Canada Post shares a number of similarities with the U.S. Postal Service, including its founding by Benjamin Franklin in 1753 when both Canada and the 13 colonies were under British rule. Both posts are self-supporting, meaning they pay for their operations through the sale of postage and services. And Canada Post, like the Postal Service, has suffered volume losses the past few years.

Here’s where things get different, though. Canada Post has adopted a radical plan to restore its financial health, featuring bold initiatives that might seem too politically difficult in the United States. Canada Post’s five-point plan is intended to streamline operations, cut costs, and return the corporation to fiscal self-sufficiency by 2019.

The plan features:

Ending to-the-door residential delivery over 5 years. Two-thirds of Canadian residents already are without to-the-door delivery, so, while it is a major change, perhaps it is not as disruptive as it would be in other countries.
Upping the price of postage. Bought in bulk, stamps that now cost 63 cents (CAD) will be 83 cents. Bought singly, the same stamps will cost $1. The increase still needs approval from the regulator.
Streamlining via franchise post offices. Franchise post offices are more convenient for customers and less costly to operate. There’s a moratorium, however, on closing existing rural post offices given their popularity among customers.
Increasing efficiency. Consolidation and technology improvements, including faster sorting equipment and more fuel-efficient vehicles, should improve operations. No resulting changes are expected in the corporation’s fairly relaxed 2- to 4-day delivery standard for letter service, yet parcel delivery is expected to improve.
Reducing labor costs. Along with the service cuts, Canada Post said it would eliminate 8,000 jobs, mostly through attrition.

Canada’s plan has met with criticism from opposition political leaders, labor unions, and some citizens. But Canada Post defends the plan saying without major operational changes it will lose $1 billion a year starting in 2020. It also faces a $6.5 billion pension fund shortfall.

What could the United States learn from the Canada Post plan? Are some of these initiatives worth trying in the United States? Or are they not the right approach for the U.S.? What cost-cutting and revenue-generating ideas should the Postal Service focus on? 

Comments (4)

  • anon

    so amazing article

    Jun 20, 2014
  • anon

    Why are laws different for town the any other drunk driver who wipes out a mail box? If one places their mail box in according to rules of delivery if the town of Smithfield who sub contracts with Kincaid wipes it out and you mail goes flying that to me is hit and run and a federal offense for my mail being taken out of my box.Why is they feel they don't have to pay to fit the damage they done but other drivers have too.Why to sets of rules.Hear is the video of my mail box cut in half by the blade of the plow and if I put my mail box any more in the deep ditches they have the man mail would not deliver as they would be in the ditch.They already have their left side tires of the tar to deliver now.

    Mar 24, 2014
  • anon

    Most of the of the points listed that Canada is implementing the USPS is attempting already. However, I believe the USPS often makes decisions that are over generalized. One mold does not match the diversity of the retail needs of its customers. What is good in a metro area, urban or rural location is different from each other. It does not embrace the diversity of its customers fully. Along that same thinking. Understandably the USPS works under numerous employment restraints with the numerous unions and management organizations, yet it generalizes so much it does not take in advantage of the diversity of its present workforce. Why would a company that has spent numerous time and training into existing employees attempt to hire from the street to run small post offices? Why not utilize your present workforce that they insist needs to be reduced anyway. The Part Time Postmaster position has a salary that can only attract unskilled labor. It can only be attractive to a Postmaster that is close to retirement and would not mind the cut in pay. However, if the position is not filled it goes to career employees and it again is still with the requirement of the employee in taking a severe cut in pay to accept the position. So basically the job will be filled with unskilled off the street individuals. On the flip side, how many rural Post offices do we have? How many are Level 18 offices? Why does USPS staff these offices with a Postmaster at all. Why don't they utilize Level 7 clerks and utilize Postmasters in larger offices to oversee. The USPS takes to severe of a cut with its positions and by passes the already established knowledgeable staff it has on the books already. Retail standardization? How many of the USPS offices can actually display the retail products it is expected to sell? If you want to sell product, you have to put it where the customer can see it.

    Mar 03, 2014
  • anon

    Postal Reform legislation is needed to deal with both negative and positive technological change, and to overcome the crushing burden to pre-fund future retiree health benefits. The pre-funding mandate, which was imposed by the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, was directly responsible for more than 80 percent of deficits reported between 2007 and 2013.

    Mar 03, 2014

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