EDITOR’S NOTE: This is an updated story to reflect Canada Post issuing a lockout notice to CUPW.
Mail and parcel delivery service could come to a halt Friday after Canada Post issued a 72-hour lockout notice to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) representing 50,000 postal workers across the country.
Here’s what you need to know to get through a possible labour disruption.
Social assistance, pension cheques will be delivered
A widespread labour disruption would shut down postal service, save for a few exceptions. There is an agreement in place to ensure the delivery of federal income assistance and pension cheques.
Anything in the system will remain there until service resumes
If you have a letter or parcel in the Canada Post system July 2, that’s right where it will stay until service continues.
WATCH: Canada Post workers could go on strike or be locked out
Some governments have contingency plans
Check your local government websites to see what options and recommendations are in place should there be a service disruption.
The Manitoba government — which mails approximately 50,000 cheques every month — has made arrangements for government cheques and other essential mail to be available for pickup at designated locations.
For online orders caught in limbo
Each retailer’s policy is unique, and your best first step is to check your email inbox for a notice, or check the website from which you’ve ordered.
Online order confirmations generally list what service is being used to deliver your goods. If it’s not Canada Post, you’re in the clear.
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EBay has emailed its sellers encouraging them to continue to operate as normal — and has asked them to be considerate of buyers who might want to cancel orders not yet shipped.
Both eBay and Etsy say they will be monitoring the situation and when necessary adjust shipping delay penalties for sellers.
Other delivery options
While Canada Post ships roughly two of every three parcels that Canadians order online, it’s not the only the only delivery service around. Note, the price and exact delivery time-frames might not be quite what avid senders are accustomed to.
FedEx, UPS and Purolator are among the big-name delivery providers in Canada. UPS Canada said in a statement it is prepared to take on additional packages should there be a Canada Post work stoppage.
Meanwhile, Purolator has a warning on its website that delivery time guarantees will be temporarily suspended in light of the Canada Post situation.
Local courier providers can be found throughout Canada and some are offering special deals should Canada Post work stoppage occur.
Winnipeg-based Sierra Courier is offering a special postal service in the event of a strike, however, its website warns, they are already experiencing higher-than-average call volumes. PX Courier in Vancouver touts a $5 next-day local delivery.
Look into your payment options
It might be time to set up those electronic payments you’ve been avoiding — it’s definitely not safe to assume you will have a grace period for payments.
Other options could include making a payment over the phone or at your bank. Take a look at past statements or online for more information.
History of Canada Post work disruptions
Canada Post service was last halted in 2011. There were 10 days of rotating strikes, followed by a nearly two-week lockout before Ottawa invoked back-to-work legislation. The union has said it does not expect the Liberals to get involved this time around.
You can sign up to receive email updates on the situation at Canadapost.ca/update.
With a file from the Canadian Press