Canada Post still slow to deliver

One week after Canada Post employees were legislated back to work, many Canadians are still checking their mailboxes in vain.

One week after the Canada Post lockout, the union and the corporation disagree on reasons for delay

Many Canadians are waiting to spot mail carriers at their doors in the aftermath of the Canada Post lockout. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

It has been a week since Canada Post employees were legislated back to work, but many Canadians are still checking their mailboxes in vain.

Both the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and Canada Post agree that mail delivery is not yet up to speed, but neither side takes the blame for the delays.

Meantime, customers are complaining.

Janet Murphy, owner of a children's toy boutique in St. John's, said Canada Post delivers the bulk of her American merchandise.

In the aftermath of the lockout, she hasn't been able to locate her wares with tracking numbers.

"It just says 'In Canada' and it can't tell me what's happening with it right now," Murphy told the CBC's Vik Adhopia.

When she calls Canada Post, Murphy added, the company assures her it's doing all it can to return to business as usual.

Sides disagree on reasons for backlog

Alain Duguay, CUPW president of the Montreal local, said the delays are not accidental. He accuses Canada Post of deliberately dragging its feet to restore the pre-lockout level of service.

In an interview with CBC Radio's Daybreak in Montreal, he described his local post plant as "full, full, full" — worse than during the holiday season.

"It's not a decision of the workers," said Duguay. "The workers are mad because they can't deliver the mail."

Denis Lemelin, national president of CUPW, said Canada Post won't pay its workers the overtime needed to speed up the system.

"It seems they don't want to spend money to deliver the mail," said Lemelin. "Some mail [has been] in the system since June 15, so this mail has to be delivered."

Canada Post spokesperson Anick Losier agreed that the system has been clogged with "piles and piles" of mail.

Losier told Daybreak that another wave of mail rolled in after the lockout, as many people had been waiting to send off items.

"We are limiting overtime," she said. "It is going to take some time. Even if we added overtime right now it wouldn't make the mail move faster."

Losier said mechanized equipment is running 24 hours a day, and that Canada Post is handling the situation in a way that is "fiscally responsible."

"We just lost a lot of money. We lost over $200 million in a month," said Losier, who added that Canada Post has seen business move to its competitors.

"We have a lot of rebuilding to do. Not only clearing the backlog but rebuilding our brand."

She said customers will see their mail in "the next week or so," but the union suggested it could take longer.