Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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Jessica McDonald
View Jessica McDonald Profile
Jessica McDonald
2018-04-17 11:57
For sure. I mean, as I say, there is a very active environment inside Canada Post looking at the strategic options: what our customers need, how our assets are currently being used, and where our investment in network expansion will be put, as well as what that means in terms of downtime in some of our plants and how we may be able to better utilize our entire system. Whether it is alternate day delivery, weekend delivery, or any of the other aspects, these are all always part of the strategic analysis inside Canada Post.
I do imagine that some of these elements, and maybe other ideas as well, will also come up in our discussions toward a new collective agreement, and I look forward to more creative discussion and more ideas about how we can use the system we have and support employees to be successful in continuing to meet the ever-changing needs of our customers.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2018-04-17 11:58
Thank you, Madam Chair. One of the things I want to address is Amazon.
With regard to postal delivery services, Canada Post has carved out a very good strategy by going to markets that might not have been affordable, such as smaller communities, but still doing so because of the principles of Canada Post and an operating philosophy for Canadians that's different from just the bottom line.
The interesting aspect you have is that Amazon is in competition for massive public subsidization, whether it be in the United States or Canada right now, and it is going to be one of your major competitors. Are there any thoughts in terms of what the business plan response is going to be from Canada Post if Amazon receives massive public subsidization?
Clearly, whether it's a facility located in Canada or the United States, there seems to be municipal, provincial or state, and maybe perhaps even, on the U.S. side, federal allocation of dollars to get their operations going for everything from road infrastructure to technology, as well as training dollars. Has there been any thought about that situation? Your competitor is going to receive quite a serious, significant contribution, most likely from the public purse.
Ron Parker
View Ron Parker Profile
Ron Parker
2017-05-11 8:55
Madam Chair, we are pleased to appear before your committee to discuss Shared Services Canada's 2017-2018 main estimates and departmental plan.
With me are John Glowacki, Chief Operating Officer, Alain Duplantie, Chief Financial Officer and Senior Assistant Deputy Minister for Corporate Services, and Sarah Paquet, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister of Strategy.
Shared Services is mandated to modernize the government's information technology infrastructure. Created in 2011, we deliver email, data centre, network, and workplace technology device services, as well as cyber and IT security services to the departments and agencies across the Government of Canada.
Our work supports the digital delivery of programs and services such as employment insurance, pension benefits, and emergency responses. As outlined in our departmental plan, improving the delivery of IT infrastructure services is our top priority. As a recent example, SSC played a leading role earlier this year in managing the cyber-vulnerability related to a software called Apache Struts 2, which became a worldwide problem for government and private sector systems around the beginning of March.
Canada was well positioned to respond to this threat thanks to SSC's enterprise-wide security approach. This approach provides a better view of government networks and infrastructure, and therefore the ability to take quick and coordinated action for all departments and agencies that are part or our security perimeter.
Ultimately, all systems and services for Canadians remain secure as SSC coordinated with the Treasury Board Secretariat and the Communications Security Establishment to quickly isolate vulnerable systems and ensure the protection of government and citizen data.
This fiscal year is an important one for us. With our planned 2017-18 budget of $1.7 billion, we will continue to strengthen cybersecurity and refresh legacy mission-critical IT infrastructure. We will also build on our progress towards achieving our target state. Our goal, for example, is the consolidation of what's now estimated at approximately 700 legacy data centres to seven or fewer enterprise data centres. To date, we have closed more than 90 legacy data centres and opened two enterprise data centres. Construction is under way for a third enterprise centre in Borden, Ontario.
SSC's main estimates represent an increase of almost $176 million over last year. This is mostly due to the multi-year funding provided in budget 2016, which we're investing in a number of projects to maintain and replace legacy mission-critical infrastructure, critical IT equipment, and some security investments.
SSC is using these funds to replace more than 40,000 out-of-date components, such as older servers, networks and telecommunication systems.
This includes upgrades to a number of telephone systems, including six RCMP operational control centres in British Columbia for 911 capability.
We have also replaced 3,000 BlackBerry devices for Global Affairs Canada to ensure secure and reliable mobile communications at missions abroad.
