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Guild fighting to avoid more CBC/Radio-Canada programming cuts

Today CBC management announced a plan to deal with the cancellation of the Local Program Improvement Fund (LPIF). To find the $28.4 million that must be cut in the 2013-14 budget, the Corporation is planning to reduce national TV programming on both CBC and Radio-Canada, reduce non-news regional contributions to Radio-Canada TV programming, cancel plans for 4 new local CBC radio stations (the locations of which had not yet been announced), reduce communications and promotions and find some unspecified “efficiencies.”

In other words, the loss of the LPIF means more of the same kind of cuts that resulted from the federal budget cuts announced in March of this year.

CBC management has made it clear that it doesn’t yet know how the cuts will affect the workforce. No redundancies or job cuts are being announced now. The timing of today’s announcement has to do with the CRTC and the fact that CBC will finally appear next month for the long-awaited licence renewal hearing. The CRTC wanted to know the impact of the LPIF cancellation and the CBC is obliging the regulator.

There is some hope in this hearing. The Guild has called for the replacement of the LPIF with a fund dedicated to public, provincial and community broadcasters to improve local programming. We invite you to read our CRTC submission here. A number of other intervenors are in support of this idea.

The truth is that CBC/Radio-Canada needs the CRTC’s help to meet its mandate and satisfy Canadians’ expectations of it. The CRTC has recognized this in the past and has previously noted that the CBC licence renewal will be a time to discuss measures to compensate CBC for the use of its signals by cable and satellite companies as well as how to ensure quality programming for “official language minority communities” (i.e., Francophones living outside Quebec and Anglophones living in Quebec).

The time is now for CRTC action. The Guild expects to be called to appear at the hearing, which is scheduled to begin November 19 in Gatineau. We will keep you informed of the developments.

For more information, contact Karen Wirsig (karen@cmg.ca) at 416-591-5333 or 1-800-465-4149.

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