Alberta Post Office Begins Pilot Project Loans

In High Prairie, Alta., The local post office just doesn’t deliver the mail – it offers loans.

The city’s post office on Tuesday was named a “model” for 6,026 outlets nationwide by offering extended services and consumer loans as part of a trial program to increase Canada Post revenues.

“It’s wonderful,” said Brian Panasiuk, Mayor of High Prairie, 2,600 residents.

“We would like to see if it works. I know our people will use it if necessary ”, said Panasiuk.

Canada Post said the city’s postal outlet, 370 km northwest of Edmonton, had been redeveloped into a “model community hub, the first of its kind in Canada.”

The new services will include an overnight parcel deposit, Staples business supplies, an electric vehicle charging station, an ATM, and consumer micro-loans of as little as $ 1,000 at an interest rate of 6%.

“The High Prairie Post Office is truly a community hub,” said Panasiuk.

“Everyone is going. You must, to receive mail. We do not have courier delivery in our city.

The post office and its larger unions considered a revival of postal banks dissolved in 1968, especially in communities without bank branches.

Panasiuk said High Prairie is home to an Alberta Treasury Bank outlet and two chartered bank branches.

“We understand that the post office has to find a way to reduce these deficits,” said Panasiuk.

“If it works, that’s great. “

The post office reported a pre-tax loss of $ 779 million last year. Nearly half of its nationwide outlets were operating in deficit.

Canada Post lost $ 153 million in 2019 and $ 276 million the year before. The losses followed combined pre-tax profits totaling $ 388 million during the 2014 to 2017 period.

Then-Public Works Minister Anita Anand, in testimony on June 2 before the House of Commons Government Operations Committee, said the cabinet was “in close contact” with the directors of the House of Commons. Canada Post on a plan to increase revenue, but did not mention the High Prairie experience.

“Canada Post has lost $ 1.1 billion over the past two years,” said Conservative MP Kelly McCauley (Edmonton West).

“The Canada Post Corporation Act requires it to operate financially self-sufficient.

“What is the plan going forward to ensure fiscal sustainability? ”

“We have been in very close contact with the board of directors,” replied Minister Anand.

Management in its annual report said it must “meet the changing needs of businesses and consumers” to regain profitability.

“We have more retail outlets than any other business in Canada. Of these, nearly 3,700 of our sites are company-owned and more than 2,300 are operated by private dealers, ”the report says.

“Canada Post is testing community hub concepts for a wide range of services in rural Canada, including improved financial services and potentially new government and community services.

“We will explore adding other business support services to future hub sites,” said Phil Legault, spokesperson for the post office.

The plans include document shredding, printing, video conferencing and “meeting rooms for rent,” he said.


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