An association representing news organizations in Canada is calling on federal party leaders to restrict Canada Post’s plans to expand its flyer distribution.
News Media Canada, of which Black Press Media is a member, released a statement on Friday saying the Crown corporation is using an unfair advantage provided to it by the government.
President and CEO John Hinds said Canada Post has plans to begin distributing packaged commercial flyers in direct competition with local newspapers, using its ability to access lock boxes in apartments and condos as part of its marketing.
“It’s essentially public money that’s going into this,” Hinds said, adding that Ottawa provides tax credits to Canada Post.
“Yet at the same time, the Crown corporation is out there taking a run at one of the core sources of revenue for the newspaper business.”
In a statement, Canada Post denied that it is competing unfairly.
“With a mandate to serve all Canadians while remaining financially self-sufficient, Canada Post competes fairly in the marketplace to provide products and services of value to Canadian businesses and consumers,” it said.
“With greater flexibility and lower prices, newspapers and other private operators deliver the vast majority of flyers in Canada. While Canada Post has exclusive access to mailboxes, we don’t deliver everything Canadians receive at their door.”
Hinds said Canadians should be concerned about the postal service undercutting one of newspapers’ foundational revenue pillars.
“Canadians have said that local news is really important,” he said. “At the end of the day, local advertising creates local news.”
Black Press Media has also reached out to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and the office of Carla Qualtrough, the minister responsible for Canada Post, for comment.