Today many of the government's infrastructure components are reaching the end of their life cycles, and some are no longer supported by vendors. Our work in maintaining legacy equipment is therefore vital to keeping the operations of the government running smoothly to ensure continuity of services to Canadians.
Shared Services Canada also secures the integrity of the network systems and information. As I discussed earlier, the security we provide is a clear advantage for the Government of Canada. It did not exist before SSC.
Our cybersecurity efforts were supported by Budget 2016 funding of $77 million over five years. Our department collaborates closely with other agencies, such as the Communications Security Establishment, in putting in place security controls.
This work includes maintaining the integrity of the IT supply chain. To date, Shared Services Canada has performed more than 17,000 supply chain assessments and will continue to incorporate security controls for all of our procurements.
On procurement, I would like to mention that budget 2017 included proposed legislative amendments to make the delivery of IT goods and services simpler, easier, and faster. The proposed changes would amend the Shared Services Canada Act and were part of the budget implementation act.
This would allow the minister responsible for Shared Services Canada to delegate the purchase of certain items, such as workplace technology devices, directly from vendors through SSC's contracting vehicles. SSC will continue to set up IT contracts and ensure economies of scale. As well, we will continue to perform the supply chain integrity assessments to ensure only trusted equipment, software, or services are used in the delivery of services.
We welcome these changes as they will provide better service to our customers while ensuring value for money in enterprise security using our procurement tools.
This coming year, we will update the Government of Canada IT infrastructure plan to modernize IT infrastructure and government-wide cyber and Internet security.
The updated IT plan will reflect lessons learned from SSC's early experience as well as the broad-based consultations we held last year with SSC employees and other federal public servants, Canadians, and industry. Overall, we received more than 2,500 submissions from stakeholders. The updated plan will also reflect the views of parliamentarians, the Auditor General, and the independent panel of experts commissioned by the Treasury Board Secretariat.
Once the plan is considered by ministers, it will be our road map for the subsequent three years. It will include timelines for moving to a simpler, smarter, and more secure government-wide platform.
We have already taken action on some of the recommendations.
For example, we have developed a service management strategy to deliver service excellence and improve the planning, costing and delivery of our services to customers and Canadians.
As part of this, we survey chief information officers every month, asking them questions on five key areas: timeliness, ease of access, positive outcome, process aspects, and engagement experience. This past March, we scored 3.2 out of 5, up from 2.71 in July 2016, and the highest we've scored to date. This is an important achievement, reflecting the heroic efforts of our employees. We must continue, because there is still a lot to do.
We are also in the process of renewing all business arrangements with our customers. These arrangements clearly identify the IT services and support we provide, as well as our service performance standards. They are a key part of our commitment to quality service delivery.
We're also increasing the agility of government IT. This includes completing a collaborative procurement process to establish standard and secure access to commercially available cloud services for unclassified data for all of our customers. Among their many benefits, cloud services will permit easier and faster access to compute and storage services. They will also allow government workers to be more innovative in how they offer services to Canadians.
Much remains to be done to modernize government IT, but we are making steady and important progress. We are also proud of the partnerships we have established with our customers and what we've achieved together.
Madam Chair, this concludes my remarks. We would be pleased to take the committee's questions.
View David Christopherson Profile
NDP (ON)
I'm sorry, deputy, are you kidding me? We get better answers in the House.
Let's move on.
Let's move on to page 46, “Percentage of documents translated and revised for Parliament within the deadline.” In 2013-14, it was 96.99%. In 2014-15, it went up to 97.45%; then in 2015-16, it dipped down a bit to 96.7%. Your target again is lower than this year's actual.
Marie Lemay
View Marie Lemay Profile
Marie Lemay
2017-05-11 9:24
We're comparing apples to oranges, I think, because it's the actuals and the targets. We're putting a target and we're actually—
View David Christopherson Profile
NDP (ON)
I'm asking why your target is below what we had last year. You keep talking about all these ambitions in here—innovation, efficiency, momentum, and there's a lot happening—yet the documents and the data tell us you're going in the opposite direction.
