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OMNI violating licence by contracting work to competitor: Unifor

October 2, 2017

TORONTO - The union representing journalists and television employees at Rogers’ OMNI TV has filed a complaint alleging that Rogers has already violated its four-month-old broadcasting licence by subcontracting its Chinese news broadcasts to its own competitor, Fairchild TV.

“The CRTC gave Rogers a special licence with guaranteed income to bring back the Chinese language daily news for the nation’s largest immigrant community,” said Unifor Media Director Howard Law.

“Instead of producing the show themselves and adding to the voices in Chinese language media, as the licence requirement intended, Rogers has handed over the day to day news coverage to Fairchild TV.  We have the same television company directing competing shows.”

On May 15, the CRTC granted Rogers’ request for a special monthly stipend of 12 cents from all Canadian cable TV subscribers and ordered cable companies to broadcast OMNI, a privilege known as a “section 9(1)h” licence granted to “exceptional” TV services such as The Weather Network, CPAC and APTN.

In return, Rogers was obliged to produce and broadcast its previously discontinued news shows in Italian, Punjabi, Mandarin and Cantonese. In its application, Rogers repeatedly promised “in-house” production of the news shows.

On June 2, Fairchild TV incorporated a new division which began hiring reporters and camera operators for OMNI’s Chinese language news shows. The shows began airing September 1st.

“Rogers has taken the money, broken its promises, and handed its competitor the daily news shows that inform Chinese-Canadians about local news and vital issues in Canadian politics,” said Katha Fortier, Assistant to the National President.

“The News Director of Fairchild TV is an outspoken booster of Donald Trump and Rob Ford, and a harsh critic of the so-called mainstream media, whose show she is now directing. This isn’t what Canadians were promised.”

Unifor is calling on the CRTC to call an immediate public hearing into the issue.

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications National Representative Stuart Laidlaw at stuart.laidlaw@unifor.org or (cell) 647-385-4054.