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Editorials

City Council Versus Canada Post My Perspective

Saturday, January 11, 2014   by: Mac Headrick

At Monday’s meeting of City Council a discussion will be held on the recently announced cuts to Canada Post. Councillors Terry Sheehan (Ward Two) and Joe Krmpotich (Ward Six) have released a notice of motion to have this issue debated. While I do not disagree with any of the points raised by the Councillors I believe City Council could take another course of action that would be more productive. I intend to outline my point of view on this issue in today’s column. 

I believe a brief refresher course is needed on the decision of the Canadian government to eliminate home delivery. In the last federal election Sault Ste Marie choose to elect Bryan Hayes as the candidate for the Conservative Party. At last we had a member of a ruling majority party. According to many Saultites vast economic benefits would be realized by this decision. 

A large part of the attraction of the Conservative Party is their ability to handle the economy. The center piece to their economic philosophy is the reduction of the deficit. I am not an economist but I believe that there are basically two ways to reduce the deficit. One is to have a robust economy that increases revenues of which a portion is allocated to reducing the deficit. That has not occurred yet. The second way is to reduce spending which includes the elimination of services/jobs. In other words the elimination of home postal delivery and the relevant employment is the result of the Conservatives doing what they were elected to do. Ladies and gentlemen the above events are happening because we voted for them. Now it is true I do not recall the elimination of full time jobs stressed and promoted by the local Conservative Association last election. I (we) must have missed that part. 

The Conservative Party has stated they are the best choice to manage the economy. What we in the Sault are experiencing now is short term pain for long term gain. Unfortunately the Canadian economy lost approximately 46,000 full time jobs in December 2013. The unemployment rate in Ontario is presently 7.9%. Last year was the weakest year of job growth since 2009. The above stats raise two questions. When will Canada realize the long term gain? Secondly will Sault Ste Marie be able to participate in the recovery if and when it occurs? It could be just my perception but I believe any job loss is much more significant in a Northern Ontario community than a large urban center. Up until now under Bryan Hayes watch, Sault Ste Marie has seen a steady elimination of federal services staffed by local employees. 

In my opening paragraph I mentioned that our City Council could perhaps contribute in a positive way in regards to job creation in our community. Before I outline the specific course of action I have in mind I wish to state the following. There are many things I like about the present Council. I believe they have achieved a reasonable balance in maintaining city services relative to tax increases. I appreciate the manner in which they respectively debate issues at council meetings. They do an excellent job in representing their ward residents that have complaints. The list goes on. There is one area in which they could improve in my opinion. 

Mark Barsanti was sworn in as the Sault Ste Marie Chamber of Commerce President at Mondays City Council meeting of January 6/2014. Mr. Barsanti made some very salient points in his speech to Council: the need for Council and the Chamber to work closely together; the importance of young entrepreneurs to establish or expand their businesses etc. The most important and relevant thing Mr. Barsanti stated in my opinion is below. I am quoting from the Sault Today article dated January 7/2014.

 “For sure land development is an issue…it seems quite difficult to expand property, a lot of zoning issues here in the Sault”. 

“There are issues with land rezoning, licensing, NIMBYism…sometimes you have to take unpopular decision that are good for a community as a whole, and that’s a difficult thing for City Council to do in a small community.”

 I will be the first to acknowledge that asking elected officials to support a global view of the city versus ward concerns is difficult. What other choice do we have? It is obvious job creation hasn’t resulted from decisions made in Ottawa. Perhaps this situation may reverse itself in the future. We can only hope. Sault Ste Marie placed 41st out of 73 communities (150,000 populations or less) rated to be business friendly in a recent survey. In another survey of Northern Ontario communities that dealt with the same subject we were ranked second last. Obviously according to local businesses City Council realtionship with them could improve. 

As I see it the reduction in postal service is a result of the Conservative Party in Ottawa doing what it promised to do. Sault Ste Marie chose to support this course of action in the last federal election. Perhaps our City Council might in the future consider increasing support for local entrepreneurs.  