Marie Lemay
View Marie Lemay Profile
Marie Lemay
2017-05-11 9:25
The target would have also been 95% the year before and the year before that. It's a question of setting the target and then having the actuals.
View Francis Drouin Profile
Lib. (ON)
Okay.
I want to get back to the line of questioning that Ms. Shanahan was following with regard to the transformation plan. You've mentioned that you've consulted with stakeholders, but I believe that your most important stakeholders are your clients, or your customers, as you call them. How much time do you spend with them trying to understand their business?
I know that one of the major complaints was about timing, about being able to deliver services at their request. How much time is SSC spending with their client organizations to ensure that they understand—I know that they still have responsibility for applications—what their needs are? How much time are you spending with them now?
Graham Barr
View Graham Barr Profile
Graham Barr
2017-03-07 9:25
We have been spending a significant amount of time with our client organizations. That is a key difference from the original transformation plan, which did not have as much consultation.
We have a number of partner organization advisory boards built into our governance at Shared Services Canada. We have been consulting with deputy ministers and chief information officers as well as with employees in customer departments on what their requirements are. We have been holding joint fora with chief information officers as well as chief financial officers to talk about the way ahead, whether it's on the technology side and the IT architecture side or with respect to funding models that can be more sustainable for a transformation program of this scope. That work of consulting with departments is certainly not over. It's something that we expect to continue and even to increase in the future.
As I mentioned in response to the earlier question, we have set up account teams for each of our partner organizations so that they can be more integrated into the business of the departments and provide a better understanding of their requirements. We certainly will be continuing that approach as well.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
When we talk about the potential additional cost savings by moving to community mailboxes, you talk about an extra $320 million per year. There is $80 million per year that's claimed to have been saved by converting about 850,000 doors to community mailboxes. There's discussion about converting the rest—about 28% of homes that still have directly to the door delivery—to community mailboxes. That's about $100 per unit per year. Do you feel that using tax money to subsidize this type of higher level of service is justified? Or do you believe that all things being considered equal, the community mailbox service is a high enough level of service when you take into account that if we don't go ahead and do this, we'll have to find the $320 million elsewhere? Maybe you disagree with the premise. Mr. Mayor?
Paolo Fongemie
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Paolo Fongemie
2016-10-06 10:54
I think everyone has to be efficient. If the service provider gives a quality service, which it's not right now with the implementation of the community mailboxes, it brings other issues and does bring other costs. I'm not sure the savings are real savings if they've changed my box four times in the last six months. That's a lot of added cost.
Having said that, coming back, it's working together with other departments, because what we have with Canada Post is that network in rural communities, and how we can benefit from that network is by adding other services and maybe being more efficient overall with all the departments in Canada.
Carson Atkinson
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Carson Atkinson
2016-10-06 10:54
The community post office boxes I think are working. We're not hearing a lot of complaints about that because they can reasonably access the local post office. Were that post office to close, it would be an entirely different situation. There would be a crisis and there would be another one of these presentations on that issue alone.
View Ramez Ayoub Profile
Lib. (QC)
I'm going to switch to French, so maybe you can put on your ear piece.
I'm very tight on time, so I want to make sure that I make my point and have the right question.
That is an interesting parallel between public transit and service companies. It is a good comparison but it is not perfect. With regard to public transit, whether for buses, trains or the subway, the service level can vary depending on whether you live downtown where population density is high, or outside of the downtown area.
Is it a service model that could vary depending on the options chosen? If I want much faster service, I chose a personalized service that might be a bit more expensive, but it is faster and better for me. As a business, I am ready to pay it, but the service is based on what I pay. Basic service is always available. Could this model be studied and perhaps offered to businesses right across Canada?
My question is for either one of the witnesses.
Katharine MacDonald
View Katharine MacDonald Profile
Katharine MacDonald
2016-10-05 10:38
I'll just share this very quickly.
I recently spoke at a legislative standing committee on a separate issue, but I'm realizing how many parallels there are. It was on the closing of the ferry for the summer. I see that there should be equitable access to service for rural and urban communities, regardless of where you live. I'm not sure how that can necessarily be achieved without having the costs distributed in such a way that no one is disproportionately affected by the rise in cost.
