Mr. Speaker, I listened attentively to the member's speech, and I recognize her advocacy on behalf of Canada Post.
The base of the member's advocacy is to ensure that vitality and a great workplace continues to exist at Canada Post. The government is very committed to that. In fact, we are so committed to it that we undertook major consultations. Both an independent task force and extensive parliamentary hearings were undertaken in terms of a vision for Canada Post. That work yielded a lot of thinking and a lot of good results. In fact, we scrapped the plans of the previous government and brought back to Canada Post a very clear vision, a renewed board of directors and new management. That work continues, and we will continue to travel along that path.
We are putting service front and centre for Canadians. Our vision ensures that Canada Post will remain relevant and sustainable over the long term, continuing to provide good, valued services and good middle-class jobs to Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
Canada Post will bring this vision to life by investing in innovation, experimentation and pilot projects to establish best practices. The corporation will also have to follow market trends, adopt new technologies and adapt to the needs and expectations of Canadians.
We will also have to be creative and explore the opportunities for various partnerships within the Government of Canada, and in other administrations and communities to benefit from the unique Canada Post retail network, as recommended by the task force and the standing committee.
The question of whether Canadians would benefit from postal banking has already been the subject of both a thorough review by the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates and an in-depth independent task force. Both the committee and the task force came to virtually the same conclusions: Canadians do not need postal banking and Canada Post should not add it to its business line.
While I do appreciate the member for London—Fanshawe's concerns for those in indigenous and rural communities, the evidence does not back up the claim that these communities lack access to banking services.
First of all, the independent task force surveyed Canadians from coast to coast to coast. The survey found that 60% thought that full-scale postal banking would be a poor fit for Canada Post. Of those who liked the idea of postal banking, only 7% said they would “certainly use” postal banking services. Also, that task force found that approximately 99% of Canadians already have banking accounts and 69% pay their bills online.
If that were not enough proof, the standing committee found much the same thing. The committee held public hearings from coast to coast to coast and heard directly from more than 200 witnesses—individuals and representatives of communities, associations, unions and businesses—on a variety of issues, including postal banking.
The committee heard, among other things, that the number of credit union members who use their branches in rural areas has dropped significantly in recent years as more and more members conduct their financial transactions online or with mobile apps.
Moreover, in its report, that committee recommended, “Canada Post focus on its core competencies to help Canada meet the challenges of the 21st century.”
Therefore, the evidence from both the committee and the independent task force have shown that Canadians would not see any benefit from having the option of doing their banking at their post offices.
With respect to collective bargaining, perhaps we will get to that in a moment.