Arbitrator sides with Canada Post


TORONTO – An arbitrator has accepted Canada Post’s proposal for a new collective agreement with its postmasters and assistants in rural offices across the country.

Key changes under the agreement include a defined contribution pension plan for new employees represented by the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association.

There are also changes to entry-level wages for new CPAA members as well as an increase in the employees’ share of contributions towards post-retirement benefits.

Canada Post says there’s a “modest” wage increase for current employees — but details weren’t announced.

The CPAA union represents 5,000 rural workers for the government-owned postal service. It had agreed to break a bargaining impasse by having arbitrator Michel Picher make the final selection after both sides presented their proposals.

The Crown corporation remains at odds with its largest union, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), which is the only remaining employee group that hasn’t accepted a defined contribution type of pension plan for new employees.

CUPW, which represents 50,000 workers, has been determined to keep defined benefit pension plans for newer workers.

With defined benefit plans, employers are under legal obligation to ensure retired employees get a certain level of benefits and make up any short-fall if investment returns aren’t enough.

With defined contribution plans, employers put a negotiated amount into the pension plan but the retirees’ benefits will depend solely on how well their investments perform over time.