LABOUR VIEWS: June 22, 2016

Postal Banking and the future of Canada Post – From anywhere… to everyone.

Written by: Alexander Lambrecht, President Northern Territories Federation of Labour

 In 1981 the Canada Post Act came into effect demolishing the Post Office Department of Canada. Since then Canada Post has evolved and modernized its operations, however, over the last few years many tactics have been employed by Canada Post to reduce expenses, increase revenue and eliminate the services that Canadians and businesses depend on to receive their mail; such as bills, pension cheques, letters and packages from family and friends et cetera.

Despite these tactics, Canada Post workers have remained committed to ensuring that Canadians receive the highest level of quality public services possible but not without challenges from Canada Post in their efforts to try and deceive Canadians through campaigns feigning financial difficulties despite continuing to be profitable year after year, having just announced $44m in revenue for the first quarter of 2016 (double the profits from the same quarter in 2015).

What can we do to help save Canada Post and create services to help out Canadians that live in remote regions or communities without banking services? Well, why not create a Bank for Everyone? Postal banking isn’t new, Canada Post started offering banking services in 1868, but by 1969 the chartered banks challenges of postal banking and government lobbying effectively forced the government to wind-down postal banking.

Why now you might ask is postal banking so important? The big banks failing Canadians through high banking and ATM fees, cutting services and closing remote branches. Of course we cannot leave out the predatory nature of Pay Day lenders that gouge workers with high short-term loan interest rates and cheque cashing fees.

What would a Canada Post Postal Banking service look like? Services could include; savings and checking accounts, online banking, bank machines, credit cards, debit cards, pre-paid cards, money transfers, insurance (home, auto, travel, etc.), loans and mortgages, investment products (RRSPs, mutual funds, annuities), foreign currency, and other services such as financial counselling – basically every service offered by the big banks but for EVERYONE and in the best interest of Canadian workers, similar to the postal banking services already offered in countries like France, Brazil, New Zealand, Italy, and Switzerland.

With 6,300 outlets, Canada Post has the largest network in our country and with infrastructure that could support the offering of affordable internet and cell phone services to thousands of Canadians, it begs the question – why not create a postal banking service to increase Canada Post’s revenue on the condition that a percentage of all profits from postal banking are invested in the communities they serve.

On June 23, 2016, submissions to the Canada Post Review Task Force for organizations close and submissions from the general public have until July 31, 2016 to submit a submission.

Canada Post’s employees have a long history of wanting the best for Canadians and ensuring that they receive the best possible public service. It’s time that we repay their dedication with our support to save public services that are apart of Canada’s history and do this before it is too late.

From anywhere… to anyone.