Apparently, the lion’s share of a $100 million media payout from Google isn’t enough to keep the CBC afloat as a new report reveals the public broadcaster is expected to announce major layoffs soon.
Reports from multiple sources, including Le Journal de Montreal, indicate that 600 to 700 employees across the country could be out of work.
Employees are scheduled to have a virtual meeting with CEO Catherine Tait on Monday to discuss the organization’s “financial challenges” and looming cuts.
These anticipated layoffs, affecting both English and French services, mark a significant reduction in CBC/Radio-Canada’s workforce, with over 300 positions in Quebec on the line.
Ottawa recently reached a deal with Google, which promised to pay legacy media $100 million a year. As reported by True North, CBC would be the largest beneficiary of C-18. The public broadcaster is poised to receive up to a third of this fund as it employs a significant share of journalists within Canada.
Catherine Tait sent an email to all employees on November 29. The email said that she wanted to “provide an update on [the] financial challenges and “give an update on what’s coming in the next few months.”
Last November, Tait announced that “difficult efforts” would be required to reduce CBC’s expenses by $100 million over the next three years. Job cuts were not ruled out.
During the same month, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) said that CBC bonuses and raises had cost taxpayers $156 million since 2015.
At a meeting with CBC employees in October, a hiring freeze was announced.
While specifics of the meeting remain confidential, it’s clear that job cuts are a significant component of the broadcaster’s strategy to trim expenses by $100 million over the next three years.
The proposed layoffs represent a significant proportion of the broadcaster’s workforce, which stood at 7,960 full-time equivalents as of April 1, 2023.
This development is not isolated. The Canadian media industry has been reeling under the impacts of dwindling readership and advertising revenue lost to social media companies for over a decade.
Major players like Québecor and Bell Canada have also undertaken significant layoffs and restructuring. The closure of Métro Média and several Bell Canada radio stations earlier this year further exemplifies the industry’s volatility.
Following the publication of this article, CBC confirmed to be cutting up to 10% of its workers, including 600 workers.