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Couriers gear up for busier-than-normal holiday season amid Canada Post strike

Last Updated Nov 22, 2018 at 12:49 pm EDT

Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) members stand on picket line along Almon St., in front of the Canada Post regional sorting headquarters in Halifax on Monday, Oct.22, 2018 after a call for a series of rotating 24-hour strikes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ted Pritchard

UPS Canada sees increase in volume of packages; unclear if that's due to the strike or regular start to holiday season

FedEx says it as a 'comprehensive contingency plan to manage unexpected volume'

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Canadian couriers are bracing for a possible surge in shipments as the Canada Post strike slips into the holiday gift-mailing season.

“It seems like a lot of consumers who are looking for an alternate are utilizing our retail network to do that,” UPS Canada communications director Steven Vitale said. “But overall, it’s our busiest time of the year so mixed together we’ve seen some increased volume for sure.”

However, he says it’s unclear if the volume boost is because of the strike or just the regular start of the holiday season.

He says the last day gift givers could ship something to arrive on Dec. 24 is Dec. 23, but getting parcels in earlier will avoid steep express delivery charges.

In an email, FedEx said it hopes negotiations between Canada Post and its employee union, CUPW, are “resolved amicably,” but that it “has put in place a comprehensive contingency plan to manage unexpected volume.”

RELATED: ‘We will fight’ in court if back-to-work legislation passes, postal union warns

While Canada Post says there are hundreds of trailers filled with mail sitting idle because of the strike, the union says there are only upwards of 80 trailers worth of backlog, which could be dealt with in a couple days.

On Thursday, Federal Labour Minister Patty Hajdu tabled legislation to force an end to rotating strikes by Canada Post employees. The postal union has warned of a legal battle if the federal government passes the back-to-work legislation.

 – With files from Mike Lloyd and Stuart McGinn