Comments
41
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fatafr 1/11/2014 12:07:20 PM Report

Mac, another good article on some very relevant issues for SSM. It's clear, that when it comes to a choice, we would all want to see more jobs and development over cutting jobs as in Canada Post. I think it's time that our reps start to think more like economists and less like politicians. We have local issues that need addressing and we must be smart and aggressive in dealing with these issues.
For example, when we have a NIMBY problem the solution is simple, the Ward Councillors could support their Ward constituents, if the vast majority are against it, but the rest of Council must see their responsibilities and do what's best for the City as a whole. This was evidenced in the Queensgate development decision; Council voted against it and I can see the Ontario Municipal Board over turning that decision of Council and allowing the project to go through.
This City continues to have problems that may not exist in other northern towns. We are on the border and much of our disposable income travels south. We also don't have the kind of neighbourly cooperation that would encourage development and benefit both the City and our neighbours. Two examples, the stalling of the 2nd Line by-pass and the lack of development of the Black Rd lands which abut our First Nations neighbours. We also need our corporate citizens to be on board to see that vacant, abandoned buildings be allowed to sell, developed and employ people. An example of that is buildings sitting idle on Gore St.
I think Mark Barsanti was bang on with his inaugural speech at City Council. We need more cooperation from all sectors of our City. We need less red tape. We need less political correctness. We need everybody on board and we don't need citizens dragging their heels and simply being part of the problem.
Yes, this City was built on the backs of entrepreneurs. But, it was also built on the backs of hard working, eager, and devoted immigrants who gave their all and asked for nothing in return. Today, we have too many people with their hands out wishing to do nothing in return. This just can not be allowed to continue. Our taxpayers want changes and it's up to us to deliver. Otherwise, step aside and let someone in who will make the right decisions for our Community.
These are just my thoughts on this topic. I'm sure some of your readers may disagree.
thera 1/11/2014 12:51:49 PM Report

That's all well and good IF what Canada Post Corporate and the Conservative government tells you is true. The problem is that (as usual) they are lying to you. Canada Post is doing record parcel delivery making up for lack of letter mail, but through creative accounting and bonuses for management (including 22 vice presidents!!), they report losses.
Remember when Canada Post employees got locked out, then legislated back to work? The government said it was because Canada Post was a essential service. Now, they want to cancel home delivery. How can mail delivery be so essential, the government had to take away their RIGHT to bargain (as stated in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms), but not essential enough that people can go and get their own mail? Doesn't make much sense. More cost for less service, how does that make sense?
They also started arbitrarily adding surcharges for some communities (Fort MacMurray) with probably more to come. The only conclusion to draw is that they're trying to drive Canada Post into the ground so it can be sold off and privatized.
Harper is anti-union and anti-middle class. This has to stop now!
Oldie Goldie 1/11/2014 1:28:29 PM Report

Neither our Prime Minister nor the Cabinet Leader responsible for Canada Post have officially responded in Parliament about Canada Post changes.

The C.E.O. of Canada Post said that many people told him that they would sooner walk to a Community Mail Box than have Home delivery. The problem with his comment is that he failed to mention how many said that and where they lived in Canada. Until he can show this evidence then he is not believable with his comment.

What person, in their right mind, would willingly give up the Home Delivery that they now have ?

Canada Post is a Public Service Organization and should have held Public Consultations on these changes.

They tried to sneak it by the Consumers by announcing it when Parliament was in recess and many M.P.s--including the P.M.---were out of the Country.

Canada Post did not even offer any alternatives to their decision.

Canada Post is operated at the top levels by high earning people most of whom are Government-Appointed friends of the Ruling Party and knowledge of how to efficiently deliver Mail in Canada was not a requirement to get their job !

That is my humble opinion !
soowat 1/12/2014 9:07:46 AM Report

I know I may not be the average householder but in my case the removal of at home delivery would not be a problem. Since the end of 2013 I have received one piece of mail. That was a flyer from a local car dealership. In 2013 I asked my bank to stop sending me monthly statements as I have on-line banking. I arranged to get my T-4a, T-5 etc. via E-post. Thus when income tax preparation time rolls around I will have the information I need. I arranged with the people that pay me dividends to use direct deposit. My OAS,C.P.P. Pension cheque are all done via direct deposit.

