In January 2018, after an extensive review of the postal service and options for the future, the Government of Canada unveiled a new vision for Canada Post. My January 24, 2018 mandate letter from Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, the minister responsible for Canada Post, expanded on its key themes.
The vision’s focus is on serving Canadians while remaining financially self-sufficient. As well, the Corporation was asked to renew its Board and leadership and create a culture of collaboration with employees and unions. It must also continue to embrace innovation so it can keep meeting the needs of Canadians in a time of continuously evolving service options and choice for customers.
These and other elements of this vision for renewal anchored our decision-making and activity in 2018.
Renewal of the Board
The appointment of a number of new Directors to the Board in May and June of 2018 gave momentum to our renewal. Appointed through an open, merit-based process, they have diverse backgrounds from across Canada as well as broad-ranging experience – in business, marketing, logistics, information technology, management consulting, leading Indigenous organizations, and in the labour movement. Their strengths and insights help the Board to guide senior management while aligning with Canadians’ expectations and the Government’s vision. I am proud to serve with them and want to thank these new members, and the Board members who provided continuity, for their commitment and contributions. All these accomplished individuals are engaged, effective and working hard in their important role.
Accessibility and delivery services
The Government has also asked Canada Post to align with its broader priorities. For example, the Government asked us to make our delivery services more accessible – and to create a national Accessibility Advisory Panel of experts and advocates, including individuals with lived experiences. That panel was established and had its inaugural meeting in the fall of 2018.
With Canada’s aging population, enhancing accessibility in delivery services makes sense for a service-first company. We will also improve accessibility in our recruitment practices, our website design and in other ways. I see this as progress toward a more inclusive Canada Post – and a more inclusive Canada.
Building a more collaborative path forward
For the Board, improving management’s relationship with its four unions is a central focus. The ability to work together is fundamental to Canada Post’s renewal and financial viability. We need to reach a point where management and the unions — and employees — can regularly and openly discuss and resolve issues of mutual concern, not just during rounds of collective bargaining but at all times.
Two new collective agreements marked progress in 2018. In April 2018, one took effect with the Association of Postal Officials of Canada, which represents mostly supervisors in postal operations; it was signed before the previous agreement expired (a historic first). A second, with the Public Service Alliance of Canada/Union of Postal Communications Employees, which represents administrative and technical employees, was ratified in February 2018. The agreement was reached without third-party assistance or the threat of a labour disruption.
Unfortunately, efforts on both sides to build a more collaborative relationship while also negotiating new collective agreements with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) proved too difficult in 2018. Despite best efforts, five weeks of rotating strikes occurred. This had a deep impact on customers and employees and creates an imperative for us all to find a new way forward.
We remain fully committed to fostering collaboration, openness and transparency with all our unions. I believe we can build the trust that is needed to find long-term solutions. Our employees’ vital roles in serving Canadians, and their loyalty and pride, make it an absolute necessity for us to provide them with the best employee experiences, workplaces and labour relations we can. Our customers also need confidence that our services will be available when they need them.
Canada Post and environmental sustainability
Canadians also care about protecting the environment for future generations. Canada Post has enormous size and scope: We operate one of the country’s largest fleets of vehicles, for example, and have facilities in virtually every corner of the country. Our size means we can make a real difference. Using a collaborative approach that engages key stakeholders and our employees, we are working toward a comprehensive environmental vision, strategy and targets. As we refresh our fleet of delivery vehicles, we are asking vendors to offer hybrid and zero-emission options. It may seem a small thing – but I’m also pleased that this is the first digital annual report in Canada Post’s history.
Keeping employees safe
Nothing is more important than keeping employees safe and healthy. While we reduced our total injury frequency in 2018, we have work to do to continue this trend, and at the same time reduce our lost-time injury frequency. The shift from mail to parcels has changed the nature of work enormously. The Board, senior management and I are committed to achieving this through collaboration with our employees and with our unions – challenging ourselves to communicate together and to find new solutions.
Looking to the future with renewed leadership
As Chair, it is truly an honour to guide an organization that touches every Canadian. It was also a highlight of my public service career to serve as Interim President and CEO of Canada Post for much of 2018. That vantage point gave me great insight into the Corporation, which will stay with me as I serve as Chair.
I am pleased that Doug Ettinger was appointed President and CEO in early March 2019 for a four-year term. I have every confidence in Doug and the whole Corporation in adapting Canada Post to meet the changing needs of Canadians.
In closing, I want to thank our customers for choosing us and making us Canada’s leading parcel delivery company. I also thank our employees for their dedication and hard work on behalf of Canadians. Canada Post is strong, capable, resourceful and inspiring. As I look ahead, I believe that this great company has a strong future serving Canadians.
Jessica L. McDonald
Chair of the Board of Directors