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Toronto Star axes dozens of jobs despite taking $115K a week in federal bailout funds

Editions of StarMetro will stop printing in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton and Halifax, with the last issue going out on December 20.

The Toronto Star will be shedding 73 jobs after halting the publication of StarMetro newspapers throughout the country, despite receiving hefty payroll rebates from the federal government. 

According to the Canada Revenue Agency, the Refundable Labour Tax Credit included in the 2019 Liberal budget entitles media companies to get a maximum benefit of $13,750 per newsroom employee.

Editions of StarMetro will stop printing in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton and Halifax, with the last issue going out on December 20. 

The paper’s parent company, Torstar Corp. has seen its shares plummet in the stock market and recently reported a $40.9 million loss in October, while in 2018 it lost $31.5 million. 

In August, it was revealed that the paper was recording an intake of $115K a week in federal tax credits as its share of the $595 million bailout package floated by the federal government.  

“We recorded an estimated benefit of $3 million for the first half of the year in respect of a new refundable labour tax credit for qualifying journalism organizations,” claimed corporate officials.

The annual amount for the company is expected to be between eight to ten million dollars a year according to a note to shareholders.

Critics of the bailout have accused the money of being a bribe in order to buy positive media coverage for the federal Liberals. 

Among those appointed to the panel which oversees the money’s distribution and who gets listed as a “qualified Canadian journalism organization” was the labour group Unifor which has repeatedly taken an anti-Conservative stance. 

Leading up to the election the union touted itself as “Andrew Scheer’s worst nightmare” and tweeted that Andrew Scheer was “unfit to lead.”  

Unifor also represents employees at the Toronto Star despite the company directly benefiting from the bailout monies. 

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