To speak to your question to Penny, I spoke recently to other members of my group of small business owners. They said that the way they first started to react to the hike in postal prices was to try to produce higher-value products to sell, so that each time they had to mail something, they were going to earn more revenue on the product itself. That's so the costs would be more proportional, I suppose, to the items they were mailing. However, that's a difficult thing for everyone to do.
In one way, it's not entirely fair for the people who produce smaller items and still want to rely on a fair, frequent, and fast service.
View Ramez Ayoub Profile
Lib. (QC)
My question wasn't on not giving service or giving poor service. It was about giving the right level of service, and maybe a superior level of service if you're paying more.
Penny Walsh McGuire
View Penny Walsh McGuire Profile
Penny Walsh McGuire
2016-10-05 10:40
It was noted by our policy committee in reviewing the task force report that privatization was not on the radar.
To speak to your question about enhanced service and the fee for enhanced service, which is essentially what you're saying, I think our membership in the business community would be supportive of that. Really, the way the private sector operates today is that you pay for an enhanced service.
I do note that the majority of Canadians and the business community are happy with the service, but to our point, we have noticed a change.
View Kelly McCauley Profile
CPC (AB)
Things never go back down.
Ms. McGuire, what do you think the people you represent place more importance on with Canada Post: reliability, or a one- or two-day delay? We've seen some polling that says everyone wants it tomorrow for free, but it's fine if it's going to be there in two or three days. I'd rather know it's going to be there in two or three days for sure, rather than maybe tomorrow.
Ms. MacDonald, what do you place more importance on, greater reliability or a one- or two-day difference?
Katharine MacDonald
View Katharine MacDonald Profile
Katharine MacDonald
2016-10-05 10:43
I'd say that people would definitely prioritize reliability. That is something that I've personally noticed. I've spoken to other people about this, and they've noticed that over the past few years, they have seen a rise in lost or broken packages, which usually has to come out of a business person's pocket. I would say reliability. As long as you can count on it getting there, then one to two days extra is....
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
That's interesting.
When we look at some of the things that have been proposed by the task force, they talked about further streamlining of processing operations and further synergies with Purolator, with those two combined items providing up to $82 million in annual savings. It must be on their radar because you've spoken with them about it.
When it comes to franchise outlets—and maybe this is more a question to you as a consumer—when you think of going to Canada Post, is it important to your business whether or not you're walking into a Canada Post that is associated with another corporation like Shoppers Drug Mart or that you're walking into a corporate store? Do you feel you're getting better service at one versus the other? How has past franchising of operations affected your business, and has it been significant or not?
John Barrett
View John Barrett Profile
John Barrett
2016-10-05 11:13
We have a large sampling. We're in every nook and cranny in this country. We don't have any complaints with the service. The delivery service standard is well within what we think is acceptable. We have an active customer base of 250,000 Canadians, and if there's an issue or if things are slow, then we hear from them because they are charged the shipping and handling rate, but it's not an issue for us. Only very rarely will something go missing. It will usually show up eventually.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
Have you seen any differential between franchise operations versus corporate operations when those errors arise?
John Barrett
View John Barrett Profile
John Barrett
2016-10-05 11:14
No, and I'm not sure we would know what the end delivery point was anyway.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
When we look at other things in terms of competition between Purolator and Canada Post and the Canada Post differential products, such as express mail service versus regular mail, do you feel that the right balance is there, or do you feel that the best possible service should be offered, or are we making some services inferior so that we can sell other services at a higher price? From your perspective as a mail carrier, how does this all work?
Brad Pareis
View Brad Pareis Profile
Brad Pareis
2016-09-29 15:39
As a breakdown for Canada Post services, we used to offer a premium service called “Priority Courier” for delivery in a very short amount of time and before noon. It was targeted to businesses. You could get your business mail to another business next day between major centres, before noon—premium price, free signature.
