Thank you very much.
Thank you to the chair and to committee members for inviting me to join you today.
I would like to start by taking a few minutes to update you on how Canada Post has been responding during COVID-19.
Our people proudly serve all corners of the country—the urban centres, the rural towns, remote communities and the far north. Across the company, we understand the important role we play in the everyday lives of Canadians. When those everyday lives were quickly disrupted as the country responded to COVID-19, we understood we would be playing an essential role in keeping people and businesses connected.
Our top priority from the beginning has been to ensure that we are putting the safety of our people first. To do so, we have closely followed the advice and guidance of the Public Health Agency of Canada throughout the period.
We quickly and dramatically changed the way we work, the way we deliver, the way we operate our post offices and the way we clean our facilities right across the country. Let me give you some examples of changes we made in very short order.
We implemented physical distancing measures in all facilities, many of which weren't designed to keep people two metres apart. In our plants and depots we've made changes to staff scheduling, work layouts and work practices to help keep employees at least two metres apart. In our post offices, we've added plastic shields and signage on doors and floors to ensure customers follow physical distancing. For delivery we moved to a knock-drop-and-go policy for parcel delivery to eliminate the need for customer interactions at the door. We've increased the frequency and the level of cleaning in our facilities, and we've distributed personal protective equipment and safety supplies to employees across our network while placing increased focus on proper hand hygiene and physical distancing.
These are just some of the examples of the many measures we've taken in response to COVID-19 across our 21 plants, 480 depots and thousands of post offices.
Through it all we've worked closely with our unions and bargaining agents at the national and local level, with a shared focus on keeping our people safe. We have met regularly, daily, shared ideas and information, and addressed potential concerns.
This approach has helped us to quickly navigate many of the challenges we face while we continue to operate in these challenging times. By putting safety measures in place early and working to regularly improve them, we have been able to continue operating as Canadians turn to us to deliver more and more items.
In April, May and now June, we've seen a huge increase in parcel volumes. Our people have been delivering at record levels as Canadians shop online for the items they want and need. These parcel volumes are coming from businesses of all sizes, with many small and medium-sized enterprises shifting to online sales to continue serving their customers.
We are now regularly delivering over one million parcels a day across the country. That's what we normally deliver during the period from Cyber Monday to Christmas. We're also delivering on weekends across the country.
Even with record numbers of parcels going out for delivery, even greater numbers arrive for processing each day. Beyond delivering on weekends, we're taking a number of measures to respond while maintaining physical distancing. Our network is the largest in the country, so let me help put our efforts in perspective by talking about what we're doing in Montreal.
We're processing 24-7, offering voluntary overtime to employees, and drawing on trained temporary workers to come and help out. On average our employees, since this started, have been performing approximately 15,000 hours a week in Montreal in voluntary overtime. We're also hiring new temporary and permanent employees to bring greater stability and to cover all shifts available on the equipment.
We've also continued to make changes to streamline our sorting processes and work with customers to help us use our network more efficiently. It has meant that through May and the first week of June, we've processed more than double the number of parcels we would normally receive at this time of year.
We will continue to respond to improve the situation, but I want to tell this committee that we are incredibly proud of the work our people are doing across the country under very difficult circumstances and we won't undermine the measures we've taken to put employees' safety first.
At Canada Post we're proud to serve all Canadians. While we're being tested by today's current realities, we are the only one built to serve all 16.5 million addresses across this vast country. That's a big reason why we see the majority of what Canadians buy online. It also means we're not just delivering online shopping to urban centres. Canada Post is also busy delivering much-needed supplies to communities across the country, including remote communities in the Far North.
In early April when we, along with Purolator, were called upon to help distribute PPE to provincial and territorial health organizations across the country, we were pleased to support the effort. Our people are part of the communities they serve and they see the need first-hand. Our focus at Canada Post has been to keep them safe so that Canadians in every community can continue to count on our postal service.
Thank you. I look forward to our discussion.