OTTAWA — With a little over a week before Christmas, Canada Post says it is starting to catch up on parcel deliveries that have been delayed by rotating strikes over the past two months.
The Crown corporation says that's largely because it is taking in fewer holiday parcels than expected.
At the same time, however, the agency says it cannot restore its delivery guarantees because backlogs remain sporadic across the country.
Canada Post says volumes of international deliveries are also significantly less than expected, allowing postal workers to make some progress in reducing backlogs of packages from foreign locations.
International volumes 'significantly less than expected'
The corporation requested in mid-November that its international partners stop sending packages to Canada while work stoppages were held in cities across the country.
Those international carriers resumed shipments Nov. 27 after the federal government passed back-to-work legislation, forcing an end to the rotating walkouts.
"The international volumes now entering the country are significantly less than expected," Canada Post said in a statement. "Processing lower incoming volumes, combined with the time lag for items to arrive in Canada, has helped us make some progress this week."
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Letter mail deliveries, meanwhile, are "current," the corporation said, meaning that Christmas cards and other mail are expected to be delivered under normal timeframes.
Canada Post said its employees are being offered voluntary overtime.
As well, the agency said it has hired nearly 4,000 additional seasonal employees and bolstered its delivery fleet with almost 2,000 additional vehicles.
Binding arbitration process possible
The federal government appointed mediator Elizabeth MacPherson earlier this week to try to negotiate contract settlements between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, which represents about 50,000 postal employees.
The two sides sat down to their first meeting with MacPherson on Wednesday. She has until Monday to bring both sides to a deal, although that deadline can be extended by another week.
If no agreements are reached, the former chair of the Canada Industrial Relations Board also has been given authority to begin a binding arbitration process in January.