, chewing me out personally, as if I was the one setting the rates, instead of the mafia (oh well, they’d never have been able to get through to Canada Post to lodge a complaint, so may as well blast the publisher).

Good citizens that they all are, it is ever so hard for Canadians to complain … just ain’t gonna happen. What we are best at is muttering under our breath, but never really standing up and demanding a revolution. We’re just happy getting screwed by the government, I guess, so bring on the HST. What not, eh … tax us a ton more, we love it.

Well, failing all else, think about “The Great Canada Post Rip-Off” next time you’re at the postal counter. But don’t let them screw you completely … take the lowest rate available with no add-ons. Try it, you’ll like it!

Bell Canada: A Laugh a Minute

After nearly 30 years with Bell, CANAV Books recently switched to a rival telephone service. This was easily done, but then came the reality of it.

Last week Bell sent CANAV a little “customer appreciation” note — a $316.05 bill to disconnect the old line. No kidding … to exercise its right to do business elsewhere, CANAV gets mugged by Bell. Well, nothing to do but pay up, right (you can be sure if you dillydallied, Bell soon would have its enforcers at you door).

So CANAV coughed up and so far so good with Vonage. Suddenly, however, here’s Bell back on your doorstep. CANAV receives the sweetest card in the mail from one Peter Kerr — “Vice-President, Marketing, Small Business Market, Bell”. Peter’s got an idea:

“Dear Larry Milberry … Your business means a lot to us and we’re sorry to see you go … we’re still thinking about you. Nothing would please us more than the chance to earn back your business …”

Can you believe this? “Ma Bell” mugs a loyal old customer, then comes straight back in sack cloth and ashes, begging to be taken back in! Well, fat chance, eh! But let’s say CANAV did fall for this con. What likely would be on the first invoice from Bell? Right on …  a $316.05 “re-connect service fee”. Aren’t they just the finest Canadians down at Bell?

Canada Post’s boo-boo: A tail-less Silver Dart!

2009_silver-dart-stamp

The Toronto Sun’s Peter Worthington had this piece last week about Canada Post‘s new commemorative stamp marking the 100th anniversary of the Silver Dart, which was the first heavier-than-air machine to fly in Canada.

These stamp stories have been circulating lately, mainly about how the artist totally left the tail off the Canada Post plane. Talk about a boo-boo! That’s the real topic and the one that Jack Minor, retired RCAF and Silver Dart aficionado, should be grousing about. It’s probably not a “mistake” that the image of Douglas McCurdy on the first-day cover was used. My guess is that it was used because it’s such a nice picture of McCurdy, probably the best of him in any airplane. The McCurdy Biplane was a basic Curtiss design, likely built in Curtiss’ workshop in Hammondsport, NY. It was a far better plane than the Silver Dart.

Well, I’d say this just makes the first-day cover more interesting, as the collectors always love something to gossip about. I like the looks of the new stamp regardless of it being non-airworthy without a tail, and bought 4000, which I’ve been using on a mini-mailout. I’ll use the rest for the spring mailing (keep your eyes peeled!). Supposedly, the print run was small, maybe three million, so collectors will be loving these stamps for the next few centuries. Collectors really got off on the Canada Post stamp years ago showing an Air Canada Boeing 767 without engines! Now that’s pushing artistic licence…

There’s a version of the 767 called the 767 ER (extended range). Air Canada pilots call the plane on the stamp a 767 ER for another reason, ER standing for “engines removed”! Once when Canada Post botched a commemorative, they corrected the art and re-issued the stamp. Guess what that did to the value of the originals? Well, the philatelic folks just thrive on this stuff. Let’s see if CP re-issues the Silver Dart stamp.

Also great fun is how I wrote a year ago to Canada Post asking if they were planning to do an aviation commemorative for 2009. I’m still waiting to hear back about that! Any of our knowledgeable aviation history people sure could have saved Canada Post from putting out the tail-less Silver Dart stamp, if only they’d ask or answer their mail! Ah well, I guess that’s the Ottawa way…