Evidence of meeting #19 for Government Operations and Estimates in the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was employees.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Paul Cardegna
Manon Fortin  Vice-President, Operations Integration, Canada Post Corporation
Ryan Persad  Director, Global Supply Chain Solutions, Purolator Inc.
Jean-Philippe Gentès  President, Galenova Inc.
Ernie Philip  President, Medline Canada

11:40 a.m.

Vice-President, Operations Integration, Canada Post Corporation

Manon Fortin

At the beginning, as—

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

And where are you getting them from?

11:40 a.m.

Vice-President, Operations Integration, Canada Post Corporation

Manon Fortin

We have several suppliers.

At the beginning of the pandemic, everybody was looking for the same products, and so it was a bit of a challenge back then, but our procurement team did a fantastic job quickly turning around and being able to provide all the products that were required as personal protective equipment for our employees.

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Tom Lukiwski

Thank you very much. We'll now go to Mr. Weiler for four minutes, please.

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Patrick Weiler Liberal West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to the witnesses for joining our committee today.

It's really incredible to hear of the major changes happening at Canada Post and Purolator, and the immediate addition of so many workers. It sounds like some major shifts are happening with Canada Post. Given the extra costs with adding PPE, with social distancing as well as the increase in parcel delivery, what has that meant to the bottom line of Canada Post?

11:40 a.m.

Vice-President, Operations Integration, Canada Post Corporation

Manon Fortin

You might have seen the first quarter results of Canada Post. There was a loss, before tax, of $66 million. The impact at the time.... The parcel increase was minimal. Now, as we move into April, May and June, there have been some pretty significant changes to our business. Parcels went up from 40% to 50%. There are now more parcels in our operations, and it's as busy as Christmas on that front. Letter mail has come down 18% as we go through the pandemic. Our direct marketing business, which is advertising mail, has been significantly impacted—64% down.

Time will tell where all of this will land, but you're absolutely right; there's been a significant shift in our business from—

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Patrick Weiler Liberal West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Sorry, do you see some long-term changes to your business model going forward?

June 12th, 2020 / 11:45 a.m.

Vice-President, Operations Integration, Canada Post Corporation

Manon Fortin

Yes. You will have seen our 2019 financial results, where we reported a loss. We reported that parcel numbers continued to grow, but not at as fast a pace as we expected. At the same time, our letter mail and direct marketing or advertising mail went down.

Our business is slowly shifting from a mail business to a parcel business, and it has proven itself out during the pandemic even more how big of a role Canada Post can play in that. Yes, we will definitely see some permanent changes to our operation.

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Patrick Weiler Liberal West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

I've heard that Canada Post is taking steps to help those at risk, including seniors. Could you provide a little more detail about that?

11:45 a.m.

Vice-President, Operations Integration, Canada Post Corporation

Manon Fortin

Yes. We have special leave provisions in our collective agreement. As I said before, our top priority from the start has been the safety of our employees and taking guidance from Public Health in how we manage and change our policies, practices and approaches. Right now, we have 2,289 employees on what we call “high-risk leave”. Those are people who are 70 or older or who have pre-existing medical conditions that put them at risk. Of those, 241 are 70 and older, so the high majority of our employees on high-risk leave have pre-existing medical conditions.

Also, with schools closing and day care not being available, we've provided for child care leave: 828 employees are currently on that leave, and 120 employees for elder care. Out of all that, many have come back to work, so—

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Tom Lukiwski

Thank you. We're going to have to cut it off there. We're very tight for time.

We'll now go back to Mr. McCauley for four minutes, please.

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Thanks very much.

I want to switch over to Purolator. I'm just wondering if you can give us some idea how you're managing the health and safety of your employees and the community you're serving throughout the COVID crisis.

11:45 a.m.

Director, Global Supply Chain Solutions, Purolator Inc.

Ryan Persad

Thanks for the question.

As always, the health and safety of our employees and the communities we serve are a top priority for us. Thankfully, we're prepared and we've planned very early. We have been working closely with public health organizations and global health experts to execute safety protocols to keep our employees and customers safe.

We've put in place advanced sanitation practices in every terminal and retail location, and we've increased the frequency of sanitizing all 170 of our operating facilities. All employees at our terminals have access to personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer. We are also conducting contactless deliveries through our retail stores and through our network, for example through verbal signature capture and curbside pickup. We're maintaining vigorous sanitization and physical distance standards across our network. We're also following through contact-tracing programs to effectively isolate and contain the risk of COVID-19.

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

All right, thank you.

Last year, Purolator launched a growth and innovation plan. Can you give the committee a bit of an overview of that?

11:45 a.m.

Director, Global Supply Chain Solutions, Purolator Inc.

Ryan Persad

Sure. Thank you for the question.

Last year, Purolator announced a $1-billion growth and innovation investment plan to modernize its operation and enrich the experience of our customers in a digital world. Called “delivering the future”, it is the most ambitious investment in Purolator's history. It includes a state-of-the-art national superhub, new fleet vehicles, e-bikes, leading digital technology for our couriers and more.

I'm pleased to say that we continue to invest in the future, despite the extraordinary circumstances during the past few months.

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Where's the superhub?

11:45 a.m.

Director, Global Supply Chain Solutions, Purolator Inc.

Ryan Persad

It's close to the airport, right north of Humber College.

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Why not in West Edmonton?

11:45 a.m.

Director, Global Supply Chain Solutions, Purolator Inc.

Ryan Persad

We needed it to be in a central geographic and population area, obviously, serving Canadians.

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Oh. For shame, for shame.

How is Purolator coping with the huge uptick in demand for parcel delivery? Are you having the same employee growth, bringing back the temporary people?

11:50 a.m.

Director, Global Supply Chain Solutions, Purolator Inc.

Ryan Persad

Yes. I'm pleased to say that we've experienced extremely high demand for our services. Our volumes are at record levels, similar to those of Canada Post, and we're seeing significant new business opportunities flow into our network.

As you know, our network is built for speed, safety and reliability. The demand is definitely outpacing capacity, which is challenging the entire industry. We have a detailed volume management plan in place to manage this. We are increasing the capacity of our network through hiring more than a thousand new employees and through innovations such as expanding our mobile quick stop network. We've been hearing positive feedback from our customers that we're on track and we're helping them recover from the challenges of the past few months.

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Thank you.

How much time do I have, Mr. Chair?

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Tom Lukiwski

Very little, Mr. McCauley.

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

I'll cede my time.

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Tom Lukiwski

Thank you.

Mr. Kusmierczyk, go ahead for four minutes, please.