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

Douglas Gook ran for the B.C. Green Party in Cariboo North during the 2020 provincial election. (Photo Submitted)
“Disappointing” local campaign doesn’t dampen Green spirits in Quesnel

Cariboo North candidate Douglas Gook is celebrating a potential first mainland victory for his party

The City of Quesnel’s Forestry Initiatives Program hopes to work with former United Way Fire Mitigation Project crew bosses Gary Horely (left) and Ray Jungaro — seen here share information about the fire mitigation project during a November 2019 open house at the Forestry Innovation Centre at Quesnel City Hall – to duplicate the program to do FireSmart work on private properties in 2021. (Quesnel Cariboo Observer File Photo)
City of Quesnel hopes to FireSmart private properties in 2021

The fire mitigation project was formerly run by the United Way

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 94 service officer Ian Campbell (left) and president Jim Spencer present the symbolic poppy to Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson at the Tuesday, Oct. 27 council meeting at City Hall. (Lindsay Chung Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Quesnel Legion kicks off Poppy Campaign

Donations stay in Quesnel to support the urgent needs of veterans in the community

One person was killed in a two-vehicle crash south of Williams Lake on Highway 97 Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. (Photo submitted)
Highway 97 crash south of Williams Lake claims one life

Road conditions at the time were slippery and covered with slush: RCMP

The North Cariboo Seniors' Council supports seniors in a variety of ways, and the volunteer group is hosting an open house Friday, Oct. 30 so area residents can learn more about what they do and how they can become involved. (Photo Submitted)
Learn about new seniors’ council at Oct. 30 open house

Meet the directors, become a member Friday, Oct. 30 in downtown Quesnel

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

Commissioner Austin Cullen looks at documents before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver on February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
RCMP lacked dedicated team to investigate illegal activities at casino, inquiry hears

Hearings for the inquiry are set to continue into next week and the inquiry is expected to wrap up next year

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Court approves money for B.C. foster children alleging harm from Kelowna social worker

The maximum combined total award for basic payments and elevated damages for an individual is $250,000

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

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

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

Most Read