The Canada Post logo is seen on the outside the company’s Pacific Processing Centre, in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday June 1, 2017. Two weeks after the federal government legislated an end to rotating strikes by Canada Post employees, the federal government has appointed a mediator to bring a final end to the labour dispute. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Minister appoints former CIRB chair to resolve Canada Post labour dispute

Postal workers engaged in weeks of rotating walkouts

A former industrial-relations heavyweight has been appointed to bring a conclusion to the Canada Post labour dispute, two weeks after the federal government legislated an end to rotating strikes by postal employees.

Elizabeth MacPherson, a former chair of the Canada Industrial Relations Board, will have up to 14 days to try to reach negotiated contract settlements between the Crown corporation and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

The two sides have not been at the bargaining table since the Trudeau Liberals brought in a back-to-work bill to halt the rotating walkouts — legislation that sparked protests outside a number of Canada Post facilities in support of the postal workers.

READ MORE: B.C. postal worker accuses Canada Post of questionable tactics during strike

Bill C-89, which was passed into law Nov. 27, included provisions for the government to appoint a mediator with a mandate to bring the two sides together.

“Canada Post and CUPW were unable to agree on a mediator-arbitrator as per the process outlined in the legislation,” Labour Minister Patty Hajdu said in a statement announcing MacPherson’s appointment. “I remain hopeful that the two parties will be able to negotiate new agreements and continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Failing an agreement between the Crown corporation and CUPW, MacPherson will have the authority to impose a settlement through binding arbitration.

Canada Post said it would “fully participate” in the mediation process. The union didn’t have an immediate response.

The rotating strikes created havoc with the country’s postal system and caused delivery delays that are expected to continue through January.

READ MORE: Canada Post backlog, Greyhound exit creating headaches ahead of the holidays

While it said letter mail should be processed and delivered before Christmas, the Crown agency warned again Monday that parcel delivery dates remain “unpredictable.”

“Significant and uneven parcel backlogs persist across the country and continue to challenge our operations as heavy holiday parcel volumes arrive daily,” Canada Post said in a statement.

“Understanding the central role we play in delivering the holidays for Canadians and Canadian retailers, it is our priority to deliver as much as possible before Christmas. However, existing backlogs, along with other complicating factors such as protest blockades at our facilities and any potential severe winter weather events, means delivery will be hampered.”

Canada Post said Friday it was facing a backlog of about six million parcels but could not provide an accurate updated figure Monday, citing new incoming parcel volumes over the weekend. It said about 750,000 packages had been delivered.

CUPW, which represents 50,000 postal employees, has disputed Canada Post’s claims about the size of the backlog.

Whatever its magnitude, reducing the backlog has been encumbered by protests against the back-to-work order outside some Canada Post facilities since the strikes officially ended.

During the walkouts, Canada Post requested that foreign postal services halt deliveries to Canada.

That embargo has since been lifted, although Canada Post says overseas packages might still take longer to arrive as customs agents sift through their own backlogs of items that were held back.

READ MORE: Canada Post warns of huge losses as postal staff ordered back to work

Canada Post said it expects to receive “roughly half” the daily volumes of international shipments that are normal for this time of year.

MacPherson was recommended as a mediator by the Canada Industrial Relations Board after Canada Post and CUPW submitted their own lists of potential appointees.

When she was the chair at the CIRB, MacPherson was appointed in 2011 by then-Conservative labour minister Lisa Raitt to arbritrate a dispute involving flight attendants at Air Canada.

In her ruling, which the Canadian Union of Public Employees called “profoundly disappointing,” MacPherson sided with Air Canada, imposing an agreement that the carrier’s flight attendants had rejected a month earlier.

Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A woman holds a packet of contraceptive pills. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Chilliwack women’s organization among those lobbying for free contraception

Ann Davis Society says while it’s a women’s issue, all of society would benefit from program

Stock photo
Pair’s lawsuit dismissed against Fraser Valley soccer association and churches

Judge in Abbotsford calls claims against 14 defendants ‘an abuse of the court’s process’

RBSS students decorate a parking stall at the school as part of the Paint the Parking Lot project. (Facebook)
2021 Robert Bateman grads ‘Paint the Parking Lot’

RBSS students decorate Abbotsford school’s parking lot for a good cause

The Mennonite Heritage Museum on Clearbrook Road in Abbotsford.
Mennonite Historical Society in Abbotsford seeks input for storytelling project

Digital project asks for stories about living during COVID-19’s ‘changing times’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Sex offender who viewed underage girls as slaves has prohibitions cut from 20 to 10 years

Appeal court reviewed the case of Kyler Bryan David Williams, 29

Most Read