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Canada Post is Placing Canadian Merchants at a Disadvantage to American Merchants
By Sean Ross
January 5, 2012

Dear Mr. Stephen Joseph Harper,

Canada Post is placing Canadian Merchants at a disadvantage to our American counterparts by gouging Canadians with unfairly high shipping prices. Canada Post has tried to set-up the Venture One program for Canadian small businesses by offering a discount of approximately 5% on parcels, but this discount is far from being enough to allow Canadian sellers to compete with our American counterparts.

U.S.P.S. (United States Postal Service) offers Americans a great product called Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes and envelopes. These allow Americans to package these envelopes and boxes with as much weight of products that will fit inside and ship them anywhere within the USA for a low flat rate price. I could ship a 66 pound (The reason I selected 66 pounds is because Canada Post will not ship a box weighing more than 66 pounds) box of gold bars from New York to Alaska for $15.95 and USPS would even provide the box for free. This makes American online retailers extremely competitive in the online commerce arena. Canadians would have to spend $135 to send the same 12" X 12" X 6" package to Alaska. How can a Canadian e-tailer compete in this unfair playing field?

What makes no sense is why Canada Post cannot offer these same Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes and envelopes to Canadians at a small mark-up. Essentially Canada Post would buy these items from USPS and then sell these items to Canadians who are shipping to the USA and drop them off at USPS the next day. Currently there are hundreds of Canadian courier companies doing just this, which siphons millions of dollars out of Canada Posts potential revenues. However, only medium sized businesses are able to afford the cost of using these courier companies, a small Canadian merchant who wants to try to enter the online business is restricted because he/she is not able to compete at Canada Post's ludicrous prices.

If I purchase a Priority Mail Flat Rate envelope and ship it from the US to Canada it costs $11.95. If I purchase a Canada Post Xpresspost National Prepaid envelope it costs me $15.75 to ship from Quebec to British Columbia. It costs less for an American to ship to a Canadian, than a Canadian to a Canadian. How is that fair?

USPS's rates for International parcels destined outside of North America are at least half of the price of Canadians. A Priority Mail International Small Flat Rate Box weighing 4 pounds with the size: 8-5/8" x 5-3/8" x 1-5/8" costs $13.95 to ship to Australia. The same size and weight box from Canada Post costs $83.24 to ship from Canada Post. Why would an Australian customer, or a customer from any other country buy an item from a Canadian seller, when a US seller can ship the item for a fraction of the price the Canadian seller has to pay? It is simple, Canadian sellers cannot compete with American sellers online. That is why there are so few Canadian online retailers.

Canada Post needs to seriously re-evaluate its prices, and make it more competitive for Canadian merchants to deal in the online marketplace. After all, e-selling is the wave of the future, with the total dollar value of online sales rising on a year over year basis. Canada Post is Canadians main conduit into this area of commerce and Canadians are being left sorely behind. It is imperative that something be done to prevent this from continuing.

Please find the time in your busy schedule to discuss this in the House of Commons. It is an issue that needs to be addressed.

Sean Ross

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