Incidentally I qualify as a senior citizen that no one would ever mistake for Einstein. A few years ago when I realized that paper was going the way of the steam engine, I moved to the electronic age to be prepared. Now I don't have to whine,bitch and complain because the world refuses to stand still to accommodate me
thera 1/12/2014 11:45:03 AM Report

@ soowat:
Good for you, but there are a lot of people out there who either can't afford or don't trust (which is their prerogative) the internet for such things. I suppose you figure that since you do these things online, everyone should?
How about addressing the points that the other poster brought up as well as my earlier post. This isn't about whether people can get along without home delivery, it's about big corporations and the government trying to screw the public (not to mention approximately 50 000 postal workers) for their own selfish gains. Why is it unless something affects someone personally, people just don't give a crap? We live in a (supposedly) civilized society, you should care because when you're doing well, I do well, the community does well, etc.
Mr. Poster 1/12/2014 12:07:34 PM Report

Monday/ Thursday delivery would work for me. I do not see the need for 5 day delivery. Of course that would mean part time letter carriers.
Oldie Goldie 1/12/2014 12:43:25 PM Report

Soowat--How do you get your O.A.S. and C.P.P. Annual Statements and any R.R.S.P. and/or R.R.I.F. and T.F.S.A. Statements and any Charitable Donation Receipts to file your Income Taxes and get a Notification that your statements are correct or need Modifications ?

By Mail, of course--but you don't need the Mail do you !
Oldie Goldie 1/12/2014 1:24:17 PM Report

soowat--You are another N.I.M.B.Y. person who thinks that everyone else should do as you do.

I receive all the Statements necessary for My Income Tax filing by mail even though I have an Accountant who files my statements but he only files what I give him and he E-Files my Tax Returns and Revenue Canada mails me whether the Statements entered are correct according to their records and notifies me by mail what I get back or what I have to pay.
I also have my Pension checks deposited automatically but I still need the mail to have my return statements sent to me.
Any Tax refund is also automatically deposited.

To say that the Mail is not necessary is refuting what the Prime Minister said when he forced the Postal Workers back to work from their last strike---He said the Mail was a NECESSITY.

For many to have to use a Community Box when they already have home delivery will present some hardships for them----even if it does not bother you---soowat.

Try walking through our slushy and unplowed sidewalks with a Walker or a Wheelchair to get to a frozen Mail Box.

Canada Post did not even try 2 or 3 day delivery for everyone including those who already use Community Boxes.

They did not even consider any other options but the one they announced when Parliament was in recess and many M.P.s including Harper were out of the Country and the announcement was made by a former Conservative M.P. who knows nothing about Mail Delivery but who was offered the job at a very high rate of pay by Conservative Appointment.
soowat 1/13/2014 2:38:48 AM Report

oldie:

As stated in my earlier post," I arranged to get my T-4a, T-5 etc. via E-post."

It's really quite easy. However,you have to accept we are in the 21st century and get rid of the idea that the world should stand still because you don't like change.

Thera: Do you really want to go back to the days where the postal workers,for their own selfish purposes could cause untold hardship to other Canadians by going on strike? I always recall the comment by a former head of CUPW Joe Davidson who was famous for saying,"To hell with the public."
Oldie Goldie 1/13/2014 8:40:38 AM Report

soowat---I find it hard to believe that the Government would send out private information electronically.

Isn't E-Post a Canada Post Service ?

Too easy to hack and lose your privacy.

You admit, though, that a Mail strike would cause hardships. So it is a necessary service for most people---if not for you, personally.

I also detect a bit of hatred for Postal Workers in your last message.

Canadian Rights and Freedoms are also given to Postal Workers whether you like it or not.
right wing 1/13/2014 10:42:29 AM Report

Over two thirds of Canadians already use the boxes.
The one third left will have to learn what the two thirds already know...it works.
Suck it up, personal home delivery of junk mail is not needed anymore, it is going to be a thing of the past.
End of story.
right wing 1/13/2014 10:49:14 AM Report

So Mac following your logic then the Ontario Liberals were voted in to completely gut our energy sources and stick it to us with green energy.
This also cost many jobs and resulted in Ontario having the most expensive hydro costs in the country.
mac headrick 1/13/2014 11:19:38 AM Report

right wing my logic is simple The Conservatives are just doing what they were elected to do.

City Council in lieu of debating Canada Post can do something more productive relative to job creation - support local business people who are interested in building something something.

Relative to the Liberals in Ontario I believe they are elected because Ontarians don't trust anyone else. Personally as I stated in a previous column I hope they do nothing.
soowat 1/13/2014 12:25:50 PM Report

Oldie.
A mail strike in the 20th century caused hardship..A mail strike in the 21st century wouldn't be noticed.

