Letter to Jessica L. McDonald
Ms. Jessica L. McDonald
Chairperson, Board of Directors
Canada Post Corporation
N1200 – 2701 Riverside Drive
Ottawa ON K1A 0B1
Dear Ms. McDonald:
Congratulations on your appointment as the Chairperson of Canada Post Corporation at this critical time in the institution’s evolution.
As Chairperson, you are the representative of the Board of Canada Post Corporation to outside parties, and the leader and facilitator of the Board as it carries out its duties. You are also the key link between the Board and myself as the representative of the Government and your leadership is key to ensuring the success of Canada Post Corporation in the future.
This is an important moment for Canada Post. As you know, our Government undertook an extensive two-phase review and public consultation on the future of the Corporation, led by an independent four-person Task Force, and the House of Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates. Based on that widespread engagement, analysis and debate, it is now time to act on renewal.
Canada Post provides services valued by Canadians in all regions, and all walks of life, and it does so in a self-sustaining manner. The Corporation and its 63,000 employees have been working hard to adapt to a rapidly changing business environment. As a result, its financial position for the near term is positive – it is in the black. Still, given current trends, financial sustainability for the longer term is in question.
It is clear that financially-driven structural change imposed in a top down manner without collaboration, is unlikely to achieve lasting improvement. The Corporation’s near term financial picture provides the breathing space to get long-term renewal right.
In that context, and with the benefit of extensive consultations and public input, the Government is putting forward:
- A new vision for Canada Post focused on serving Canadians;
- Concrete actions in five areas that provide a new foundation for renewal; and
- Priorities for implementing renewal that Canada Post’s new leadership is asked to address.
A New Vision for Canada Post Focused on Serving Canadians
Canada Post will provide high-quality service at a reasonable price to Canadians, no matter where they live. The Corporation’s leadership and its employees will work in partnership to adapt, meet challenges and take advantage of opportunities created by demographic change, new technologies, and the evolving expectations of its customers and the communities it serves. As a valued public enterprise that will serve our country for decades to come, Canada Post must be efficient and financially sustainable for the long term, generating revenues that support current and future services, and enable ongoing innovations.
Building the Foundation for Renewal
The Government will take concrete actions in five areas to support the implementation of its service-focused vision.
Ending the Program of Converting Door-to-door Delivery to Community Mailboxes
First and foremost, as we committed to Canadians, the Government is ending the program to convert door-to-door delivery to community mailboxes. Door to door delivery will continue for households currently receiving it.
Enhancing the Accessible Delivery Program
During the Review process both the Task Force and the Committee heard criticism about Canada Post’s approach to community mailbox accessibility. The most common complaints concerned lack of awareness of the existing accessible delivery program and onerous eligibility requirements. Although the conversion program has been stopped, there are still people who have difficulty accessing their mail. We are asking Canada Post to establish a national panel including experts and key organizations for disability and seniors’ issues, including individuals with lived experiences, to advise on the development, implementation, and promotion of an enhanced accessible delivery program. We want to ensure that everyone who needs the service can access it. After the program is implemented, the panel could continue to be used to provide annual feedback on the program’s effectiveness.
New Leadership and a Culture of Collaboration
Your appointment is an important part of wider change in leadership at Canada Post. As you know, a new Chief Executive Officer will be appointed soon, and the Government has launched processes for appointments to the Board of Directors.
This is not a matter of merely filling vacancies. Rather, it is an opportunity to drive a shift in culture. Both the Task Force and the Committee noted the need for better relations between management and labour. The Government agrees that achieving long-term renewal requires a constructive relationship between the Corporation, its workers and the communities in which it operates. This will take time, and a deep commitment to renewal on the part of both management and labour.
The Government, through its open, merit-based appointments process will place a high priority on diversity and a broader range of perspectives, including labour, in these important appointments to the leadership of Canada Post. We expect you and the Board of Directors to make this shift to a culture of collaboration your central priority.
