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Warning: On the Brink of Canadian Mail Disruption

A warning to online merchants inside and outside of Canada: the country is on the brink of a disruption to domestic and international mail service due to a dispute between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. This comes after disruption was averted last month. In the event of a strike or a lockout, packages could become stranded in the postal system.

Canada Post said on Wednesday, “It is clear that talks have reached an impasse.”

It also warned, “Canadians could expect a 72-hour strike notice to be issued by the union between now and August 25, 2016,” though the union has sought to extend the negotiating period and retain its right to strike beyond the August 25th strike-mandate expiration date.

Back in June, some sellers in Canada had begun putting their online stores in vacation mode in fear of a service disruption caused by the labor dispute. In July, eBay became so concerned about the impact on its business, that eBay Canada’s Managing Director Andrea Stairs wrote a letter to Canada Post and the CUPW union strongly encouraging them to come to a long-term agreement that restores certainty in Canada’s postal service.

Stairs had written in her letter, “In demonstration of their resiliency and adaptiveness, many eBay SMBs have created a patchwork of solutions. For example, one eBay seller recently commented that they were “using local pickup for local sales, couriers for domestic, and daytrips south to use USPS for international sales”” – the same strategy we pointed out in the June 27th issue of the EcommerceBytes Blog.

eBay said in July that while Canadian small businesses have developed alternative shipping arrangements outside of Canada Post, “Ultimately, the ongoing negotiations create unnecessary work for Canadian SMB’s and jeopardize parcel volume for Canada Post.”

Representatives of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers are planning to attend Canada Post’s annual public meeting scheduled for today, August 19th.

You can read more about the dispute in yesterday’s EcommerceBytes Newsflash.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.