Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Last Post for Canada Post?

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Last Post for Canada Post?

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Last post for Canada Post?

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An editorial from the Waterloo Region Record, published April 25:

The great race between email and snail mail is over. And the snail got its tail kicked.

Given the choice between sending a written message halfway around the world in seconds electronically or waiting days, even weeks, for the same words in a stamped envelope to travel there by air, sea or land, more governments, businesses and ordinary people are turning their backs on the old and embracing the new. This means that Canada Post, as we know it, is doomed.

A new Conference Board of Canada report spells this out in no uncertain terms, warning that drastic and irreversible declines in mail volume caused by new technologies will leave Canada Post bleeding $1 billion a year in operating losses by 2020.

Of course, the nation's venerable letter -- and parcel -- carrier is only one of the victims dispatched by the communications revolution. Email, text messaging -- including of course BlackBerry Messenger -- smartphones, websites, Twitter, tablets and e-readers have all transformed the way humans communicate while disrupting entire, and once profitable, industries. Newspapers, magazines, television networks, phone book companies -- all have seen their business models blasted and struggled for survival.

Canada Post cannot turn back this tsunami of change. The federal government is phasing out the use of paper cheques by April 2016, and no wonder. It costs the government 13 cents for electronic direct deposit; producing a cheque costs 82 cents.

Or consider that half the households surveyed for the conference board report said they sent just two pieces of mail or less a month. Nearly one billion fewer pieces of mail were posted within Canada in 2012 than 2006. Not surprisingly, 16 profitable years for Canada Post came crashing to an end in 2011 when it lost $253 million. The Crown corporation predicts another loss this year.

The message from the conference board report couldn't be clearer. …

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