Will Canadians cope with a postal strike or employee lockout this July?
Canada Post is keeping an optimistic frame of mind, telling Black Press newspapers in an interview last week that the corporation continues to seek an agreement with two branches of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.
However, Canada Post also stated in an email to business clients in June that, in the event of a work stoppage whether strike or lockout, mail delivery will halt until the stoppage runs its course.
Obviously, this will affect the delivery of important mail like utility bills. What can the readers of Black Press newspapers do about things like their water bills, gas bills, power bills and telephone/internet bills? Some suggestions are below.
One of the major power companies in Alberta, EPCOR, stated the postal situation is important to them. “We’ve had our eye on this,” said spokesperson Tim le Riche. “We’ve been through this before.”
Le Riche stated EPCOR knows mail stoppages cause uncertainty for customers, as nobody knows if a stoppage will actually happen.
If a stoppage occurs, EPCOR customers have several options noted le Riche. Firstly, customers can always call toll-free 310-4300 to obtain their balance.
Customers can also sign up for preauthorized payment, online billing, electronic payment (phone or bank) or going to a bank with your account number from a previous bill and your balance and pay in person.
Le Riche said EPCOR will post on their website (www.epcor.com) information pertaining to Canada Post work stoppage as soon as it’s available.
Via email June 27, Richard Gilhooley, Telus senior media relations manager said customers have options open to them.
“TELUS customers can access their accounts and make payments in a number of ways that do not require mail,” stated Gilhooley. “One of the most popular options is electronic billing, delivered by email, which more than half of our customers already take advantage of.
“We also have an online system called TELUS MyAccount which allows customers to view their account details online. Customers can visit www.telus.com/billing for more information.
“For those with limited access to the Internet, we also offer payment-by-phone services.
“Our focus is to make sure customers are aware of these options so we can limit the impacts that any disruption to mail service may have on them. To that end, we have been advising them via mail in advance of the strike, SMS, email and website postings, and will continue to inform them of the status of the strike and assist them until the matter is resolved,” added Gilhooley.
Just Energy provides natural gas service in Canada and the U.S. and has many customers in this area.
Nancy Donnaperna, communications manager, spoke from her Mississauga, Ont. office June 24. “We appreciate you reaching out to us to assist your readership,” she stated in an email.
“In the event of a postal strike, it is important for customers to be aware that they remain responsible for their bill payments.
“An email has been sent to customers not currently signed up for eBilling to consider this free service, which ensures that their bills are sent safely and reliably, directly to their email inbox. This removes any delay in receiving their Just Energy bill, helping customers avoid late fees. Also, customers that sign up for MyEnergyWorld (my.justenergy.com) gain exclusive access to view and manage their account 24/7.
“Should customers have any questions, they are welcome to contact our Customer Service team toll free at 1-866-587-8674 or email CustomerSupport@JustEnergy.com for assistance. We will also post a message on our website with this information,” she added.
City of Wetaskiwin
Many City of Wetaskiwin residents pay their water, garbage and sewer bills after getting a notice in the mail. If a work stoppage occurs at Canada Post, this is what Dave Burgess, city manager, noted in an email to The Pipestone Flyer June 23: “The City of Wetaskiwin is aware that there is the potential for mail delivery to be affected – either through a strike by Canada Post employees or a lock-out by management – starting July 2. We hope that both sides will come together and reach a solution to avoid any service disruptions. If they do not, citizens can rest assured that we have contingencies in place in the event of a work stoppage.”
City of Leduc
Mariann McLaughlin, City of Leduc corporate communications officer, provided the following information regarding a possible Canada Post work stoppage:
Bills: City of Leduc utility customers are encouraged to register for Leduc E-billing. “It’s an environmentally-friendly option for us to deliver utility bills electronically to the customer’s email inbox,” stated McLaughlin. People can register in the following ways: Go online at: www.leduc.ca/e-billing<span class=‘neIDcs’ style=‘display:none;’ data-neidcs=“!~IDlt~!http://www.leduc.ca/e-billing!~IDgt~!”> ; Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org<span class=‘neIDcs’ style=‘display:none;’ data-neidcs=“!~IDlt~!mailto:email@example.com!~IDgt~!”> ; Visit in person at the Leduc Civic Centre (1 Alexandra Park).
Bill payments: “We recognize that some of our utility account holders to provide their payments via mail, however in light of the potential mail strike we’re asking that payments be made in one of the suggested methods: http://leduc-uat.yellowdev.net/utilities-payment/utility-payments;” In person at the Leduc Civic Centre (1 Alexandra Park); Online with a credit card through the online services payment system found at the link above; At any financial institution through a teller, ATM or online/telephone banking; Set up for automatic withdrawal from your bank account by enrolling in the Utility Payment Plan.