Postal banking debate enters Parliament

Postal union workers joined Saint-Roch-des-Aulnaies Mayor André Simard and MP Irene Mathyssen on Parliament Hill last month to put pressure on other MPs to support postal banking in Canada.

Mathyssen, an NDP MP for the London-Fanshawe riding, recently presented motion M-166 to call for a committee to study and recommend a plan for a federal postal banking system administered under the Canada Post Corporation. Debate on the motion began late last month in the House of Commons.

“We have been advocating for many years to bring back banking at the post office as a way to increase revenue at Canada Post while expanding its capacity to offer services that are both wanted and badly needed,” said Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) President Mike Palecek, who stood with Mathyssen; Simard; and Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association President Brenda McAuley during a recent press conference.

“Thousands of rural municipalities and indigenous communities are without banking services but many have post offices that could offer banking services.”

POSTAL BANKING

Postal banking is the provision of financial and banking services offered through the post office. Postal banks exist in many countries, including the U.K., France, New Zealand, Japan and India, among others, and are used to promote financial inclusion and economic development as well as generate revenue to preserve public postal services and jobs.

“Canadians have an appetite for postal banking,” reads a statement issued by the CUPW last month. “Over 600 municipalities have passed resolutions that support postal banking and 63 percent of respondents to a 2013 Stratcom poll supported expanding revenue-generating services, including financial services such as bill payments, insurance and banking at Canada Post.”

In January, the federal government unveiled its long-awaited vision for a renewed Canada Post by calling for expanded service options and alternative revenue streams.

“Postal banking fulfills the Government’s vision for Canada Post. It is profitable, sustainable, and provides accessible banking services to all Canadians. It is a win-win opportunity for the Government to better serve Canadians,” added Palecek.

Postal banking is included in CUPW’s bargaining demands in the current round of collective bargaining with Canada Post.

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