Canada Post union strike cost a lot more than two weeks' revenue as Canadians take digital route

by Knowlton Thomas

Canada Post lost about two weeks of revenue when its 48,000 union employees went on strike.

It also lost a lot more.

During those two weeks, hundreds of thousands of Canadians switched their paper bills to e-bills for all kinds of services in order to continue receiving their mail during the strike. And few are apt to revert back to paper billing even though Canada Post employees head back to work today following the government legislation.

For example, ING Direct saw 350,000 of its customers switch to electronic statements. This equates to $2.4 million annual revenue for Canada Post, now lost.

And Shaw Communications saw 70,000 people switch from paper to digital in June, a notable spike over their regular monthly adoption rates.

Even smaller companies like Calgary's Enmax Corporation saw 5,000 customers sign up for online billing, which a company spokesman described as a "very dramatic increase" in a recent Globe and Mail article. 

You get the idea.

All of this adds up to not only immediate revenue losses, but significant losses over time as well. Once people realize how convenient e-billing is, they never go back. Canada Post is caught in a decline that is impossible to reverse, and the strike only served to accelerate its effect.

Canada Post itself even advertises its ePost service, which consolidates e-billing into one account. It is perhaps semi-useful, but more important, it speaks loudly to the fact that this is a company who is essentially admitting that its own core service isn't that convenient.

The union shot itself in the foot by crippling the future prospects of the company its employees work for. How can they expect Canada Post to pay them more when they're diminishing its revenue?

Canadians are going digital. Forever. And both the company and the union need to recognize this—and be worried.


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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes and author of Tempest Bound. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys hiking, tennis, and martial arts. more

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