They gradually started reducing that level of service, even though it meant that in Dryden it was never a day between major centres. You would have a day to Winnipeg or a day to Thunder Bay, but it's not a major centre. They started reducing that level of service, and then it became that you no longer had to deliver that product before noon. The logic was that they were having to pay people more to deviate from their normal line of travel to deliver that product before noon—
View Ramez Ayoub Profile
Lib. (QC)
Since the demand for parcel delivery has risen, the unions have shown some openness in terms of opening hours, so the service can be offered on Saturday or Sunday, for example.
Would that be useful for the Dryden region?
Brad Pareis
View Brad Pareis Profile
Brad Pareis
2016-09-29 15:46
I think it would be extremely helpful. As a union and as workers, we've been open to providing services on Saturday through our wickets. We would have no problem at all to increase delivery hours, change delivery hours, or offer delivery on Saturdays, if necessary.
Frank Schiller
View Frank Schiller Profile
Frank Schiller
2016-09-28 9:20
I think the key to ensuring the viability of the operational long-term is having an accurate indicator of demand. I think that the corporation, over successive plans, has undermined demand for this service. That goes back to taking care of your employees and focusing on delivering a viable and reliable service for customers.
Frank Schiller
View Frank Schiller Profile
Frank Schiller
2016-09-28 9:20
Local delivery has been cut from three days to seven to nine days. If the post office had a three-day delivery schedule it could be very different from what they're looking at now. If, rather than pushing away from door-to-door delivery and making it more difficult for Canadians to receive their mail at home, they put the focus on how they could increase their service for Canadians at home, maybe that would drive innovation in the way that's core to the mandate. I think that's really key.
We have a Canada Post act and a mandate for a crown corporation because we've deemed this to be a vital service. I would encourage committee members to direct the corporation to keep the focus on delivering the service. The better they do that, the more their projections will improve. There is a requirement for mail delivery in the country, even with the Internet age and all the rest. If anything, some people look at it as only increasing the demand for a reliable postal mail and package delivery service.
I look here in Windsor at the cross-border trade you mentioned. If we want to send something to Detroit, it goes to Toronto and ends up in Chicago. That's the antithesis of integrating our supply chains for further trade and development. The corporation has to look at ways to take advantage of these natural economies that are locally present and allow local businesses and local users to capitalize on that and get stuff across the border faster.
Norm Sutherland
View Norm Sutherland Profile
Norm Sutherland
2016-09-28 9:26
My knowledge of the situation, coming from a small town, is that people will accept delivery two or three times a week. You reduce time, and the question I was asked I didn't really answer clearly.
In the survey and engineering work, what did we do about costs? We used three-person crews. Now we use one. How do you do the same work or better work with one person? You use electronic equipment, some of which costs $45,000 or $50,000. We've had to invest in equipment that has reduced the labour intensity.
Maybe with the postal service we get more electronic or more mechanized, and that way you can still provide the service. I feel strongly from my survey that you don't really need delivery five times a week even from a business point of view, but there are ways to reduce the cost and still provide the service.
Derek Richmond
View Derek Richmond Profile
Derek Richmond
2016-09-28 9:35
I'm the CUPW Ontario region coordinator. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the committee for coming out and allowing us to speak today. I'm here to share a viable future for Canada Post, one that is focused on expanding service and ensuring that Canadians receive benefits from expansion instead of decreasing service.
In December 2013 Canada Post and the Harper-led Conservatives announced a Canada Post five-point plan that included an increase in the price of stamps and eliminating door-to-door delivery across Canada. After this announcement, it was very clear that Canadians opposed this decision and voiced the concern that they wanted the service to remain.
CUPW launched a campaign to save door-to-door delivery. Canadians all across this country signed petitions, called their MPs, and created community groups dedicated to this cause along with many special interest groups publicly opposed to the elimination of this service. CUPW reached out into the community by going to several community events and canvassing, and received overwhelming support at every event we attended.
I'd also like to point out a letter by Justin Trudeau prior to the federal election, dated September 25. It was an open letter to public service unions. In this letter the Liberal government made it very clear they wanted a better service for Canadians, and they also stopped the Harper plan to end door-to-door and assured Canadians they would receive the postal service they rely on. This topic should not have been up for the postal review in phase one. This was an election promise that should be honoured.
