Trans-Pacific Partnership a threat to public postal service - Not too late to take action!

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Thursday April 14 2016

The federal government has signed but not yet ratified the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an unbelievably bad trade agreement that threatens jobs, the environment, democratic rights and public services like Canada Post.

A legal opinion, commissioned by CUPW, suggests that it is not unreasonable to regard the TPP as a threat to the future of Canada Post.


Highlights of opinion

Canada did not take any reservations for postal services. Other countries like Japan and Singapore did.

The legal opinion points out that Canada’s failure to take reservations exposes Canada Post to the restrictive rules of the TPP, which may give rise to state-to-state and investor-state challenges to our public postal system.

It says “the TPP raises the spectre of another protracted investor-state claim challenging the activities of Canada Post, like the UPS v. Canada case, this time buttressed by TPP provisions.”

(For more information, go to


The opinion notes the private courier industry, especially Fedex and UPS, committed substantial resources to influencing TPP negotiations. It says that the TPP rules concerning postal services closely reflect the objectives of this industry to curtail or eliminate competition from public sector service providers, particularly in the express delivery market. As well, it argues that the Harper government declined to exempt postal services in support of this agenda (i.e. take reservations).

The legal opinion concludes by stating “the TPP rules present no direct threat to the letter mail mandate of Canada Post, but they do impose significant constraints on its ability to maintain a business model that depends upon the integration of express package, courier and letter mail services…”.

It also finds that TPP rules establish new barriers that would limit Canada’s options for allowing Canada Post to respond to new challenges and opportunities in the marketplace and, as indicated earlier, that it is not unreasonable to regard the TPP as a threat to the future of Canada Post. 

To learn about additional TPP problems such as its undemocratic investor-state mechanism, go to:


TPP state of play

The government is currently consulting on the TPP.  A parliamentary committee – the Standing Committee on International Trade - is inviting individuals and organizations to make written submissions (1500 words maximum) by emailing by April 30th. CUPW will be making a submission.

The committee is also holding hearings in Ottawa and across the country.


Not too late to be heard 

  • Contact your Member of Parliament (MP) and let them know that you have concerns about the TPP. 
  • Also, please consider participating in any activities being organized in connection with the cross-country hearings.

Say no to the worst trade agreement ever!



Mike Palecek
National President (2015-2019)