Helping to restore the philatelic vision

By now you have read, or heard about, some of the suggestions from the task force looking into the long-term viability of Canada Post. What’s missing from the 102-page report is any real focus on philately.

The closest the report gets to mentioning philately is the following reference in the executive summary:

“Public opinion research focus groups indicate that even though Canadians recognize the ongoing shift to digital communications, they are emotionally attached to mail: personal letters, parcels from loved ones, greeting and holiday related cards are viewed with much affection, even nostalgia.”

Should we be surprised? No.

Consider the following facts from the report:

“In 2015, Canada Post delivered 3.4 billion pieces of domestic Lettermail but this is 1.6 billion fewer pieces than ten years earlier in 2006 – a decline of 32 per cent. However, as Canada’s population continues to grow, about 170,000 new addresses are added each year. From 2014 to 2015, while domestic Lettermail volume declined 5.2 per cent, Lettermail volume per address declined 6.8 per cent. To summarize, Canada Post is delivering less mail to more addresses.”

Declining mail volumes means lost revenues from the sale of postage stamps. Then add another finding in the report regarding “Other Services.” Revenue collected under this category include e-post, MoneyGram, money orders, mail redirection, data products form Direct Marketing Mail such as postal code data, and lastly … “commemorative stamps, gifts and coins.”

In 2015, Canada Post revenues from “Other Services” only represented five per cent of the Crown corporation’s total revenues, so as much as we want philately to regain its role within Canada Post as it did before the digital age, it’s not going to happen anytime soon.

The pressing priority for Canada Post is unearthing ways to – once again – become self-sustaining.

And, as the report states, Canadians want this too.

“The history of postal services in Canada dates back to 1753. For much of Canada’s history, postal services were key to enabling Canadians to communicate with each other, and they proved indispensable in first building and then binding the nation together. It is clear that the Canada Post brand resonates with Canadians. Public opinion research reveals that 68 per cent of businesses of all sizes and the vast majority of Canadians (94 per cent) in all regions in urban, rural and remote communities believe that mail is highly important and that Canada will always need postal services that are owned and operated as a public service (88 per cent of Canadians and 83 per cent of businesses). Canadians (91 per cent) and businesses (83 per cent) are also highly satisfied with Canada Post’s services.”

I believe most philatelists agree “transformational change” is needed if Canada Post is to survive. We want the Crown corporation to remain a relevant part of our community, so as philatelists, we have a role to play.

The task force’s report will become the focal point of public consultations this fall by a parliamentary committee tasked to “to consult Canadians on the options and make recommendations to the Government based on what Canadians need for the future of Canada Post.”

The philatelic community has an integral role to play in this next phase. We should seize this opportunity to voice our concerns and ideas on enhancing philately – and revenues – within Canada Post. Public hearings have already been set and an online survey will be accessible from the committee’s website until Oct. 21. For more details, visit parl.gc.ca/Committees/en/OGGO. The task force’s full report is available at news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=1123369.

Let’s make sure philately doesn’t get forgotten.

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