/R E P E A T -- OPEN LETTER Re: Potential Canada Post Strike/

TORONTO, May 18 /CNW/ -

Mr. Deepak Chopra, President and CEO
Canada Post
2701 Riverside Dr.
Suite No. 880 Ottawa ON K1A 0B1

Dear Mr. Chopra,

On behalf of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) and our 108,000 members - small- and medium-sized independent business owners across the country, we are writing to express our concern with the potential strike of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) on May 25th and to encourage Canada Post to make the necessary changes now to contain future costs that will allow Canada Post to be viable in the future.

Our members are growing more and more concerned with the growing cost of public sector pensions in general and the sustainability of Canada Post's current plan. And, many of our members are alarmed by the rising costs at Canada Post especially in light of the new proposed rate increase of up to 4.6 per cent scheduled for January, 2012. This will only further impact SMEs and push even more businesses to look for alternatives to the postal system altogether. At the same time, for other small businesses, a lengthy mail interruption may negatively impact their firms.

We know that falling mail volumes will lead to even greater financial pressures on Canada Post. With revenues decreasing, Canada Post needs to better manage its costs. Therefore, we are supportive of the proposal for a new wage and pension system for new hires. While we are not suggesting those at or near retirement should not have their pensions honoured, we fully support the proposal to change the pension plan from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan for all new employees. We also support changing the sick leave program so that all employees can no longer bank sick days every year. This antiquated practice should be replaced with a new program to manage sick leave which is fairer to those who are truly ill and is the norm in the private sector.

There is a growing need to objectively assess Canada Post's pension and benefits plans and to enhance fairness of the system. Governments and government agencies at all levels should be seeking ways to manage their costs and in doing so must address the ballooning public sector pension liabilities that already exist. We are pleased to see Canada Post taking a step in the right direction to do just that. We support the proposal of a new tiered wage and pension system for new employees, as well as replacing the banking of sick days with a new sick leave program. Wage, benefit and pension reforms at Canada Post are absolutely necessary to avoid massive service price increases. These increases will negatively affect the performance of small businesses, which already cover overly generous union contracts. We therefore urge Canada Post to not shy away from the tough decisions that need to be made to help contain costs and put pension plans in a more sustainable position.


Catherine Swift
CFIB President and CEO



For further information:

To arrange an interview with Catherine Swift, please contact Meghan Carrington or Gisele Lumsden at 416 222-8022 or email public.affairs@cfib.ca 

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