The Canada Post strike: what patients and families need to know

Winnipeg Regional Health Authority
Published Thursday, June 30, 2016

Update: On Thursday August 25, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) issued their 72-hour strike notice to Canada Post Corporation. A mediator has been appointed to work with both parties however job action could begin on Sunday August 28th. It is not clear at this time how postal services would be impacted by a strike. The WRHA’s contingency measures, outlined below, will be in effect throughout any service disruption to ensure important messages are sent and received effectively. Please read the information below for information about alternatives to mail service the WRHA will use during the job action, protection of privacy of health information, and how patients and families can connect with us during a disruption in Canada Post service.

Each day, countless letters, notices of appointments and referrals to specialists, among other things, are sent from WRHA sites and services to patients, family members and others using Canada Post. As you know, Canada Post services may be disrupted due to a labour dispute. If this occurs, and in order to ensure that important messages are sent and received as usual, the WRHA has put a contingency plan into effect. We initiated that plan on June 24 so we could be sure that alternate means of communication were in place - and working effectively - so patient care would not be compromised by a disruption in Canada Post services.

Alternatives to the mail

Here are some of the alternative measures we've put in place to communicate with patients, families and others in the event that Canada Post service is disrupted:

  • Use of our contracted medical carrier
  • Use of other courier services and rural bus line services for other locations not covered by our contracted medical carrier
  • Telephoning patients/families regarding appointments and scheduling
  • Use of hospital internet sites to post and house relevant patient information
  • Providing notice to all agencies that typically request and require health information

Privacy of health information

Privacy of patient health information is a paramount concern, and we are committed to communicating with patients and their families in ways that are direct and secure. Our policies related to personal health information are available here.

How patients and families can connect with us

During the disruption in Canada Post service:

  • Use the WRHA website to find information on health services around the Region
  • Telephone your doctor or other healthcare provider if you need to confirm appointments or other information
  • Consult a WRHA hospital website if you have an appointment at a facility that you wish to confirm, or if you have a question about an appointment. Each facility website provides contact information you can use to connect directly.

And if you need health information or care at any time, there are a number of options available. These include:

  • Visit a Walk-in or WRHA Quick Care Clinic if you need to see a doctor and cannot get in to see your own physician
  • Consult to find out about clinic locations and emergency department wait times throughout the Region
  • Call HealthLinks, a 24/7 telephone health information service staffed by nurses

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Traditional Territories Acknowledgement
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority acknowledges that it provides health services in facilities located in Treaty One and Treaty Five territories, the homelands of the Métis Nation and the original lands of the Inuit people. The WRHA respects and acknowledges harms and mistakes, and we dedicate ourselves to collaborate in partnership with First Nation, Métis and Inuit people in the spirit of reconciliation.
Click here to read more about the WRHA's efforts towards reconciliation

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