E-post is a Canada Post service. However, it does not involve somebody putting the "mail" in a mailbox at my residence

I don't dislike or like postal workers. I just find it humorous that their long established attitude,as expressed by the infamous Mr. Davidson, has come back to bite them now that they need sympathy and support.
thera 1/13/2014 5:34:08 PM Report

@ soowat:

A strike in the 21st century wouldn't be noticed?? Are you kidding me?? 2 years ago when postal workers did rolling strikes (strike for one day in one city at a time) got noticed big time! Canada Post locked them out, then the government legislated them back to work. I believe that got some notice, don't you think?

Just in case you didn't realize, we ARE in the 21st century. Wow, how did you make it to adulthood? That is the real question.
Oldie Goldie 1/13/2014 6:46:06 PM Report

soowat---The Conservatives legislated the Postal Workers back to work from their latest Strike because Mail is considered to be a NECESSITY===even if you don't think so.

Perhaps Harper was lying ?
Oldie Goldie 1/13/2014 6:54:28 PM Report

Right Wing--If over 2/3 use Community Boxes now then how is Canada Post not saving money ?

If you think that less than 1/3 of the mail customers are causing Canada Post to lose money then you are dreaming in Technicolour---again.

2/3 of all the mail is being delivered by Contractors who got their jobs by Political Appointment but I guess they are doing it as a Public Service without getting paid eh ?
Oldie Goldie 1/13/2014 7:02:58 PM Report

soowat--E-post is a Canada Post Service as you say and I guess they don't pay their workers for the time to E-Post you or do they ?

In my humble opinion Canada Post is not losing all their money on home delivery to only 1/3 of their customers.
CCR 1/14/2014 9:13:58 AM Report

The Conservative government ran on a promise to ensure economic stability. We are the envy of the G8 and have weathered the post 2008 down-turn better than any country on Earth. Just last week Bryan Hayes delivered on an quarter-million dollar commitment to assist skills training through an initiative at the YMCA. This is reported by users of the programme as being well tailored to matching people with jobs. There have also been several funding initiatives at the federal level to support Sault College and to encourage innovation at Algoma University. The fact is that the job market does not stand still. We cannot expect Canada Post to keep doing the same thing year after year without adverse effects on their bottom line. Business and personal communications have significantly shifted to online alternatives. Pension liabilities for workers have become more expensive. These costa are carried by users of the system and subsidized by taxpayers. It is right to change the way Canada Post does business. It is too easy to simply blame the Conservative government for these changes. The reality is that the Conservative government has done a great deal to promote economic growth and stability and local job growth and innovation.
right wing 1/14/2014 10:03:39 AM Report

Oldie

Rural mail routes are bid on by private contractors, many of them are mom and pop operators, that is how they are awarded. The corner boxes are coming, folks will adapt, as two thirds of the rest of the country already has, and this will be another thing of the past.
thera 1/14/2014 11:33:26 AM Report

@ CCR:
Canada Post made millions in profits for the past 17 years every year! Was there no economic down turns in the 90s at all? And were they not doing the same thing as they are doing now? The answer to both of those questions is YES.
The losses began when their contract ran out and the government and Canada Post offered them such terrible options, they had no choice but to strike. And guess what, it wasn't even a full strike - it was for one or two days in a couple of cities at a time. So, the mail was still getting through, but then Canada Post locked them out allowing NO mail to get through. The government legislated them back to work and shoved a contract down their throats.
THAT'S when the losses started. Don't give me that crap that the post office needs to make such radical changes because it's the economy. ITS Canada Post Corporate and Harper behind these losses. Canada Post is making record business every year with parcel delivery, that is their bread and butter (and flyers too, lol).
Oldie Goldie 1/14/2014 1:19:28 PM Report

Right Wing---Yes, Rural Boxes are basically a Mom and Pop operation but delivery to Community Boxes and other places other than Rural are NOT a Mom and Pop operation and some Mail and Parcel deliveries are done by Contract.

These Contracts were given to Government-Friendly Contractors.

One of the biggest Contracts to pick up Mail from the Red Boxes AND deliver the mail to Community Boxes locally and, now, Provincially was given to a Ruling Party-Friendly Contractor without a bidding process being used along with pick-up and delivery of many packages.

