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QUESTION PERIOD — Ministry of Rural Economic Development

Canada Post--Services Provided to Rural Communities

December 1, 2022

Minister, as Question Period progresses, you are putting more and more pressure on the senators who are coming up next to ask great questions.

My question is based on your mandate letter, which includes the following commitment:

Support the Minister of Public Services and Procurement in ensuring that Canada Post better reaches Canadians in rural and remote areas.

Minister, can you tell us specifically how much money Canada Post has spent in 2021 on its strategy to improve postal services in rural communities, and how many post offices have been opened or renovated in rural communities as a result of your strategy?

Hon. Gudie Hutchings, P.C., M.P., Minister of Rural Economic Development [ + ]

Senator, that’s a wonderful question. I don’t have that number, but I will get it for you.

I have had conversations with my counterparts as we explore how we do the rural hubs better. I just had a conversation this week in an area where the local bank had pulled out. Sadly, we have seen some of the big-name banks — the major four or five — pull out of rural communities.

Their concept was, in the Canada Post hub, to put in a credit union. So they’re working with the credit union on how to make this a bigger service centre.

I think we will see Canada Post come up with a variety of these different hub models. It can’t be one-size-fits-all, and it has to be from the ground up. Maybe in some communities it is a bank. Maybe in other communities they need a little business centre. Maybe in other communities they need a service centre for Service Canada to deliver things.

I think we will look at the model of what we can do and how that can serve rural, remote and Indigenous communities better. I promise you that I’ll get a number on that. I’ll be curious to see that number too. I’ll report back to you, sir.

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