Small business owner struggles with higher shipping costs as Canada Post ends shipping discounts

CANADA POST

A small business owner in Montreal says Canada Post should extend its special program that helped lower shipping costs for small and medium businesses during the height of the pandemic - he says his shipping costs have shot up now that the program is over.

Laurence Isaac, owner of the Sinai Gourmet hot sauce company, said he, like other small businesses, relies heavily on online purchases during the pandemic, especially with restaurant and festival sales having dried up.

"My survival depends on trying to sell products to customers and customers don't like paying for shipping," said Isaac who reached out to yourstory@cjad.com.

Without the extra Canada Post shipping discounts,...

"On a general basis, our increase in shipping costs without the assistance we were getting is 30-60% more," said Isaac.

"So that just means we're a lot less competitive. This is Canada Post basically giving Canada to Amazon because small business cannot compete anymore."

Canada Post said in a statement to CJAD 800 that they offered the special shipping discounts to help merchants during the peak of the pandemic but they ended as scheduled on July 31:

When businesses were forced to close due to COVID restrictions, many shifted their focus to online sales to continue operating. During this period, we were pleased to offer additional support through enhanced limited-time discounts. This was available for free to all existing and new Solutions for Small Business customers. The enhanced offer ran until July 31 as planned, with discounts and offers returning to their regular levels.  Small businesses can sign up for Solutions for Small Business for free at canadapost.ca. - Canada Post

Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said "it is a shame" that Canada Post stopped the program.

"For the majority of businesses, the impact of COVID-19 remains very heavy as many were forced to shut down for months, while large online giants gained marketing share.  The small additional discount was helpful for many small firms in starting or expanding an e-commerce model.  I suspect Amazon's shipping discounts will remain.  As a Crown Corporation, it would be a good idea for Canada Post to help level the playing field between small, local, independent shops and gigantic, multi-national retailers," said Kelly in a statement.

Isaac said that like the CERB, the discount program should have been extended as well to help small businesses stay afloat and compete against large corporations.

"We still need help. We're still in this crisis and it's up to them or the government to mandate that they have to help small business - either that or level the playing field so that we all pay the same shipping and we all have the same opportunity," said Isaac.

"Small businesses are the ones who need help right now."

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