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Canada How the Canada Post strikes could affect your Black Friday, Cyber Monday shopping

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are upon us, and the weekend will bring a frenzy of online shopping. Products bought online, however, may be subject to rotating strikes by the union at Canada Post. While the federal government has introduced legislation to force an end to the labour dispute, packages are being delayed, making Canadians worried if parcels will arrive in time for the holidays.

Here is what you need to know as the strike continues.

Why are Canada Post workers on strike?

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers says one of the major issues for their workers is disparity in pay between urban and rural postal workers, where urban carriers are paid by the hour and rural carriers are paid based on the size of their route. CUPW also says most urban carriers are men, while most rural carriers tend to be women. The union is also asking Canada Post to address workplace injuries, pay equity and job security.

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How can I know where the rotating strikes are occurring?

You can keep track of where rotating strikes are happening via the Canada Post website or the CUPW site. As strikes entered their fourth week this week, Canada Post wrote in a customer update that they have “touched virtually every Canada Post facility and every Canadian address so far.”

What other options do I have for mailing or receiving parcels?

While Canada Post takes care of a lot of companies and their parcels, there are other options. National carriers such as UPS, Canpar, Purolator and FedEx have contingency plans for handling the uptick in packages (some companies will pay more to use these services amid the strikes), and smaller carriers such as Chit Chats Express are an alternative. Chit Chats ships via the United States Postal Service (USPS).

How will I know if I will be getting my package on time?

Whether you receive your parcel in a timely manner depends on where it is coming from and when. While each area is only affected for 24 hours at a time, Canada Post said there is a delivery backlog of up to 30 days as a result of the dispute. It also said the delay could leak into 2019 and has asked its international partners to halt mail and parcel shipments to Canada as it reels under the weight of the backlog.

That backlog is especially bad at distribution centres in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

If your package is coming with another carrier, such as UPS, FedEx or Purolator, there is a better chance of it being delivered in a more timely manner.

Will I get my parcel from Amazon?

Probably. Amazon Canada delivers their packages through a variety of carriers, including Canada Post, Intelcom, Purolator and Amazon Logistics, its own delivery service. If you are buying from Amazon.ca, the website says the company is monitoring the situation and “working to minimize any service disruption” for customers. Amazon is adjusting delivery dates in real time and working with carriers to avoid any major disruptions. However, if you are buying from a third-party seller on the website, there may be a delay.

Will I get my parcel from places like Kijiji, Etsy or eBay?

It depends. Since most businesses selling through Etsy, Kijiji or eBay are small businesses or entrepreneurs, they often rely on Canada Post to ship their products. Smaller sellers tend to use Canada Post and are being squeezed out in favour of larger ones that can afford alternative shipping services. Companies like Amazon have their own warehouses for packaging and distribution, which smaller businesses don’t have. Depending on the seller’s carrier of choice, this could have an impact on when you get your package.

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With files from The Canadian Press

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