22 September 2011
Changes to business reply cards could be delayed by Canada Post
TORONTO—Proposed changes by Canada Post to specifications for business reply cards could be delayed following a recent National Association of Major Mail Users (NAMMU) Toronto chapter meeting.

The changes, to take effect in January 2012, means Canada Post will now measure reply cards by basis weight instead of paper thickness as in the past. It could cost publishers more money for items like subscription cards.

At the meeting was Gerald Gervais, Canada Post's general manager of commercial mail. He explained the rationale behind the changes to Masthead. "The changes to the paper weight for business reply mail cards announced in July are designed to improve mechanized mail processing," he noted. "With the increased speed of the new mail processing equipment at 30 per cent faster, and the new requirement to run mail through the machines two to three times to achieve sequencing, there has been in increase in [paper] jams.

"This is causing problems in our operation and sometimes damage to other mail."

There were some concerns from mailers that the changes are being introduced without meeting with the industry. Gervais addressed that concern in an email to Masthead, noting, "We recognize that we did not adequately appreciate the impact this change would have to mailers [mostly publishers] on the processes to produce these cards, including print processes and cost of paper. While we still need to find solutions to the jamming problem, we are committed to work closely with the key industry players to do so, looking for options both internally and externally."

He concluded by noting that Canada Post is "considering delaying the implementation of the new requirement for three to six months, I expect to have an answer on this by next Wednesday."

Craig Porter, NAMMU Toronto chapter director, said he was satisfied with the meeting discussion, noting Gervais "was candid about the drivers for both the decisions on weight and creative issues."

Porter is optimistic about the outcome. "I am encouraged that [Gervais'] follow-through in two weeks will give the industry the flexibility it needs to not only maintain usage of card mail, but perhaps even improve it."
— Jeff Hayward
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