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Canada Post Review Committee Faces Quick Criticism

Ottawa already correcting 'errors' in its information on panelists.

By Jeremy J. Nuttall 6 May 2016 | TheTyee.ca

Jeremy J. Nuttall is The Tyee's Parliament Hill reporter in Ottawa. Find his previous stories here.

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A new government panel will focus on the 'needs and expectations' of Canadians for Canada Post. Mail photo via Shutterstock.

[Editor's note: An earlier version of this report was much different, because the federal government provided inaccurate information about at least one of the four people appointed to review the operations of Canada Post. This version reflects the latest facts.]

The federal government's review of Canada Post is off to a bumpy start as Public Services Minister Judy Foote's department moved Friday to correct inaccurate information it provided about one of the four panelists.

On Thursday, Foote announced the postal service review and said it would focus on the "needs and expectations" of Canadians.

Her department released bios on the panelists, including Krystyna Hoeg, who the department said was on the board of Shoppers Home Health Care, a subsidiary of Shoppers Drug Mart.

That sparked concerns from critics who noted Shoppers operates postal outlets within many of its stores, an arrangement the Canadian Union of Postal Workers has criticized as creeping privatization.

But on Friday, after a Tyee story on the issue, the department said its news release on the announcement "contained errors." Hoeg is no longer a director of Shoppers Home Health Care, the correction said.

At the press conference in Ottawa Thursday, The Tyee asked about Hoeg's role with Shopper's Home Health Care.

Hoeg began to reply, but Foote fielded the question.

"I certainly have no issue… and I'm not anticipating any criticism," Foote said. "I think her reputation speaks for itself, her experience speaks for itself." Hoeg is the former CEO of Corby Distelleries and on the boards of CP Rail, Imperial Oil and Sun Life.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) said Thursday they were concerned about Hoeg's links to Shoppers Drug Mart.

And those concerns weren't fully eased by the government's correction.

"We'd be interested to know when she stepped down from that board," said Mike Palecek of CUPW.

Brenda McAuley, president of the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association, said Thursday she isn't concerned by the appointment because Foote has promised Canada Post won't be privatized.

Shoppers Home Health Care is a subsidiary of Shoppers Drug Mart, she noted, and its directors have no say in decisions related to dealer post offices.  [Tyee]

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