And this Contractor will expand the Business to deliver to newer Community Boxes when the Postal Workers are gone---If they are gone--because there is a news report just recently saying that Canada Post may reconsider the drastic cuts that are proposed.

If you want to know who I am talking about just ask any Postal Worker Delivery person because the Employees of that Contract Company attempted to cross the Postal Workers Picket lines during the last 2 Legal Strikes.
Oldie Goldie 1/14/2014 1:26:58 PM Report

Right Wing---You post as if the 2/3 of the Customers who are now using Community Boxes had a choice of Mail Delivery.

There was never any choices given to those 2/3 . They either got their Mail from Community Boxes or they had to go to the Post Office nearest them to pick it up.

This happened a number of years ago when Canada Post refused to expand any more Home Delivery.

To now cut off the Home Delivery for those who still get it will not be as easy as refusing to expand their delivery.
CCR 1/14/2014 2:39:38 PM Report

thera,
There is no mention of any strike in my post. Neither am I overly concerned about the economy. The Conservative government has done a good job of sustaining the economy through difficult times. What I spoke about was the change in technology and the shift it has brought about in business practises. In the last two years there has been a dramatic increase in e-commerce. This has had a direct impact on Canada Post's letter mail operations. If 50% of Canada Post's business model is at risk because of a market shift as dramatic as e-commerce, some changes need to be made. The revenue decrease is an effect of e-commerce; the resulting cost savings need to be made up somewhere. It is great that parcel service is increasing in popularity and will produce a small increase in revenue, but the increase will not be enough, soon enough, to offset the drop in letter mail that is being experienced now. If mail delivery can be effectively maintained through community mail boxes for the remaining 1/3 of the population, then reducing the pay envelope and the pension liability are the way to go. What profits were realised three or more years ago is frankly irrelevant to the discussion of current trends and operational costing models.
thera 1/14/2014 2:54:23 PM Report

@ CCR:
"What profits were realised three or more years ago is frankly irrelevant to the discussion of current trends and operational costing models."

Umm, it's very relevant. Do you think this crazy Internet thing has just sprung up overnight? Yes, obviously letter mail has been declining over the years and e commerce has increased, that means much more parcel delivery. I mention the strike/lockout because I'm telling you that's why Canada Post lost money, not because they need to modernize and "get with the times." Obviously they have or else they never would have made it to the year 2000.

Just wonder if you are an accountant for Canada Post though? You seem to think that with the expansion of parcel delivery (not cheap to send parcels), it doesn't make up for letter mail. I saw a lot of "ifs" in your post, you don't know, you are just assuming. Oh and that 2/3rds thing, that includes people who live in apartments and go to the lobby for their mail. It really skews the results.
Oldie Goldie 1/14/2014 3:05:09 PM Report

CCR---You post as if it is only a thing of reducing the pay envelope and Pension Liabilities.

Thank God we live in a country where workers can form a Union and ask for Benefits in their Contract once they are established if the Employers do not treat their workers fairly.

I have always maintained that if workers get a fair shake from their Employers there would never be a need for Unions--But that is not so in Canada.

What you call " reducing the payroll " is the layoff of 8000 workers across Canada--That affects their Spouses and Families too.

We already have more Unemployment in Canada than there should be and we don't need any more potential workers not being able to find work.

You post as if they are just #'s to you.

Shame on you---These people are live persons earning wages and paying their Taxes and contributing to the overall Economy of Canada by purchasing Cars--Fridges--Stoves--and spending their wages on other things that keep our Economy rolling.

They are not just #'s.

Taking the potential benefits away from these Canadians is just not good Economics.
CCR 1/15/2014 8:47:37 AM Report

Oldie Goldie
You are quite well read on most subjects, so you are probably aware that the Canada Post personnel reductions are meant to take place over a five year period utilizing scheduled retirements. I agree with you that employers should treat their employees with the utmost respect, and that if more compassion is demonstrated there would be less need for unions. But on the topic of unions, there is now a marked difference in the average union wage over the average private sector wage (30%) that is getting to be too big to justify. Also, holidays and sick days are greater for unionised employees, especially those in the government unions. At one time a government job was expected to pay less in return for more job security. Now they pay more and provide above average pensions. As a result, we are seeing government union jobs threatened by required reductions. I am certainly not ashamed to make these observations. Canada Post should never be cruel in its dealings with its work force, but the business environment is changing and reductions in personnel will be necessary.
mvnnth 1/15/2014 11:16:25 AM Report