Between December 2013 and election day, several cities were chosen to lose their home mail delivery, including parts of Windsor. Municipalities started to see the impacts from installing CMBs and the costs downloaded on to municipalities, which resulted in over 600 municipalities across Canada submitting resolutions to keep the current door-to-door delivery mode. The public and municipal councillors started calling the union offices on a regular basis, frustrated with Canada Post's decision and lack of compassion with regard to not only losing this service but also with the locations where Canada Post was installing these community mailboxes. Many complaints came into our office in regard to Canada Post not getting back to residents with regards to complaints, so they felt they needed to contact the local to vent their frustrations and have a compassionate ear to listen to their complaints. After CMBs were implemented, we also fielded calls about frozen locks, lack of ice and snow removal, lighting, vandalism, vehicle traffic, litter, illegal dumping of garbage, and unsafe access.
Canada Post failed in this attempt to convince Canadians that increased costs and decreased services is a good thing. Canada Post failed to consult with Canadians, especially the most vulnerable Canadians like seniors and people with disabilities. Canada Post had little regard for seniors, people with disabilities, and homeowners while making these decisions.
Another important issue surrounding the post office is ensuring that Canada Post continues to not only maintain the current five-day delivery but expands to the growing needs of Canadians who make online purchases. Businesses and Canadians rely on daily delivery for sensitive material. Addressed and unaddressed ad mail is an effective marketing tool for large and small businesses that stimulates sales and job growth.
Canadians are more and more using e-commerce, and the essential demand is to receive these items more quickly. Canada Post must expand parcel delivery to evening and weekends to meet these demands and ensure customers receive items straight to their front door. Weekend and evening parcel delivery will decrease the need for customers to travel to a retail counter to pick up their item. It's an additional chore. Imagine now having to go pick up your mail at a CMB and then having to travel to a retail counter to pick up your parcel. This is extremely frustrating for Canadians who deserve a better service.
Again we ask Canadians to pay more for a service but receive less service. Canada Post is the number one parcel company across the country in Canada and must expand to meet the growing needs of Canadians for e-commerce. If we do not expand service, Canadians will go elsewhere for delivery needs.
Alternative-day delivery would force our customers to use alternative delivery companies that provide daily delivery but at a higher cost than Canada Post. These costs would be downloaded on the customer, a further revenue loss for Canada Post.
The declining volumes of letter mail can be attributed to large corporations that charge anywhere between $2 and $4 to mail statements. This encourages Canadians to sign up for e-billing as they do not wish to pay gouging fees for service.
This practice should be stopped by the federal government immediately. With the insecurity of the online world, the safest way to transmit important sensitive material is still the mail service.
Canada Post also needs to expand into postal banking. All over the world, postal banks are thriving, bringing additional revenue to expand service. Those countries are India, Italy, Switzerland, and Taiwan.
Many different options on how to create postal banks need to be considered, including aligning with a credit union or branching on our own. Postal banking would provide basic banking services, like savings and chequing, bill payments, cheque cashing, ATMs, and other fees.
I'm running out of time, aren't I?
View Kelly McCauley Profile
CPC (AB)
I understand. In a past life, I was head of very large hospital foundation for seniors, but also for the severely disabled, so I understand.
There is the system, and you talked about it, where Canada Post will do—from my understanding—a delivery every day to the community mailbox, and then once a week they'll collect it all and deliver it to the house. I haven't looked at it, but you were saying it's a very cumbersome system. I imagine anything related to government paperwork is cumbersome.
If it's simplified properly, as you see it, what consultation and input from groups such as yourselves is needed so that Canada Post knows what people have to go through to get it done? Do you see that as viable alternative or something that will help? Then seniors don't actually have to leave.
Gayle Jones
View Gayle Jones Profile
Gayle Jones
2016-09-28 10:05
I think it would be helpful, absolutely.
Anything you can do to allow an individualized accommodation is what you want, and make it simple and easy for that person to access. That person should have a menu of options. Some might choose to have the lower mailbox because we've consulted with the public.
If we get a better consultation and they're able to go there, and it's a little more accessible, and we have worked out between the municipalities and the homeowners and Canada Post who's going to shovel snow and stuff....
