The New Brunswick government is preparing for the impact of a possible work stoppage at Canada Post that could come as early as July 2.

Service New Brunswick Minister Ed Doherty says the department is asking the public to be mindful that all incoming and outgoing mail would cease during a work stoppage and that they would need to consider alternative means of communication. The provincial government is encouraging clients and vendors to be proactive by setting up direct deposit accounts.

In the event of a Canada Post work stoppage, residents would be able to access up-to-date information on affected services and alternative delivery methods on the provincial government website and by calling Service New Brunswick TeleServices at 1-888-762-8600.

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Canada Post has published timelines on its website and is encouraging customers to follow them to ensure delivery before a possible service disruption.

Talks have been ongoing since late 2015 and, following a 60-day conciliation period, the parties are now in a 21-day “cooling-off” period. Based on that timeline, there can be no legal work disruption until July 2, 2016.

In the event of a full labour disruption, Canada Post will not operate. Mail and parcels will not be delivered, and no new items will be accepted. Any mail and parcels within the postal system during a work disruption will be secured and delivered as quickly as possible once operations resume.

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About 51,000 postal employees have been without a contract since January. Canadian Union of Postal Workers national president Mike Palecek  says Canada Post has put forward a number of major concessions and cuts to their employees’ pensions, benefits, job security and, if there’s a shutdown, a lockout is more likely than a strike. Palacek says the union also wants to discuss services for the future like postal banking, which most other countries have.