Outlet closure leads to new fees

Queen’s will pay $500 for each mailbag pickup and delivery location on campus

The AMS will decide what goes into the former location of the Royal Postal Outlet in the JDUC.
The AMS will decide what goes into the former location of the Royal Postal Outlet in the JDUC.

With the June 30 closure of campus’s Royal Postal Outlet (RPO), Queen’s ended an 18-year contract with Canada Post—a decision that will lead to new costs for the University. On average, the service has run a $50,000 annual deficit for the past five years.

“We asked them to see if they could improve the contract rate and they said they couldn’t,” said Vice-Principal of Finances and Administration Caroline Davis. “Financially we couldn’t make it work.”

In addition to providing Canada Post with the space for the RPO, the University also staffed the service with two casual employees that worked in a part-time or temporary capacity.

As a result, the contract included a $15,000 annual rebate. The administration had hoped this could be raised to cover the deficit.

“They provide us with a certain percentage of any stamps we sell,” Davis said, “so that money has to cover all the operating costs of the postal outlet.”

The University made a five per cent profit on the sale of stamps at the postal outlet, which equated to $6,000 annually.

“You can tell off the bat, that’s not going to cover the cost of employees,” Davis said.

Other Canada Post outlets offer services like dry cleaning, which Davis said increases customer traffic.

Davis said it would have been risky if the RPO had been moved to a larger campus location in an effort to increase profits.

“More administrative support would have been needed,” she said. “We just didn’t think this was viable.”

After Queen’s informed Canada Post about the closure of the RPO, Canada Post told the university they would charge additional fees, Davis said.

“They said they’d begin charging us for mailbag deliveries and collections from specific campus locations,” Davis said.

Canada Post will charge Queen’s $500 at each location. Neither party would discuss contract details or how many locations will be changed for mail pickup.

The University is in ongoing discussions with Canada Post. Throughout the entire process, Queen’s internal mail service remains unchanged.

Canada Post spokesperson Anick Losier, said these fees are normal charges for corporate clients like Queen’s.

“When we do pickups, we do have fees,” she said.

Losier said this is done with millions of companies across Canada.

“We’re in the service business, so if they want to use us, there are fees associated with it,” she said.

Losier said the decision to close the outlet and end business relations with Canada Post was within Queen’s rights.

She added that Canada Post had tried to accomodate the university by lowering their fees.

“Even with some accommodation, they decided to close anyways,” she said.

If the university were ever to create a new postal outlet on campus, Losier said Canada Post would be happy to work out a new deal.

The space formerly occupied by the postal outlet is currently empty.

Under an agreement detailing the operations and management of the Student Life Centre, the AMS will decide what goes into the new space.

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