Gayle Jones
View Gayle Jones Profile
Gayle Jones
2016-09-28 10:06
It would help.
I think a better option would be reduced days of service, but if that's not a possibility, that's what I would suggest.
View Kelly McCauley Profile
CPC (AB)
There are a lot of ideas getting thrown out by people, and that's the value of having you here today. Your time is well spent with us. Thanks.
Mr. Richmond, one of the things we've heard about from some of the business groups was weekend delivery for boxes and parcels.
Did I hear you say that it already exists?
Derek Richmond
View Derek Richmond Profile
Derek Richmond
2016-09-28 10:06
We want to expand service into weekends, and I believe a provision in our collective agreement that we just signed allows for weekend delivery. We can expand weekend delivery. We can expand evening delivery.
View Cheryl Hardcastle Profile
NDP (ON)
Thank you so much.
My next question is for Mr. Richmond.
We haven't heard a lot of representation here from the business community and small and medium-sized enterprises, Mr. Richmond. I'm wondering if you can talk to us a little bit about the importance of daily delivery.
We have an existing Canada Post infrastructure that needs to be leveraged, as we've heard before. I know that CUPW is very innovative and very eager to be a part of the new reality and of keeping Canada Post current.
I'd like you to talk a bit about the significance of daily delivery and some of the nuances around that in terms of a business argument.
View Cheryl Hardcastle Profile
NDP (ON)
Thank you.
I'd like to ask either Mr. Lyons or Ms. Johnson, or between the two of you.... I'm sure the committee has more insight with some of the members, but I know Canada Post in the future.... Canada Post, as we all know, is something that Canadians can really get engaged in. There are a lot of Canadians who are very knowledgeable in business. A lot of Canadians are very astute about the vastness of the country and how we have had to socialize what we call social infrastructure. Even railways in the past, building a nation....
I know there are two visions, obviously, that come forward now, like take the most profitable part, which seems to be the parcel delivery, lop it off and privatize it. The other one is a really innovative, really intriguing vision that CUPW has.
You mentioned it a little bit earlier, Ms. Johnson, with regard to nutrition north, the potential daily delivery. I'd like to hear you guys talk a little bit more about the real vision for the existing infrastructure and how to leverage it.
Michelle Gouthro Johnson
View Michelle Gouthro Johnson Profile
Michelle Gouthro Johnson
2016-09-28 11:08
Canada Post has 6,300 retail post offices across the country, whether they be urban or rural, and we're everywhere in the country. The national union has teamed up with the Leap Manifesto about building community power and having the post offices as a hub.
The businessman earlier from Petrolia spoke about his post office once being a community hub. We've talked about expanding, not only into postal banking, but into grocery delivery to the north by teaming up with nutrition north. We know that the north is subsidized through other programs, but who better to deliver that than the post office that is in every community?
That's why we think of postal banking to indigenous communities and into the far north communities.
Cottam, Ontario, which is a small town probably 35 kilometres outside of Windsor, just lost its only bank. Here's a community in southwestern Ontario without a bank.
We also talked about greening our fleet. We have the largest fleet, the largest logistics fleet in the country. Much of it has been converted to electric or hybrid vehicles. We talked about having charging stations for other vehicles around the country, not just postal vehicles, and maintaining an elder watch postal hub as a public postal service available to all Canadians.
Michelle Gouthro Johnson
View Michelle Gouthro Johnson Profile
Michelle Gouthro Johnson
2016-09-28 11:14
What happened was before the five-point plan, Canada Post had started to close processing plants. And talking about financial sustainability, they were building billion-dollar plants in Montreal, Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Edmonton, and then closing a lot of the smaller plants, say Windsor, Quebec City, Halifax, and basically, in essence, shipping the mail, in Windsor's circumstance, to Toronto and back, thus affecting delivery standards for Windsor.
So Canada Post has gone from 21 processing plants across the country down to five mechanized. They have a lot of really state-of-the-art equipment, but it's very concentrated and we all know the size of Canada compared to, say, Great Britain or Finland. In trying to get mail logistically down the 401 and back...and everyone who might have come down the 401 today knows, there's construction everywhere.
