You are here

Media must be included in COVID-19 emergency plan: Unifor

March 23, 2020 - 12:00 AM

March 23, 2020

TORONTO – Unifor is calling on the federal government to ensure that Canadian media organizations survive the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to provide vital information to the public.

“Almost every Canadian newspaper and television news outlet was teetering on the brink before the pandemic hit,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “Our media companies are experiencing unprecedented dips in advertising revenues, resulting in catastrophic losses.”

Dias commended media workers for their continued work to deliver crucial facts to Canadians during this time of crisis. Dias also applauded the many news organizations with pay-walled websites that have offered COVID-19 related information for free.

“The news industry is giving away its most sought after content because it’s the right thing to do, the only thing to do,” said Dias. “We have a long way to go to recovery so the federal government has to act now and include news organizations as part of the emergency plan.”

Dias proposed that the federal government increase the 25 per cent labour tax credit for written journalism passed in the 2019 Budget. It should also expand the program to include television companies, which the CRTC reports have been running annual losses of up to eight per cent since 2013.

Dias cited the report of the expert committee to reform the Broadcasting Act, which made the same recommendation at the end of January before the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was known.

Unifor represents 11,000 Canadian journalists and media workers, part of the 315,000 workers represented by the union in every major area of the economy. As Canada’s largest union in the private sector the union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For media inquiries please contact Unifor Communications Representative Kathleen O’Keefe at kathleen.okeefe@unifor.org  or 416-896-3303 (cell).