Canada Post workers have returned to work after a back-to-work legislation was passed by the federal government earlier this week, putting an end to 37 days of rotating strikes that began in October.
The legislation went into effect on Tuesday, November 27, but Canada Post has issued a warning to customers to expect significant delays, as the agency is facing an unprecedented backlog of mail that could see deliveries delayed until early-2019.
- Direct marketing mail -- backlog expected to be cleared before December 25
- Lettermail -- backlog expected to be cleared before December 25
- Domestic parcels -- delays are expected during the peak holiday season and into January 2019
- International parcels -- delays are expected to stretch into March 2019
According to Canada Post, the backlog increased significantly over Black Friday and Cyber Monday and domestic parcel deliveries could be delayed into January 2019. International parcels will see the lengthiest delays, as all packages need to be screened by the Canada Border Services Agency, which means the backlog is expected to extend into March 2019. All lettermail is expected to be delivered before December 25.
Parcels are processed on a first-in, first-out basis and as of November 17, there were more than 600 trailers parked at Canada Post facilities across the country waiting to be unloaded, each carrying approximately 2500 parcels. That number has since dwindled to about 500, including 172 at Canada Post’s Gateway facility in Mississauga.
In an interview with CityNews, Canadian Union of Postal Workers Local President Megan Whitfield estimates the backlog at the Gateway facility should be cleared in about one week, as the back-to-work legislation means postal workers will be able to work overtime and on weekends to alleviate the logjam, as per their previous collective agreement. During the rotating strikes, workers could only work a maximum of eight hours per day.
While mail is moving, we aren't necessarily out of the woods, as hinted by CUPW National President Mike Palecek, "You cannot legislate labour peace. We are now moving to a different phase of the struggle...In the coming days we will be calling on our allies and membership for a campaign of mobilizations, demonstrations and non-violent civil disobedience."