Evidence of meeting #19 for Finance in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was business.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

John McKenna  President and Chief Executive Officer, Air Transport Association of Canada
Diane Brisebois  President and Chief Executive Officer, Retail Council of Canada
Terrance Oakey  Vice-President, Federal Government Relations, Retail Council of Canada
David Goldstein  President and Chief Executive Officer, Tourism Industry Association of Canada
Susan Margles  Vice-President, Government Relations and Policy, Canada Post Corporation
Hassan Yussuff  Secretary-Treasurer, Canadian Labour Congress
Bob Elliott  President, Canadian Printing Industries Association
Barry Sikora  General Manager, Classic Impressions Inc., Canadian Printing Industries Association

4:50 p.m.

Secretary-Treasurer, Canadian Labour Congress

Hassan Yussuff

Well, I guess there's a fundamental question: is Canada Post able to keep its mandate in terms of services across the country and at a reasonable cost where Canadians can continue to have access to them? I don't know how much business they need to lose for us to recognize that. There will have to be some recognition that it will have an impact on the corporation's ability to keep its mandate.

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

So that's what we should be keeping an eye on? Making sure the service is going to be--

4:50 p.m.

Secretary-Treasurer, Canadian Labour Congress

Hassan Yussuff

Canada Post has a much broader mandate. We used to have Air Canada having to fly in smaller communities. Once we deregulated, we saw the impact of Air Canada no longer having to provide service to those communities. Those communities are struggling with how they'll get services.

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

So it's not just about jobs, but about services?

4:50 p.m.

Secretary-Treasurer, Canadian Labour Congress

Hassan Yussuff

Yes. It's a combination of both.

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Thank you.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

Thank you.

Monsieur Généreux, s'il vous plaît.

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Madam Margles, you seem to be really popular today. It's probably because you're really dynamic, like all the other employees of Canada Post, probably.

I have a question. Has Canada Post's turnover declined over the past four or five years, or has it remained stable?

4:55 p.m.

Vice-President, Government Relations and Policy, Canada Post Corporation

Susan Margles

I didn't understand.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Has the turnover declined over the past five years or has it remained stable?

4:55 p.m.

Vice-President, Government Relations and Policy, Canada Post Corporation

Susan Margles

Our revenues have fallen sharply, particularly last year, as a result of the economic situation.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Have profits followed the same curve?

4:55 p.m.

Vice-President, Government Relations and Policy, Canada Post Corporation

Susan Margles

Yes, they've followed the same curve. If you look at our annual report, you'll see profit of approximately $270 million, but most of that isn't money, but rather an accounting treatment. I can say that revenues declined and that profits declined as well. Canada Post is doing everything in its power to achieve the same profits. We've cut our costs considerably, and we've changed a lot of things in order to be more efficient, and to do so without job losses.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

That's very good. I believe you are very competent and dynamic administrators.

A little earlier, during your presentation, we saw the spark in your eyes when you said you were going to compete with the private sector. You've been doing it now for 25 years, if I understand correctly. Do you have an idea of what Canada Post wants to put in place so that it can retain its market? Do you have an idea of what you are going to do from the moment the act is in force?

4:55 p.m.

Vice-President, Government Relations and Policy, Canada Post Corporation

Susan Margles

First, with regard to costs, I talked about our postal transformation. That will give us various ways to process and deliver mail at lower cost. We'll therefore have a little room to manoeuvre. In addition, we are still studying the various ways in which we can find other revenue, other clients, either by offering them different products through our retail network, or by doing things in the digital field. A lot of people are moving in the communications field.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

During your presentation, you said you weren't afraid of competition. You're going to face it by putting in place the necessary elements you've just spoken about. Will you do that before or after losing $40 million or $80 million?

4:55 p.m.

Vice-President, Government Relations and Policy, Canada Post Corporation

Susan Margles

We're going to do it regardless of what happens to this legislation. We have much bigger challenges than this simple matter of remailing. You always have to have a plan. This isn't just about what we're discussing today. We see changes in our market, like declining letter volumes, strong competition from UPS, FedEx and other companies with which you're familiar.

For a number of years now, we have been preparing plans to ensure we are there, facing the competition and offering our services to Canadians in a self-sufficient manner.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Can we also say that the Internet has become an inevitable competitor?

4:55 p.m.

Vice-President, Government Relations and Policy, Canada Post Corporation

Susan Margles

That's correct.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Dans mon entreprise...for the record, I'm a printer. I'm a businessman. I have 20 employees.

I congratulate you, Mr. Sikora, for being here today and for coming to this committee. I probably wouldn't have done it. I think it's really interesting.

When we look at the competitors that Canada Post must face today, the Internet is one of them. In my business, we now do virtually everything electronically. Consequently, we receive less mail than we used to.

When I met with the Canada Post people to determine how that worked—since there are also certain issues in my constituency—they told me they were going to invest $2 billion in equipment, as you also said a little earlier.

Are you going to take advantage of that equipment or investment to further improve your competitiveness in this specific field?

4:55 p.m.

Vice-President, Government Relations and Policy, Canada Post Corporation

Susan Margles

If you're talking about the electronic field, the answer is yes, absolutely. Part of that investment in equipment and technology will enable us to cut our costs.

5 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative James Rajotte

Merci.

We'll now go to Mr. Wallace, please.

5 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I think I'm last.

I appreciate everyone coming today.

Mr. McKenna, just for clarification, can you tell me who your members are?

5 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Air Transport Association of Canada

John McKenna

You mean by name?

May 12th, 2010 / 5 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Well, are they in airline cargo? Who are your members? Tell me who your members are.