CBC laid off a number of workers last week, claiming a decrease in its operating budget.
A total of 35 positions were dropped, a majority of which were based in Toronto.
The CBC received a total of $1.2 billion in taxpayer dollars from the federal government in 2018-2019. This amount was $6 million more than the broadcaster received the year before.
Revenue was also lower last year by 14.5% or a total of $83 million. The broadcaster only managed to pull in $490 million in 2018-2019, compared to last year’s revenue of $573 million.
In total, the CBC operated at a loss of $54.4 million for the year according to International Financial Reporting Standards.
In the 2019 budget, the federal government allocated a total of $595 million in additional subsidies as part of its media bailout package. Included in the package is an annual payroll subsidy of $13,750 for newsroom employees.
As part of its program, the government will be listing “qualified Canadian journalism organizations” which will be entitled to receive the funds.
According to an access to information request filed by True North, as of August 15, 2019, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) had not yet designated any company as “qualified.”
The heavily anti-conservative labour group Unifor was chosen as one of the panel members who get to decide which media organization qualifies for the bailout fund. Prior to the federal election, the group billed itself as “Andrew Scheer’s worst nightmare” and explicitly targeted the Conservatives on social media leading up to election day.
The CRA has been silent on the details of the bailout package while publishers have been calling to have the funding released.
Other media companies in the ailing industry, including Torstar Corp. have reported heavy losses. Most recently, Torstar’s shares plunged and the company reported a whopping $40.9-million loss on October 30.