Servicing more than 16 million addresses[1] in Canada, Canada Post is facing delays in delivering mail and parcels as a result of a labor strike over wages that began last month.[2] While strikes are rotating throughout different Canadian cities[3], the impact on the mail and eCommerce parcel supply chain has a number of businesses worried as the holiday shopping season nears.

“Because these are rotating strikes, meaning the strikes are organized in such a way that only a portion of the employees stop work at any given time, the strikes have affected transit times but have not shut down the entire Canada Post network. Delays are averaging 3 – 4 days (as of late Wednesday afternoon, October 31st), depending on which facilities are striking.  Our recommendation to our clients is to proactively update transit times with customers, explaining that Canada’s rotating strikes may impact delivery,” says Mark Driscoll, VP Strategic Development and Co-Founder, Point2Point Global.

Keeping supply chain partners informed via multiple public platforms during any delivery disruption helps minimize confusion and panic. Social networks, website news alerts and emails to customers are the best communication vehicles to keep everyone up-to-date. All updates should also provide an alternate solution for time sensitive packages.

“Offering customers an expedited, though possibly more costly, alternative to Canada Post, would be the best option for urgent packages,” says Mark.

Point2Point Global’s Customer Success Team also keeps customers informed directly during any supply chain disruption.

According to Rosa Heile, Customer Success Manager, Point2Point Global, “Clear and consistent communication is one of the most important aspects of our partnership with our customers. We proactively share the latest updates with our eCommerce retailers, publishers, fulfillment houses and marketplaces, advise them on the best alternative shipping methods and how to communicate this information to their own customers.”

Most recently, 375 workers walked off the job in St. John’s, over 1,800 Canada Post workers walked out in Hamilton, Ontario, and La Mauricie, Quebec[4], joining additional communities including North Bay, Ottawa, Campbell River, Courtenay, Nanaimo, Port Alberni and more.

On Wednesday, October 31st, Canada Post spokesperson Jon Hamilton shared, “There is a backlog of over 150 trailers in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal of items waiting to be unloaded and processed, with more arriving every day. Once processed, these items have to be delivered without overburdening our delivery employees. As a result, customers could see delays of several days.”

While there are hopes that the new mediator, Morton Mitchnick, a former chairman of the Ontario Labor Relations Board, will resolve the strike before the holidays, companies moving packages through Canada Post should prepare to clearly communicate their game plan to their customers.

Read the official update on the Canada Post strike here.