Pilot program will foster better communication

At the October CCNA board of directors meeting in Toronto, the CCNA board passed a resolution asking that a task force be established to look into relations with Canada Post Corporation (CPC) and to investigate the possibility of a national community newspaper rate.

President Lynn Hennigar took on the responsibility of this task and in mid-November met with senior Canada Post officials in Ottawa. This meeting was followed by a further meeting between CCNA staff and Canada Post staff in late-January and a meeting between CCNA and the leadership of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers in February.

The major point that CCNA raised was the perception from many of our members have that CPC does not want their business and a sense that there is an increasing hard line being taken on rule and regulation enforcement. CCNA also spoke about the need for Canada Post to continue to have a public service mandate.

CCNA outlined the current business environment for the industry and stressed the importance of a good working relationship while recognizing the reality that CPC is both a competitor and a business partner. CCNA also asked that any disputes be dealt with in a positive and constructive way that did not inhibit the timely delivery of newspapers.

It appears that the primary issue is flyers. The first flyer issue is the insertion of flyers into the newspaper. It is clear that a small number of members are not following the established CPC rules, and are failing the “pinch test.” The second issue was the 70/30 rule. In some cases, as many as 24 flyers were included and in other cases, the flyers were clearly much bigger than the actual paper. CPC agreed that in instances where it was clear that papers were in violation of the rules, CPC would meet with the papers and the paper would be given adequate notice of problems, and postmasters should not refuse papers on the day of mailing.

The third flyer issue concerns newspapers that use Publications Mail. There have been a number of concerns raised by PAP, CPC, and competitors that some newspapers are receiving PAP subsidy for large flyer inserts. CPC indicated that they would be monitoring this more closely, to ensure that PAP subsidy only applies to the newspaper.

Aside from flyer issues, CCNA raised a number of concerns about delivery. CCNA expressed concerns that time of week and time of day delivery are barriers for newspapers. CPC undertook to work with CCNA where this was a problem. Both parties agreed that better communications of the rules to both postmasters and to newspapers would reduce confusion.

CCNA also raised the issue of a special rate for newspapers. CPC indicated that it would be interested in pursuing the issue with our industry, but that further discussion was needed, especially at the regional level.

One area where there was complete agreement among CCNA, CPC, and CUPW was the continued need to work together to promote viable communities and to ensure that they were served by CPC.

As follow-up from the meetings, CPC has provided CCNA with the list of operations contacts to ensure that any immediate problems can be dealt with quickly. They have also agreed to monthly meetings to deal with issues around specific papers. CCNA and CPC have identified three newspapers that have long-term problems with Canada Post and from this will be looking to establish a template to resolve issues between the member and CPC. This process will also include the local postmaster, CCNA and possibly CUPW. We hope to expand this program