15,000 jobs at risk due to Harper-era CRTC


A Unifor-supported analysis released today found that more than 15,000 jobs are at risk due to CRTC rulings and policies on TV broadcasting left over from the Harper Government.

“This study fills a void, and should send a powerful message to the new government,” said Unifor Media Council Chair Randy Kitt.

The 100-page study by consulting firm Nordicity and Peter Miller for Friends of Canadian Broadcasting found that 6,830 jobs are at risk in the television industry alone, with another 8,300 at risk across the rest of the economy due to the economic impact of the lost TV jobs.

The report, Canadian Television 2020: Technological and Regulatory Impacts, said CRTC policies will likely result in a $400-million drop in spending on Canadian program by 2020 – accelerating the impact of technological change already weakening Canadian broadcasters.

“Under pressure from the former government, the commission placed so-called consumer protection ahead of the cultural and democratic interests of citizens and creators,” said Ian Morrison, spokesperson for the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.

“This report offers an indictment of the CRTC’s current leadership, based on solid economic analysis.”

CRTC decisions have also been an issue at Hamilton TV station CHCH, where all staff was dismissed just before Christmas when the station declared bankruptcy. A new company with the same management immediately rehired about one-third of the staff.

Unifor National President Jerry Dias has said the station's actions are an example of the failures of the CRTC under the previous Harper Government to address the funding needs of local broadcasters. Dias met with CHCH Unifor members, pledging the union’s full support in their struggle with the station.

In November, Bell Canada President and CEO George Cope linked 300-plus layoffs across the country at CTV to CRTC regulatory changes such as pick and pay and simultaneous substitution that would hit the Bell Media bottom line.

Kitt urged the new Liberal government in Ottawa to read the report and reject the Let’s Talk TV policies of the previous government.

“This study shows that consumer choice can be achieved without the significant economic costs and harm to Canadian programming the CRTC’s Let’s Talk TV decisions inflict. These are compelling reasons to reject these policies that were directed by the Harper Government,” Kitt said.