Up until a few years ago Revenue Canada was mailing over 20,000,000 T1 income tax packages through the postal service. Those returns had to be mailed back to the processing centres. That number has been declining with the growing popularity of the filing of electronic returns. Last year Revenue Canada didn't mail any. Instead they required those taxpayers that wanted to use pen and paper to go to their local postal agent to pick up a return. I needed a few of the forms which are not included with the T1 form and found they were not available at the agent location. Add to that the fact that the mailing envelopes were ( at least locally) as scarce as hen's teeth and you get a sense of the way of the future. Just more nails in the mail carrier coffin.
Oldie Goldie 1/15/2014 12:56:16 PM Report

CCR---So what you are saying is that Canada Post needs to get rid of their Union Workers and use Contractors and their Employees who get no benefits--no Pensions--and lower wages.

The problem with that situation is that the Contractor's Employees will soon form Unions and we will be back at Square One.

If Government Employees are given the same treatment then they will be replaced with Contractors who pay less and no benefits and little vacation time.

It would be easier to swallow if Canadians see the cut backs affecting those on the Sunshine Lists and many C.E.O.s who create their own wage scale and Benefit packages which far exceed most workers and the ratio of top Managers to workers is increasing--not decreasing.

Just recently Lawyers are demanding higher pay and more benefits and they are getting them without Union help.

The gap between the Middle Class worker and Top Management workers is ever increasing and all some people care about is getting rid of those evil Union Workers.

Now-- CCR--You seem to be educated enough to see where I am coming from---Let me give you some examples---

Nurses now want their pay and Benefits to equal Police people---
Teachers in Ontario want the same pay as Teachers in any other Province--

Even C.E.O. and other Sunshine Club Members compare themselves to wages of Professional Sport people.

The C.E.O. of Canada Post gets the equivalent of 6 Postal Carriers and far better perks.

There is an old saying that changes in any Corporation should begin from the top level and then down---instead they are considering changes starting at the bottom level without any obvious changes from the top.
Oldie Goldie 1/15/2014 1:17:44 PM Report

One Poster said that Canada Post hired hundreds of experts to advise them on changes. Pay for those experts is not cheap.

Any wonder where Canada Post is losing money ?

Those experts used the U.S. Postal Service as one example.

I use the U.S. Postal Service quite often.

Yes, they are losing money too so they cut off Saturday Deliveries but Postal Rates did not increase dramatically and very few workers lost their jobs.

If I chose to do so, which I don't, I could mail a letter from the U.S.A. to Halifax---for an example---and save 50% of the new Canada Post Rate and they would get that letter to Halifax faster too. If I do it along with my other visits to the U.S.A. then Toll Rates would not be a factor

If home mail delivery is stopped completely we will be the only country in the G 20 Nations without home mail delivery and the Highest Postage Rates of all those nations too.

What will be Canada Post's next move when they would still lose money after this one.

Maybe, just maybe, start cuts from the top down ?
CCR 1/15/2014 4:28:48 PM Report

Oldie Goldie,
I simply said that Canada Post cannot afford to go forward with its current wage, benefit, and pension model and expect to be profitable given the changing e-commerce environment. Please don't ascribe to me any desire to see unionised workers replaced with contract workers. What I really think is that the volumes of mail will decrease to the point where not as many carriers will be needed and that changing the model for urban mail delivery will be part of that. Here's hoping that parcel delivery service will be able to offset at least some of the job losses.
I agree that executive compensation, especially in government businesses, has climbed far too high. These executives are not held to anywhere near the same standard of risk and reward that exists in the private sector. In this respect I agree with much of what you have posted. Leaders should be setting a better example in public entities. However, holding the line or reducing even a few hundred executive salaries (and I'd like to see it happen immediately) will not create the savings necessary to resolve the problems facing Crown businesses. This applies to Canada Post, to Ontario Hydro, to Ontario health services, and to the O.P.P.
When an O.P.P. constable is getting paid two to three times the salary of an Army Corporal, something is definitely off the rails. During the last big ice storm the Army was called out as a last resort emergency and the soldiers got a few dollars in field pay whereas the Ontario Hydro and O.P.P. personnel were getting paid double time (an effect of unionised versus non-unionised organizations).
These days everybody seems to be entitled and the tax payer keeps on paying.
Oldie Goldie 1/15/2014 5:09:50 PM Report

CCR---At least we are near to reading from the same Page.

