Canada Post strike could effect municipal elections, council considering its options

MINDEMOYA—The upcoming municipal elections being held in October in Ontario could be affected if the members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) walk off the job as they are slated to do next week, especially for municipalities like Central Manitoulin who are going with a mail-in balloting voting system.

“There could potentially be an upcoming strike or walk of Canada Post employees and I just wonder if we know how it will affect our mail-in voting process (if an agreement isn’t reached by the municipal election date),” asked Councillor Derek Stephens, at a Central Manitoulin council meeting last week.

“We have looked at this and at this point we have no answer,” stated Ruth Frawley, clerk of Central Manitoulin, who noted at least three other municipalities on Manitoulin are holding election mail-in voting as well.

Ms. Frawley told council, “we could have the ballots couriered here to us and have people come in and fill them out, but there is a problem with that though,” noting that seasonal residents who live in areas like Toronto might not want to drive back to fill in one of the mail-in forms. “Mail in voting does provide for everyone to have the opportunity to vote.”

“Or we could have the mail in ballots sent to us and we could have courier take them to every voting household, but that would be very expensive,” said Ms. Frawley. “And the forms would probably have to be readdressed and sent back to us by courier if we went with this.”

Ms. Frawley explained that she has sent a letter to the company helping with the mail in voting process for the municipality but has not received a response thus far.”

“The only other way is to do this by an electronic vote,” said Ms. Frawley, although she acknowledged it is too late to put that system in place for the upcoming election.

“If all this happens no one is going to be happy,” said Ms. Frawley.

“If can’t have mail in voting, maybe we will have to go back to in-person voting taking place at polling at a municipal polling station,” suggested Councillor Stephens.

It was further suggested that not only municipalities on Manitoulin would be effected with a Canada Post work stoppage and that possibly the Ministry of Municipal Affairs might be looking at a solution on this potential issue, which will be investigated by the municipality.