CBC/Radio-Canada news management (English services) put out a note yesterday informing our members that “a number of CBC News staff were given notice of redundancy”. That is difficult to hear and we all feel it.
As per our collective agreement, the Canadian Media Guild (CMG) was informed several weeks ago of an intention to reduce the workforce within English Services CBC news by about thirty (30) CMG positions.
Since that time, we have worked with CBC/Radio-Canada to minimize the disruption to members and specifically to reduce the number of members who will leave their positions involuntarily.
So, the vast majority of this workforce reduction will take place through cost savings associated with retirements, through attrition, and through an agreement to not fill some positions which currently are vacant and not staffed. The goal is to ensure that members who want to continue working at the public broadcaster have the opportunity to do so.
While we lament any reductions to the overall size of the News operation and recognize the pain associated with any redundancy notices, it should be noted that fewer than ten (10) redundancy notices (which include News Express) have been served and it is currently understood that these may not result in any layoffs as members are redeployed. CMG is working with the corporation in order to protect members.
Media Library and Archives French Services has also seen a reduction of 3 part time positions and one full time position in radio archives this month as the result of a reorganization. An additional position will be created in Toronto.
The Public Broadcaster and Public Funding
The note from News Management also states that, “This is part of a difficult but necessary exercise to manage a decrease to the CBC News operating budget this fiscal year.”
The public broadcaster is meant to function as Canada’s lead content producer and programmer – a standard-setter for high-quality and innovative programming, a principal incubator of Canadian talent. How can this be maintained under constant budgetary contractions?
If CBC/Radio-Canada were to be funded presently at a level comparable to 1990-91 in constant (inflation-adjusted) dollars, the parliamentary appropriation to the public broadcaster in 2019 would have amounted to more than $1,800 million.
The Canadian Media Guild has recently supported a campaign by Friends of Canadian Broadcasting to increase the funding to the CBC/Radio-Canada to $50 per Canadian, per year.
We believe that this is the level of commitment it will take to provide sustainable and appropriate funding for the public broadcaster. We will be calling on the newly elected government to increase funding to the CBC/Radio-Canada as they consider the next federal budget.
President, CBC/Radio-Canada Branch, Canadian Media Guild
On behalf of the CBC/Radio-Canada Branch Executive Committee