However mail Delivery is a NECESSITY whether to homes or Community boxes.
That was the basis for forcing Postal Workers back to work during the last dispute between Canada Post and their Postal Workers.

Most of those who get home delivery now are among the oldest residents in our area because Canada Post refused to expand home delivery many years ago.

Many of those older residents will have considerable problems getting to a Community Box by trying to manoevre Walkers and/or Wheelchairs along poorly plowed sidewalks and roads during our 5 months of Winter Weather---especially one like we are having now.

Has Canada Post even considered these problems ?

Canada Post has to acquire certain parcels of land---or rent space--for these boxes---have them built and securely installed and arrange to have them kept clear of snow and hire Contractors to deliver the Mail and Parcels etc.

We already have heard of problems with frozen locks and now there is a report out that the Consumers will have to solve these problems themselves.

Many cities, including ours, will be faced with getting extra Insurance to cover possible Injury Claims from older people trying to get to their boxes.

I have seen a few Wheelchair users now trying to use the roads to get to where they want to go because the sidewalks are not usable.

All we need now is hundreds of more mail customers using this dangerous practice to get their mail.

These dangers have not been well thought out by Canada Post if they even thought of them at all.

Things like 3 day delivery, even to present Community box users, would save money and save half of those 8000 workers from losing jobs.

Why was this not considered ?

How did Canada Post get away with massive underfunding of their agreed-upon Pension Plans which will now be turned over to the Taxpayers to fund those plans to these workers---especially when Canada Post was turning over huge profits for Canada Revenue in past years .

Canada Post has been poorly managed and now needs to solve it on the backs of their workers and oldest customers mostly.
CCR 1/16/2014 9:01:06 AM Report

Oldie Goldie,
One can only hope that Canada Post will adopt some common sense solutions to the urban mail challenge. Partnering with existing businesses and apartment buildings might be one good option. At least if the mailboxes were installed in existing buildings the weather issues would be avoided and access would need to meet existing required standards. I suppose from the perspective of someone who has had rural mail delivery all my life I just have difficulty seeing what all the fuss is about. Rural areas have elderly people, disabled people, and brutal weather and distance to contend with and it has never been something that has caused undue complaint. It must be one of those issues where if you don't have something you don't miss it, but if you do, and it is taken away, it is a big deal.
Oldie Goldie 1/16/2014 9:40:12 AM Report

CCR-- You have brought out several new good ideas that Canada Post should have considered---With all the educated high paid help that they have either on Staff or hired as consultants someone should have expected some problems like both you and I have suggested.
One has to wonder what the Canada Post Officials really know about Canadians.
---You have to believe that their silence on these issues shows a real lack of concern about their Customers.
Oldie Goldie 1/16/2014 9:53:26 AM Report

CCR--I hear you about Rural Boxes but there is quite a difference between Rural Boxes and Community Boxes.
Frozen locks are one example and Canada Post is suggesting a Fee of $ 35 for your box and Lock and it will be the Customers problem to solve if they need a new Box or Lock. I also heard that if snow surrounds the boxes the Customer may have to clear it if plows don't clear it good enough.
Rural Customers have this problem too but I guess they are used to it but many of the Rural Boxes are not locked.
Your idea of indoor boxes would help solve some of those problems.
But I wonder if Canada Post is reading and listening to these suggestions ?
CCR 1/16/2014 3:53:49 PM Report

