We understand the important role Canada Post plays in delivering the holidays for Canadians, and in supporting Canadian online retailers to be successful, especially at this time of year. While significant and uneven backlogs continue to pose a challenge, we are processing and delivering mail and parcels across the country and have taken every extra effort to get caught up as quickly as possible.
Status of operations
We continue to expect to be current on holiday letter mail processing and delivery prior to Christmas.
Incoming holiday parcel volumes are down over 2017, and therefore down significantly from the double-digit growth we had anticipated and planned for. As a result, with our holiday delivery plans now fully in place, we are starting to see our operations begin to catch up for the first time since November. Uneven backlogs remain a significant problem within our processing network, which means delivery continues to be unpredictable.
Understanding the importance of online holiday shopping to Canadians and Canadian retailers, it remains our priority to deliver as much as possible before Christmas. While uneven backlogs mean we are not in a position to restore our delivery service guarantees, we encourage Canadians to continue to shop online as we believe we will see parcels reaching homes in time for Christmas in some parts of the country.
With our holiday delivery plans, employees are being offered voluntary overtime and almost 4,000 additional seasonal employees have been brought on to provide much needed processing and delivery support. We’ve bolstered our fleet with almost 2,000 additional vehicles to help with deliveries and moving product through the network. As the backlog is uneven across the country, we are also moving volumes between major centres in an effort to get parcels to their destination faster.
Every delivery day is important in this compressed holiday delivery season. There are now seven regular delivery days and two weekends left before Christmas.
International posts began to send items to Canada on November 27. The international volumes now entering the country are significantly less than expected. Processing lower incoming volumes, combined with the time lag for items to arrive in Canada, has helped us make some progress this week. With reduced international volumes and our continued work in partnership with the Canadian Border Services Agency, we continue to expect to be current on International items in January. There may be a modest delay for some international packages leaving Canada for other countries.
On November 13, 2018 Canada Post suspended service delivery guarantees due to the backlogs caused by ongoing strike activity. This meant that, while we continued to operate, we were no longer able to commit to the standard delivery time windows for parcels and other items. We continue to deliver, but due to the backlogs and other activities beyond our control, we are unfortunately not in a position to reinstate those guarantees.
We thank our customers for their patience and understanding and will continue to provide regular updates on the status of our operations.