On July 27th, 2022, members of CUPW Local 730 met with NDP MP Heather McPherson to discuss the ongoing burden Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers (RSMCs) are dealing with because of high gas prices. While RSMCs are compensated for gas costs by Canada Post, the rate was last updated by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) in December 2021 and is no longer realistic given the current gas prices.
Members shared their stories with MP Heather McPherson, highlighting that even with the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA), RSMCs are basically losing money in order to go to work. (One RSMC acknowledged that they received less than $30 for their quarterly COLA payment.)
The stories have been consistent. Workers struggle with the costs and the subsequent stress of not being able to afford to live because of the cost of just going to work. According to one worker, some RSMCs have had to ask whether it even makes sense to go to work at all as they find themselves subsidizing Canada Post at the gas pump.
Canada Post did recently introduce a fuel surcharge to its domestic and international shipments. This surcharge is to help pay for gas, yet for someone reason RSMCs are excluded from the benefits of this surcharge.
In May, RSMCs in British Columbia created a petition calling on the CRA to increase the cap on an emergency basis, which is the way to get reimbursed for expenses without it being taxed. MP Lisa Marie Barron presented the petition on June 20th, but the government has yet to respond. It was one of the most-supported petitions of that parliamentary session with 4,729 signatures.
To keep up this pressure, CUPW is urging the Government of Canada to take action to ease the financial burden that RSMCs are experiencing. The government showed it was capable of this during the pandemic, where many businesses received funding to make sure they could continue to operate. RSMCs require this same swift action now to deal with the huge increase in the price of gas.
Send a letter to your representatives, you can visit the CUPW National website or scan the QR code at the top of this page. Members of the Edmonton local will also be reaching out to other MPs to share these stories and ask for support and we will provide updates about those meetings.