parcel sorting

Holiday headaches: Greyhound and Canada Post challenges

Parents across the country are worried their present purchases won’t show up before Christmas morning. Crown company Canada Post is in the process of clearing what BNN Bloomberg calls “an unprecedented backlog” following an extended labour dispute.

In October, transportation company Greyhound decided to pull routes from Western Canada and effectively exit the region, causing travel woes and disruption ahead of holiday festivities.

Online shopping often feels like a practical solution to Christmastime consumers who need to shop for gifts but may not be located near shopping centres.

Jennifer Critch, a mother who lives in a rural area, decided to opt out of the stress involved in the long commute and shop online instead. Her estimated delivery dates, however, keep getting pushed back. Her package is sitting in a Mississauga, Ont. warehouse an hour away.

“I’m OK if I get it Christmas Eve,” she said. “I just want it before Christmas.”

Recently, Canada Post removed their delivery guarantee until further notice.

Canada’s federal government ordered unionized Canada Postal workers back to their jobs at the end of November 2018 following five months of rotating strikes over “pay equity, safety and other concerns.”

Online shopping is only growing, and much of the product delivery falls on the government's mail service workers. Canada Post needs to handle parcel volumes “two to three times higher than normal for this time of year” according to spokesman Jon Hamilton.

Major processing centres like Vancouver and Toronto have the biggest backlogs, some “six million packages” have been sidelined according to BNN.

“We’re doing everything possible to deliver as much as possible, but the backlogs and the unevenness mean delivery is going to be very unpredictable,” said Hamilton. “We will deliver a lot before Christmas, but we’re continuing to monitor to see what we might not get to before Christmas.”

Canada Post has rented “1,400 additional vehicles for deliveries and 500 more for moving items between facilities. It has also added 4,000 seasonal employees.”

Nasty winter weather and ongoing protests at postal locations mean there’s no guess as to when services will resume their regular and reliable schedule.

Greyhound is no longer an alternative delivery method west of Thunder Bay, Ont. Companies that used to rely on Greyhound for delivery are taking a bit of a punch.

“Greyhound had pretty great rates and they also went all over the country. A big challenge that we’re having now with them gone is that there aren’t a ton of couriers that will service rural areas and places that are a little further off the beaten track.”