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CBC to lay off 600 jobs amid budget crisis

Canada's public broadcaster says the job losses are intended to help address a $125 million budget shortfall.

Canada's public broadcaster says the job losses are intended to help address a $125 million budget shortfall.

A electronic newsgathering van used by Canadian public broadcaster CBC and Radio Canada. (Photo by P. Oberstein via Wikimedia Commons, Graphic by The Desk)
A electronic newsgathering van used by Canadian public broadcaster CBC and Radio Canada. (Photo by P. Oberstein via Wikimedia Commons, Graphic by The Desk)

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and its French-language outlet Radio-Canada will cut around 600 jobs by next year as it works to reign in costs, the agency said on Monday.

The job loss exercise will start immediately, officials at CBC/Radio-Canada said on Monday, but the majority of pink slips won’t be issued until 2024. In addition to the job cuts, around 200 positions that are currently vacant will not be filled by new or existing staff.

The cuts are intended to help address a $125 million budget shortage, which will also lead to the winding down of some public broadcast programming. Officials at CBC said the budget crunch was caused by rising production costs, lower TV advertising revenue and stronger competition from commercial streaming upstarts.

“We understand how concerning this is to the people affected and to the Canadians who depend on our programs and services. We will have more details in the months ahead, but we are doing everything we can to minimize the impact of these measures,” Catherine Tait, the president of CBC/Radio-Canada, said in a statement.

The job losses are expected across all departments, including CBC’s television and radio broadcasting divisions and CBC News, though the bulk of the losses are expected in the agency’s technology and infrastructure sector. CBC operates 14 English-language, high-definition broadcast TV stations; 13 French-language TV stations; dozens of local and national radio stations in both languages; the CBC website; the CBC News Network and other properties.

In addition to the staff reductions, CBC/Radio-Canada says it is winding down around $40 million in independent content production for television, radio and digital, which also includes program acquisitions.

“CBC/Radio-Canada is not immune to the upheaval facing the Canadian media industry,” Tait said. “We’ve successfully managed serious structural declines in our business for many years, but we no longer have the flexibility to do so without reductions.”

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).