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CRTC and Bell must shoulder blame for TV job cuts, says Unifor

November 17, 2017

Toronto – The union representing on-air and broadcasting technicians at 17 local CTV stations across Canada has deplored the latest round of an estimated 50 job cuts at Bell Media’s national network.

“This latest round of layoffs isn’t just Bell Media’s penny-pinching, this one has been directly caused by the CRTC,” said Unifor Media Council Chair Jake Moore.

“We warned the CRTC that tough licencing conditions would be required if big media companies were granted five-year licences for local news. They didn’t listen,” said Moore.

The layoffs will seal the fate of the CTV network’s remaining local sports broadcasts, adding their flagship station CFTO in Toronto to the list of casualties that already includes sports programming at CTV stations in Edmonton, Calgary, and Montreal. Local sports go off air in Toronto on December 27.

The layoffs have struck at least 15 TV and radio stations and include both on air and technical staff. On air personalities include Ottawa CTV host Melissa Lamb, BNN host Michael Kane, and CFTO Sportscasters Joe Tilley and Lance Brown. Lianne Laing, also an Ottawa CTV host, recently left Bell Media on her own accord to pursue other opportunities in advance of the impending layoffs.

The federal broadcasting regulator the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission granted the major TV networks five-year licence renewals on May 15, 2017. Then Chair Jean Pierre Blais rejected any licence conditions of “local presence” that might have guarded against cutting on-air staff. 

“These huge media companies were allowed by the CRTC to grow big and eat up smaller companies with the expectation that they would maintain a high level of local news coverage,” said Unifor Media Director Howard Law. “This was supposed to end happily for local news, and it has not.”

For more information, please contact:  Unifor national communications representative Shannon Devine shannon.devine@unifor.org or (cell) 416-302-1699