Postal services only partially protected under CETA

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Thursday October 2 2014
2011-2015/324

The federal government has only partially protected postal services in the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Canada took an Annex I reservation rather than a stronger Annex II reservation.

An Annex II reservation would have protected existing or future non-conforming measures and allowed for future policy changes. For example, an Annex II reservation would have given the government the policy flexibility to reverse postal deregulation that is not working. 

Instead of adopting this stronger exclusion, Canada took an Annex I reservation that will protect Canada Post's existing exclusive privilege to handle letters, but lock in current and future government decisions to deregulate Canada Post.

As it stands now, CETA will lock in deregulation of outbound international letters.

Why is this significant?

Canada Post has an exclusive privilege to handle letters in Canada so that it is able to generate enough money to provide affordable postal service to everyone, no matter where they live.

The corporation used to have a right to handle both domestic and international letters. However, the Conservatives used the 2010 omnibus budget bill to push through legislation removing international letters from Canada Post's exclusive privilege.

This move eroded the Crown corporation's revenue-generating capacity.

Canada's decision to take an Annex I reservation means that current and future federal governments will not be able to democratically decide to reverse deregulation of international letters. This is not only undemocratic, it is also short-sighted. It is quite possible that a future government may wish to undo what the Conservatives have done in order to increase postal revenues which support universal postal service.

To find out more about CETA, check out ‘Making Sense of the CETA’, a report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives:

https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/making-sense-ceta

Groups in Europe and Canada are hoping it’s not too late to stop CETA. To find out more, go to: http://www.tradejustice.ca .

In solidarity,
Denis Lemelin
National President (2008-2015)