Quebec Standard

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Ottawa to think about having Canada Post distribute Quebec’s provincial weeklies


Key takeaways: 

  • The move arrived after the Montreal mayor declared citizens would soon have to opt-in to get Publisacs.
  • Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez worries Quebecers may lose access to their regional information if other municipalities follow Montreal’s determination to make the weekly distribution of pamphlets, coupons, and regional newspapers in Publisacs an opt-in model. 

Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez is peeking at ways Canada Post could take over the issuance of Quebec’s provincial and local newspapers.

“The provincial newspapers […] play an essential role that others cannot play,” the minister said Thursday at a press conference.

His remarks came after Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante’s report earlier this week that weekly flyer-stuffed plastic bags, including circulars, coupons, and local newspapers — dubbed Publisacs in Quebec — as of next spring will just be given to families that request them.

Presently, citizens have the chance to reject Publisacs. 

Rodriguez fears other cities in Quebec may follow Montreal’s decision, and since weekly newspapers are distributed with the Publisacs, Quebecers might lose access to their regional information.

Also read: Quebec doctors say the plan to strengthen French language will harm patients

Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez is peeking at ways Canada Post

“This is a problem I’m following,” said Rodriguez. “I have to meet with Canada Post on this topic.”

The Crown corporation is the only commodity that can distribute provincial and regional weeklies to citizens’ doorsteps. Still, its rates are prohibitive, costing up to three times as much as the cost set by Transcontinental, which owns Publisac.

On Monday, Plante said the city would set up a financial aid program to help local newspapers during the transition period.

Rodriguez says his unit will also offer monetary support to different media. Still, it will be a lost reason for papers that rely on the distribution system to bring their publications into readers’ hands.

“I’ll look into it with Canada Post, but I’m open to discussion,” he said. 

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