Right in the centre - Canada Post problem at the top


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

I have no intention of causing any grief to local post office workers. I know they are sharing the same frustrations as everyone else. As a newspaper, we have never had anything except good service from our local post offices. There’s the key word, local. Local people get it, they know how to do the best for the customers, friends, neighbours and for  themselves. It’s the same as any business. Local is the best service, usually.

 It’s up the ladder where the problem is happening. In some places, and in some cases, Canada Post is getting slower and slower as the months go by. We get it. There’s more online shopping and parcels are flooding the system. The Christmas Amazon rush was unreal. One local post office had as many as 11 fork lift pallets of parcels in their back warehouse on a given day.

It’s not that Canada Post didn’t seek out the business, they did. It’s not that they didn’t see it coming, they did. The problem is they didn’t prepare for it and aren’t doing enough to accommodate their increased volume. It’s pretty simple. If a farmer grows a bunch more grain, he hires another truck. It doesn’t seem to work that way with Canada Post. They haven’t increased regional space, apparently (that would be Brandon), where everything in rural western Manitoba funnels through, apparently. They may need another truck and driver or two, but you would think that any smart business person would get that looked at after being a month-long bottleneck.

Used to be that First Class mail, that is letters, got priority. Not anymore, parcels get priority. Due to more parcels and staff shortages, there were times last fall when First Class mail was as much as four days behind in some offices.

It’s understandable, if CP has emailed a customer or sent them a card saying the parcel is coming, it had better get there. Even that isn’t happening. There is also Second Class mail and Third Class mail. Your newspaper is Third Class mail, so guess where it gets left on the priority list.

We get comments like this:

“I have been finding mail delivery very spotty and slow.”

“My last Hydro bill arrived the day it was due.”

“I ordered a medical appliance from Winnipeg five business days ago and it was listed as still in transit on Friday.”

“Flyers either don’t come at all or after the sales are already on.  Is this a countrywide problem or just here?”

“I get your paper at my home in Winnipeg and it’s two weeks late.”

I can attest to that, as we subscribe to a number of papers and it’s not unusual to get two issues at a time, one a week old and one two weeks old.

“My parcel is a week late.”

We have experienced that personally, as we are awaiting a vital piece of equipment.

Canada Post needs to listen to its local staff and customers. Those two groups have the answers on how to fix Canada Post, but the corporation has to be willing to listen. I think they still have 11 regional vice presidents and I bet they each earn more than anybody reading this column. Apparently, they aren’t bright enough to fix the issue. They also know that they have a monopoly in First Class (letter) mail and by virtue of remote and rural operations, they have a monopoly on all classes of mail.

Canada Post’s very poor corporate attitude is hurting the Canadian economy and, at best, annoying their customers. Who wants to wait weeks for parcel or days and weeks for a letter or a newspaper? The mail was faster when the steam trains hammered it across the county night and day.

I have no doubt Canada Post needs an overhaul, starting at the top. I feel sorry for the local postal staff who have to work very long hours, sometimes without sufficient help and occasionally receiving customer abuse.

Trust me, it’s rarely, if ever, the local postal workers’ problems.

As far as I know, when we deliver papers directly to individual post offices, they get put into the boxes quite quickly. The problem comes in that papers are, for the most part, delivered to one post office and then they go to Brandon for sorting. At best, it is overnight, but when they get plugged up in Brandon, the papers and parcels get delayed and left in the warehouse. There’s only so much room on the truck, I guess.

It’s frustrating for everyone, but there’s not much we can do about it.