December mail volume expected to hit a billion

The December mail amounts of approximately 25 per cent of Canada Post’s annual retail transactions and nearly 20 per cent of the mail sent into Canada from around the world is during the holiday season. The five biggest mailers to Canada are the United States, Britain, China, Hong Kong and South Korea. According to Cote, the single busiest day for processing mail was expected to be Dec. 13, with the heaviest delivery day being Dec. 21. Continue reading →

Personalized stamps need a place in the numbering – now

I believe that some of the personalized postage issues belong among the regular Canada Post listings in references, rather than lumped in the back of the book. The reasons, I believe, are compelling. Now, I am not talking about Uncle John and Aunt Mary standing around the Christmas tree, or even the new specialized issues, but personalized postage stamps created by Canada Post and sold to the public for use on mail. There are a small number of stamps that fit this category. Not, for instance, the Royal Conservatory stamps of last year, which were only sold cancelled on commemorative envelopes. No, the specific stamps I am talking about would be typified by the 2011 Eid, Hanukkah, and Diwali stamps. Continue reading →

Water snake rings in Lunar New Year

Canada Post will continue its second series of lunar zodiac stamps with two issues for the Year of the Snake. This year’s stamps, designed by Joe Gault and Avi Dunkleman of MIX Design Group and calligrapher Tan Chao Chang, feature a water snake. The snake represents intelligence, materialism and gracefulness. Those born in the Year of the Snake tend to be analytical and lovers of luxury. It is the fifth year in a row that two stamps have been issued in the series. Continue reading →

Overindulgent stamp issues not always bad

I have to admit that I am a big fan of the British television series Dr. Who. For most of my life I have been watching a succession of “doctors” battle a selection of British actors in rubber masks through space or time. The series, which is now 50 years old, obviously has staying power. Now I am not a “Whovian,” the name given to hardcore fans, many of who dress up as their favourite characters and attend events. Frankly, I think those folks have taken the idea of liking something to a bit of an extreme. I do, whoever, have a Dr. Who poster in my bedroom, but that’s as far as it goes. Really, you have to believe me on this. Continue reading →

Magnolias bloom on new flower stamps

New releases for the new year honour great Canadians, celebrate our birth months and help us see the flowery side of life. First, on Feb. 1, Canada Post will issue two stamps for Black History Month. This year’s stamps will honour jazz great Oliver Jones and Seraphim “Joe” Fortes, the longtime lifeguard and swimming instructor at Vancouver’s English Bay. The two men are featured in more detail elsewhere in this issue, (See Richard Logan’s article on page 16). Continue reading →

Cash crunch streamlines Canada’s postal history

When a successful post office that serves a large number of people is closed and replaced with a back corner of a drugstore, that isn’t converting from one type of post office to another, it is a definite and permanent reduction in service. It is also a definite and permanent reduction in cost for Canada Post. It is no secret that the corporation’s biggest single budget item is paying for its staff and their gold-plated benefit packages. Chief among these is an indexed pension, with Canada Post picking up the deficit. That deficit is huge, since Canada Post has lots of employees on the retired list. What’s more, thanks to modern medicine, these people are drawing pension money out for more years than ever before. However, closing a post office today does not mean a dramatic impact on the cost of servicing the pension plan in the short term. Continue reading →

‘Historic’ Windsor post office one of many facing closure

Canada Post is coming under fire over more post office closures and sorting station reductions. In Windsor, Ont., MP Brian Masse is leading a fight to keep the Sandwich Post Office open, and to retain jobs at a local sorting facility. One of the arguments in favour of retaining the post office is the historic nature of Sandwich, a very old community in what is now West Windsor. Sandwich was the original name of Windsor, and the site of several engagements during the War of 1812. The Sandwich post office, however, is located in a building constructed long after the war. Continue reading →

Kiosks offer collecting challenges

Now I really do believe that these machines add some fun to collecting. In my perfect world, of course, they would not be necessary. I would much rather see honest-to-goodness post offices staffed by real postal workers within easy reach of all Canadians. In this mythical world, these workers would all be well-versed on philatelic issues, make every effort to ensure that gentle cancels were respected and eager to offer hand-back service. Oh, and the use of a ballpoint pen to cancel a letter would be punishable by a day in the public stocks, while stamp collectors could toss rotten fruit and junk mail at the offender. Continue reading →

Stamp kiosks part of Canada Post pilot program

“As you can imagine, Canada Post is constantly looking for innovative ways to provide service to the changing needs of its customers.” Losier said. The kiosks were set up without fanfare or announcement. In fact, Canada Post did not comment on the kiosks officially until a late January announcement on the firm’s Facebook page. Losier said the dispensing machines are manufactured by Wincor Nixdorf, a firm that already supplies dispensers for several European authorities, including France, Britain, and Ireland. Continue reading →

Canada’s mail ship is listing dangerously

Sometimes, I have to admire Deepak Chopra’s decision to take the helm of Canada Post. With all respect to Moya Greene, what he took over was a sinking ship with a striking crew. Still above water to be sure, but taking on water. The real challenge remains the corporation’s difficult relations with its staff. To continue the analogy, it is as if the captain and the crew, both of whom recognize that the ship it taking on water, can’t agree if they should plug the hole, man the pumps, or shut the watertight doors. Unable to agree, they end up pumping a bit, closing a few doors, and making the hole a bit smaller, but still continue to take on water. Meanwhile, the ship is still steaming through iceberg-infested water and more hits are to be expected. Continue reading →

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