Oldie Goldie,
I neglected to respond to your point about pension liabilities where you asked why Canada Post has such a large liability after so many years of profit. The fact is that pension liability calculations are made either annually if the plan is in deficit, or tri-annually if it is in balance. The calculations are actuarially based which means they consider an actuarial projection of what the plan will need to pay in the future based on the ages and wages of the participants as well as the projected earnings of the assets in the plan. Three or four years ago the plan may have been calculated to have been in balance, but the main culprit resulting in current plan deficits is low interest rates and investment returns, not member or matching corporate contributions. A one per cent drop in interest rates can result in a reduction in plan value of tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars. The larger the plan, the greater the negative effect in total dollars. Of course the opposite is also true, so if interest rates rise, the plan will eventually be brought back into balance or maybe even into surplus. The problem, though, is that when a plan is in deficit, regulations require action to redress the deficit immediately. When a plan is in surplus, member and corporate contributions are stopped temporarily until the plan is back in balance. This is called a "pension holiday". It just so happens that we are experiencing several years of low interest rate stagnation and really poor investment results. The effect has been a relatively recent crippling demand on corporations to redress pension deficits with cash infusions. On the other side of the coin, it is impossible to overfund a plan as a "rainy day" precaution in good years because pension holidays are mandatory to bring the plans back into balance. I guess whoever set up the regulations did not contemplate a prolonged period of economic stagnation and rock bottom interest rates.
thera 1/16/2014 5:11:36 PM Report

@ CCR:
How polite of you to make sure you responded to all of Oldie Goldie's points. Just curious why you didn't respond to mine, I guess too many facts and logic for you.

By the way, the reason the pension is in such a bad state is because Canada Post "borrowed" it to build huge facilities to sort letter mail. Yes, the same letter mail that Canada Post wants you to believe doesn't exist. But ya, it's all the economy and not management. You keep telling yourself that.
Oldie Goldie 1/16/2014 5:47:24 PM Report

CCR---I am aware of what you are talking about because of being a Member of our Pension Plan and meeting with Actuaries twice a year.
However, closer tabs need to be kept on the Funding of the Plan.
For the Funding of the Canada Post Plan to reach such low levels is poor Management.

When the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan reached low levels because the Ontario Government poorly planned the low levels then the Ontario Teachers took over control of the Plan and it is now one of the Highest Level Percentage of Funding of any Pension Plan in Canada and Professional Managers were hired to invest the money in the Plan wisely and some Teachers are drawing more monthly income now from the Plan than when they retired years ago.

Perhaps the Postal Workers should have taken over the Plan and kept the Level of Funding at a higher level but since the Postal Workers were not allowed to take control of a Plan that they did not invest directly into the Fund the Mismanagement of the Plan was allowed to happen by Canada Post.

Algoma Steel and now Essar have done the same thing with the workers Pension Funds at that Plant and, with Ontario Government approval, the Funding was allowed to reach as low as the 50 % level and now the workers had no choice but to approve a Plan to help Essar cut back on their input to the Plan and extend their 15 year Plan to a 24 year Plan with the workers hoping and praying that Essar will continue to operate in order to get 100 % from the Plan in the future.
If Essar discontinues operations during that period the Pensioners could lose--Big Time---and get less Pension.

I think you can see---CCR---that I am no Rookie when it comes to understanding Pension Plans.

If the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan can hire Managers who are making huge profits even during times of low Interest Rates then Canada Post could have done the same thing but because they are a Crown Corporation reporting only to the Government of the day I don't think that they really cared.

Now, in my opinion, the Canadian Taxpayer may have to pick up the shortfall of the mismanagement of the Pension Plan between Canada Post and their Employees.

I really am sorry---CCR---that we cannot agree on this Issue because we were beginning to find common ground in our chatting.
CCR 1/17/2014 9:15:43 AM Report

Oldie Goldie,
Actually, I am in agreement with your hunch that the taxpayer may end up funding any plan shortfalls. I also agree that the investment component is an important one. There is not usually only a single dynamic that causes actuarial devaluation of a pension fund. My opinion is that low interest rates have caused the greatest damage. I will agree that poor investment choices could have affected the valuation as well. What I don't have is any information that might confirm that. I have enjoyed discussing this with you...
CCR 1/17/2014 9:35:26 AM Report

Thera,
I didn't respond to you because it appeared to me that you were more interested in attacking the government than discussing the issues politely. You seem to know a lot about postal strikes, and I do not. You seem to know a lot about Canada Post profits and I do not. I try to keep my comments to things that I might be able to discuss rationally. I might disagree about what Mr. Harper might do or say, or what Mr. Trudeau or Mr. Mulcair might do or say, but they are our elected officials and we should accord them at least the title of "Mr." If I don't appreciate the tone or content of a post, I believe it is my privilege to say nothing.
mvnnth 1/18/2014 6:56:13 PM Report

Classy!
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