If the Canada Post strikes have you worried your holiday deliveries won’t make it in time for the festive season, fret not: you still have options.
Although the Crown corporation has yet to update its website holiday delivery schedule, it has told consumers they can expect delays stretching into the new year as a result of rotating strikes that began last month.
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The federal government said Tuesday it plans to table back-to-work legislation if a resolution is not reached between the corporation and the union in the next few days. However, it’s unclear as of yet what impact that will have on delays. So how do you make sure your holiday mail gets where you need it to go in a timely fashion?
Look beyond Canada Post.
Typically, the holiday cut off to ensure delivery is Dec. 11 for regular mail, Dec. 20 for Xpresspost and Dec. 21 for Priority mail. Although if you’ve ordered something via Canada Post you’ve likely received an “exception notification,” informing you that due to the strike “we may not be able to deliver your parcel within our standard delivery times.”
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It’s unclear what the new delivery time frame might be. In a statement, Canada Post warned customers they could face “potentially long and unpredictable delays.” In the interim, other shipping companies are stepping in to shoulder the holiday load.
Still, cautions Allan Pratt, CEO of ShipTime Inc., which serves as a one-stop intermediary between people who want to ship and multiple big-name shipping companies, plan for delays even if you’re not using Canada Post.
ShipTime typically serves small- and medium-sized businesses, he says, although they typically see an uptick in individual shipping requests during the holiday season. This season, he says, they’ve seen an additional 35 per cent in growth because of the rotating postal strikes.
“Coming at this time with Black Friday and Christmas, which is certainly the busiest time of our year… the impact is even greater.”
As a result, Pratt says, people should brace for holiday delays. Although, he notes, the delay will likely be much shorter with non-Canada Post companies like UPS and FedEx.
“Everyone is being impacted, one way or another.”
As for what’s the very last day to get your requests into ShipTime before a timely holiday delivery is no longer possible? Well, Pratt says, that depends on which company you want to ship with.
James Anderson, a spokesman with FedEx, says the company hopes that Canada Post negotiations are “resolved amicably,” but has put in place its own contingency plan to ensure it can still meet its deadlines while managing “unexpected volumes.”
If you’re looking for delivery before Dec. 25 in Canada, FedEx has the following deadlines as a guideline:
- Dec. 14 for Ground delivery
- Dec. 19 for Economy delivery
- Dec. 20 for 2Day delivery
- Dec. 21 for First Overnight, Priority Overnight, and Standard Overnight delivery
UPS has its own deadlines if you’re aiming for delivery ahead of Dec. 25:
- Dec. 20 for Expedited delivery
- Dec. 21 for UPS Express*Early, UPS Express, and UPS Express Saver delivery
UPS has seen an increase in deliveries around the holidays, said a spokesperson via email, and is focusing on delivering “reliable service” in the wake of the Canada Post strike. However, as Pratt from ShipTime noted, UPS is also alerting people that “temporary adjustments to our domestic service may be required.”
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As for whether people should budget for extra delivery charges if they’re going to use alternatives to Canada Post, Pratt says that really will depend on what you’re shipping and to where.
A spokesperson for Chit Chats, which provides delivery support for businesses, says delivery volumes have jumped 30 per cent in the last month. Chit Chats’ pricing is roughly 40 per cent cheaper than Canada Post if you’re shipping Vancouver to Toronto, per the company, more if you’re shipping Vancouver to the U.K. However, the Chit Chats holiday cut-off dates are fast approaching. The deadline is Dec. 5 in Atlantic Canada and Dec. 7 for people in B.C. and Ontario.
eShipper, a Canadian-based company that also serves as a one-stop shop connecting people with a variety of shippers, says its rates are “extremely competitive compared to Canada Post.”
Imtiaz Kermali, vice-president of sales and business development with eShipper, says that while it might be disheartening to see the backlog of packages, its not too late to make sure your deliveries arrive on time.
“Our advice is very simple,” Kermali says, “there are a bunch of different options outside of Canada Post. Don’t be afraid to reach out.”