Signed, Sealed and Delivered?

The TPP and Canada’s public postal service
August 11, 2016
458.72 KB16 pages

This study assesses the provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) related to mail delivery and courier services. It finds that while there is no immediate threat to Canada Post’s monopoly on letter mail, the TPP creates unnecessary risks of trade litigation related to courier services and future reforms or service expansion at the Crown corporation. The authors review the history of Canada Post, its entry into the express delivery market in the 1990s, and industry efforts since then—including two trade disputes by UPS—to dismantle the integrated public postal service model in Canada and elsewhere.

They find that the express delivery services annex in the TPP, a unique feature for a trade deal that was inserted in response to lobbying from the U.S. private courier industry, expands opportunities to challenge Canada’s public postal service. It does this by prohibiting the use of money from monopoly activities (e.g., letter mail) to “cross-subsidize” express delivery services, and by requiring that postal monopolies not “abuse [their] monopoly position” in a way that treats foreign companies (like UPS) less favourably than domestic ones (like Purolator, which is majority-owned by Canada Post).

The authors point out that these rules were developed in the secrecy of the TPP negotiations—in sharp contrast to the federal government’s current open consultation on the future of public postal services in this country.