CBC Cutting 130 Jobs Across Canada Amid Cost Pressures

October 8, 2020 Updated: October 8, 2020

CBC says it is cutting about 130 jobs across the country over the next three months, the public broadcaster announced Oct. 7. 

The cuts come as part of a restructuring due to higher costs and lower revenue, CBC officials said. 

“As a result of some necessary changes with respect to resizing our business, a number of positions from within the organization will no longer be a part of our workforce come the end of the calendar year,” Barbara Williams, CBC’s executive vice-president of English services, said in a note to staff. 

“Every year, our costs go up as revenue generation in traditional media goes in the other direction and, not surprisingly, we have seen that even more acutely this fiscal with the global pandemic.”

Williams said that despite a “COVID-19 contingency budget” that CBC created to deal with the pandemic, that didn’t change its ongoing financial situation, noting it entered the current fiscal year with a $21 million deficit due to lower advertising and subscription revenues.

While five CBC locations across the country are affected, most of the cuts are to positions based in Toronto.

CBC spokesman Chuck Thompson says a total of 130 positions from various departments at CBC are affected but most of the employees were dealt with through retirements and attrition. He says 58 positions in the news, current affairs, and local news divisions were affected but only 19 people, members of the Canadian Media Guild, were laid off.

He says 21 other CMG members were let go from across other CBC divisions. Meanwhile, 11 people affiliated with the Association of Professionals and Supervisors union were also let go, along with about 10 non-unionized managerial positions.

CBC and Radio-Canada have about 7,500 employees. The vast majority of the public broadcaster’s operations are funded by the federal government at the cost of $1.2 billion per year. 

The CBC has seen a decline in TV viewership in recent years, with around 1 percent of Canadians tuning into its nightly news broadcast last year, according to internal reports.

Conservative opposition leader Erin O’Toole campaigned on a platform of defunding much of the CBC, most critically the news division, saying he would largely eliminate TV and digital services, reducing the public broadcaster to radio and French-language programming.

Critics of the current operations of CBC say it is competing unfairly with other media companies by using public dollars to create content while also seeking advertiser revenue. O’Toole has said the work of the news division is fulfilled by other news providers.