The Liberal government wants to provide assistance indefinitely for the legacy media after the $595 million federal journalism bailout expires in 2024.
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, the Department of Canadian Heritage hasn’t ruled out extending funding despite the fact that the bailout has failed to save financially unviable outlets or prevent them from going under.
“News businesses have seen their revenues significantly decline affecting coverage of our communities and institutions,” said Canadian Heritage spokesperson David Larose.
“The government is committed to supporting the long term viability of the Canadian news sector including through various tax measures and programs.”
Multiple media businesses have shuttered their doors despite receiving federal funding in the form of tax credits and payroll rebates for employees.
The Vancouver Courier and Stonewall Argus have all ceased publishing since the bailout was first introduced in 2019.
Other outlets that took federal funding like Halifax’s Chronicle Herald ended up firing their employees despite receiving $13,750 per employee payroll rebates and tax credits.
The Saltwire Network Inc., which owns the Chronicle Herald, outlet fired 111 employees on Sept. 1, 2020 citing a loss of revenues during the pandemic. Former veteran employees took the outlet to court in an ongoing lawsuit alleging wrongful dismissal.
Canadian Heritage cited legislation like Bill C-18, a bill that would make social media companies pay news outlets, as part of its efforts to prop up legacy media outlets.
“The bill will contribute to the sustainability of the news sector including the sustainability of independent local news businesses,” said Larose.
Recent studies show that Canadians are rapidly losing trust in traditional media according to the University of Oxford’s 2022 Digital News Report.
Only 42% of Canadians were found to be trusting of “most news” which represents a 13% decline since 2016.