The Liberal government has pledged to increase funding for CBC News next year.
Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism Minister Steven Guilbeault wants the CBC to increase local news coverage and to work with smaller platforms.
Guilbeault said that while he hasn’t spoken to the CBC about the project, the broadcaster would receive additional funding for the effort.
The CBC currently receives $1.2 billion in taxpayer dollars every year despite steadily losing revenue and an audience. The exact amount of funding the CBC could expect to receive next year was not revealed by the minister.
In the last five years, the CBC’s TV ad revenue has declined by 53%. Over the first six months of 2019, the CBC only pulled in $90.9 million in TV ad revenue. The total amount is about $100 million short of the $192.2 million it earned in the first six months of 2014.
“Our objective is not to make money but to provide a service and fulfil our mandate. We reinvent ourselves every year to try and find new ways to do things because we have to offer more, but with a smaller budget. So that requires visionary talent,” said Radio Canada Executive VP Michel Bissonnette.
Viewership has also steadily declined over the last year. On average, 14% fewer people watched the CBC this year than in 2018.
As part of Guilbeault’s mandate, he was tasked by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to “strengthen the regional mandate of CBC/Radio-Canada.”
In his mandate letter to Guilbeault, Trudeau said that regulating social media for hate speech and “illegal content” was also a “top priority” for the minister.
“(You will) create new regulations for social media platforms, starting with a requirement that all platforms remove illegal content, including hate speech, within 24 hours or face significant penalties,” wrote Trudeau.