OTTAWA — The head of Canada’s postal service has announced he plans to step down next spring, nearly three years before his contract was set to expire.Canada Post says Deepak Chopra has advised the Crown corporation’s board of directors that he intends leave his position on March 31, 2018.Chopra’s signalled departure comes as the federal Liberal government ruminates about whether to restore door-to-door mail delivery to tens of thousands of homes.The former Pitney Bowes Canada executive joined the agency in 2011 as it faced a dramatic shift in revenue streams, from declining mail volumes to a growing parcel delivery business.The previous Conservative government had renewed his contract prior to the 2015 election, effective Feb. 2016, despite criticisms of Canada Post’s cost-cutting moves, including the phase-out of door-to-door delivery.The move to community mailboxes became a hot topic during the 2015 campaign, with the Liberals winning power under a platform that included a promise to review the home delivery decision.Once in office, the Liberals placed a moratorium on any future conversions of home delivery to community mailboxes.A spokesperson for Public Services and Procurement Minister Judy Foote, who has been on leave from her cabinet post, said a decision on the future of home delivery was expected some time before the end of 2017.The president of the union representing postal workers said he hopes Chopra’s departure signals an end to cost-cutting at Canada Post and a renewed commitment by the postal agency to maintain the services Canadians want.Chopra leaves “a legacy of failed cuts,” said Canadian Union of Postal Workers national president Mike Palecek.“So, hopefully this will be a new chapter for Canada Post.”Chopra was among dozens of people appointed to plum patronage posts in the dying days of Stephen Harper’s Conservative government who were asked, once the Liberals took power, to voluntarily step down.Chopra, who was reportedly paid an estimated $500,000 annually, declined to do so.In a statement, Canada Post said Chopra has left an enduring legacy that has positioned the corporation as the country’s leader in e-commerce delivery in the face of declining mail deliveries, noting that the agency delivered two billion fewer pieces of mail last year than at its peak in 2006.The agency said Chopra had also co-operated with the government as it reviewed the mandate of Canada Post.
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Safety oversight funding due to expire for National Energy Board by Tamsyn Burgmann, The Canadian Press Posted Apr 2, 2015 1:34 pm MDT VANCOUVER – Temporary funding for safety oversight programs at the National Energy Board is set to expire as scrutiny of major pipeline projects winds up.A report from the federal pipeline regulator shows a substantial reduction to staff and planned spending by the 2017-18 fiscal year, which a spokeswoman attributed to the sunsetting of a five-year funding allotment.The board regulates construction and operation of pipelines and power lines, which includes conducting environmental assessments on projects. It has been under fire recently for limiting participation at public hearings into the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline between Alberta and Vancouver.A coalition in Vancouver claims the NEB has violated the charter right to freedom of expression. It recently launched a challenge asking the Supreme Court of Canada to overturn the board’s decision to limit public participation in hearings.The NEB’s 2015-16 Report on Plans and Priorities shows that over the next two years the board faces a nearly 24 per cent decrease in planned spending. Also projected is a 15 per cent drop in full-time equivalent positions, or 73 staff members.The funding difference from the current fiscal year to the end of the budget projection is more than $18 million. The report also attributes the spending decline to one-time expenses that won’t continue and a shift in application submissions.NEB spokeswoman Stacey Squires said Thursday the board instituted a temporary plan for the five-year cash infusion in association with several large projects including Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and the Energy East pipeline extension to New Brunswick.A variety of positions were filled for the added work, from market analysts to inspectors to engineers, but the projected funding decline won’t necessarily equate to job loses, she said.Squires said it’s too soon to speculate on whether the board will request more funding.“It would be false to say that we’re not very much live to the need for responsible fiscal management, to use our resources correctly and in an appropriate way,” she said. “But I don’t think that constitutes a crisis.”A message in the report from board chair Peter Watson says the plan is released at a critical juncture for the regulator.“An increasing number of large and highly complex project applications are juxtaposed against the operational realities of legislated time limits, resource constraints and the need for fair, efficient regulatory processes.”Karen Wristen at the Living Oceans Society said her group is shocked by the budget changes, and she criticized the federal government for cuts to the board’s capacity.“The management of the process has just been horrendous,” she said. “The thought that they could continue to manage the number of projects that they’re trying to manage with fewer people and less budget is beyond belief.”Natural Resources spokesman Alain Caccione said in an email that there are no cuts, and that outcomes of future funding decisions will be reflected in the board’s budget exercises.Follow @TamsynBurgmann on Twitter