View Yasmin Ratansi Profile
Lib. (ON)
It was interesting, because when we talk about the uncertain financial picture of Canada Post...we had a professor who did a whole review of it. She said that the Ernst & Young report said the projection is $63 million in deficit, yet in the first quarter it has made $45 million in profit, which is a $108-million turnaround.
With the discrepancy between people, the union doesn't buy the figures. We haven't sat down and looked at the figures. The bottom line is that those are Canada Post's figures. When it comes to sustainability, there's a whole division as to whether Canada Post is sustainable or not. There's also $650 million in corporate executive salaries. We have to balance the whole thing.
The professor also made an interesting comment. She that Canada Post management lacks imagination. It cannot think outside the box. The only thing it thinks to do is cut labour costs.
You were with the Chamber of Commerce. You have a lot of creative, innovative businesses. What are some of the innovative solutions that balance Canada Post as a business and as a service?
Art Sinclair
View Art Sinclair Profile
Art Sinclair
2016-09-27 14:24
I have somewhat of a background in government. Going back 20 years there was a fundamental shift in the way government in North America operates. It wasn't just here with Paul Martin in Ottawa and Mike Harris in Ontario, but even with Bill Clinton in the United States.
I think we started going in to a paradigm that government is not going to be all things to all people. Government has identified what the priorities are for government. What should the government deliver? What should the private sector deliver?
I think that's the key challenge for Canada Post going forward. What are the key businesses, what are the priorities, what is Canada Post going to do, what is Canada Post going to do well, how is Canada Post going to deliver that service cost efficiently, and what services should Purolator or the private sector competitors in parcel delivery be doing?
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
I'm sorry I will be missing it. It's always a good time.
Thinking about the future, we look at the task force report and it paints a pretty gloomy picture. Even if it's wrong by a few percentage points, there are very slim margins for a very high-revenue business, so there's a lot of risk baked in. If we're thinking about potential future opportunities, I look at some of the things we've talked about in previous editions of the committee, possibilities for expanded service offerings. People have talked about evening and weekend delivery for Canada Post, taking it in the other direction to offer more interesting e-commerce solutions. Maybe there's an opportunity for logistics fulfillment and delivery.
Do you feel that your members would take advantage of those types of services, back-end logistics services or delivery? Are there e-commerce companies here in the Kitchener-Waterloo area that would like to see an expanded service offering from Canada Post?
Art Sinclair
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Art Sinclair
2016-09-27 14:40
Yes, I think so, just generally if it was cost-competitive and convenient, if Canada Post was offering a service that Purolator wasn't, or at different times than Purolator. I probably shouldn't use Purolator as an example all the time; there are other—
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
Well, Purolator is 92%-owned by Canada Post, so it's an interesting situation there.
Art Sinclair
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Art Sinclair
2016-09-27 14:41
Yes, if it's filling a need in the marketplace that's not being filled, then certainly I think our members would use it.
View Nick Whalen Profile
Lib. (NL)
Not all regions of the country get these based around a world-class research institution like yours, but there are farming communities in what you call the greater Kitchener-Waterloo area. Are there any gaps in service delivery out there? Do you see, as we've seen in other parts of Ontario, that banks are retracting their local service offerings and people have to travel farther and farther to get the day-to-day services they need, or is service availability still pretty widespread throughout the area?
Art Sinclair
View Art Sinclair Profile
Art Sinclair
2016-09-27 14:43
We're pretty well serviced in this area. As I said before, we have three cities: Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge, and four townships: Wellesley, Wilmot, Woolwich, the three Ws, and North Dumfries: three cities, four rural townships.
Generally the service delivery here...and I think this is generally applicable across rural Canada and rural Ontario, if you're in a rural area the closer you are to an urban area there's a good chance you have better service delivery. That includes everything from education to health care. I think it's well known in Canada the closer you are to an urban centre, the better the quality of health care you're going to have.
Particularly with us, it's not a big issue. West of here, for example, Huron County, which is right on the shores of Lake Huron, has a serious issue because there's no major urban centre. So the service delivery in that municipality is significantly less and we're talking pretty well across the entire federal-provincial-municipal portfolios.
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