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Postal workers ask Canada to match EU protections for postal services

On May 14, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers wrote to Steve Verheul, chief negotiator for Canada in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement negotiations with the European Union, urging Canada to protect postal services to the same extent as the EU is proposing.

The letter reads:

During our meeting on March 4, 2012 and the civil society conference call on May 3, 2012, you indicated that Canada has so far taken an Annex I reservation for postal services in the CETA negotiations regarding services and investment, while the European Union (EU) has taken an Annex II reservation.

As you know, an Annex I reservation would lock in this government’s decision to deregulate international letters and also lock in this or any future government’s decision to further deregulate Canada Post.

CUPW would like to know why our government has not taken a stronger Annex II reservation like the EU, which would allow our government to make future policy changes in a reserved postal sector. Why wouldn’t our government want the policy flexibility to take measures such as reversing postal deregulation that is not working?

CUPW strongly urges you to move to an Annex II reservation. We certainly hope that our country does not negotiate less than the EU, as it did with the US during NAFTA. During these trade talks, the US took stronger reservations than Canada, which left our government fighting an expensive lawsuit over Canada Post’s courier services for years.

The CUPW case for an Annex II reservation for postal services applies to water distribution and many other municipally delivered services where the EU has taken stronger protections allowing EU member states to expand services and adopt measures or regulations affecting them in the future without fear of a trade challenge. To read our report with CUPE on the failure of provincial governments to fully protect water in the CETA negotiations, click here. To respond to our action alert, demanding full transparency from the provinces and territories and a public role in approving any deal with the EU, click here.

The Canadian Labour Congress has produced a briefing note on how Annex I and II reservations apply to Canada’s health care system and some of the threats in CETA to public health care. You can read it here.