Reinvesting Profits in the Corporation
It is the Government’s expectation that profits earned by the Corporation will be reinvested in service initiatives and innovations and not paid as dividends to the Crown. Currently, under its listing in the Financial Administration Act, Canada Post has a legal obligation to pay a dividend to the federal government. I intend to seek the Governor in Council’s approval to move Canada Post Corporation from Financial Administration Act, Schedule III Part II to Schedule III Part I to remove this obligation. This change also means that Canada Post is now legally required to, along with its annual corporate plan and capital budget, submit an operating budget for Government approval. Summaries of the approved plan and budgets would be tabled in both Houses of Parliament. It is important to note that Canada Post will continue to operate under section 5(2)(b) of the Canada Post Corporation Act, which states that the Corporation shall have regard to the need to conduct its operations on a self-sustaining financial basis when carrying out its mandate.
Promoting Remittance Services
This Government also made a commitment to make remittances more affordable for Canadian workers to send money overseas. As you know, Canada Post already plays an important role in this through its vast network of post offices across the country that offer postal money orders and digital remittances through its partnership with MoneyGram. However, the post office is not necessarily a place many people think of for remittances. Therefore, we are asking Canada Post to increase its market share in this area by better promoting its affordable service in communities that are typically users of these services.
Priorities for Implementing Renewal
The first step for Canada Post in implementing renewal is to negotiate new collective agreements, and I am pleased to note that this is underway and in some cases completed. Management and the Association of Postal Officials of Canada should be congratulated on having already reached a new agreement before the current one expires. It is also encouraging that management and the Union of Postal Communications Employees recently reached a tentative agreement. Negotiating the remaining agreements that have expired or are expiring soon is an opportunity for you and the Board of Directors to show your leadership in setting the tone for management and labour working together on operationalizing the Government’s vision.
As the new Chairperson, you and the rest of the Board of Directors have a critical role in improving labour-management relations by overseeing the management-labour collaboration necessary to operationalize the Government’s vision for renewal. The contribution advanced by the Task Force and the Committee offers important input to this work.
Innovations and Best Practices for Implementing Renewal
Despite a positive short-term financial outlook, the longer term sustainability of the Corporation is a challenge. The Government expects that Canada Post will, more than ever, continue to embrace innovation, experimentation and pilot projects that will help it meet the needs of Canadian businesses, individuals and communities in the years ahead, while it secures long term financial sustainability.
The Review has identified various areas of opportunity for Canada Post. In this context, the Government is asking Canada Post to undertake the following as it develops its program for implementing renewal:
- Consider the applicability in Canada of best practices and successful innovations in other countries, particularly various models of alternate day delivery;
- Examine options for innovative parcel delivery models, including expanded use of parcel lockers and weekend delivery;
- Explore partnership opportunities with other federal departments and agencies, other jurisdictions and communities to improve public services to Canadians, especially in rural and remote areas, by leveraging Canada Post’s extensive retail network and presence across Canada.
Although the Review was not positioned as a review of the Canadian Postal Service Charter, the components of the Charter have been reviewed and assessed. None of the actions being taken change the expectations laid out in the Service Charter. In operationalizing the vision, Canada Post is expected to continue to meet the expectations laid out in the Service Charter.
As with any service organization, the workforce is key to ensuring a satisfactory customer experience. Public opinion research found that Canadians and businesses surveyed are highly satisfied with Canada Post’s services. This is a tribute to the dedicated employees of Canada Post Corporation. We need to build upon this to make sure it continues to be a valued Canadian institution that will serve our country for decades to come.
In closing, I would like to express my appreciation for the support and cooperation the Corporation and its employees demonstrated as they worked with the Task Force and the Standing Committee during the Review. I look forward to your progress as the Corporation operationalizes the Government’s service-focused vision for renewal of Canada Post.
Original signed by:
The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, P.C., M.P.
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