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CBC confirms closure of TV design department, announces 64 layoffs

The CBC has rejected a proposal by the Canadian Media Guild to maintain props, carpentry and painting in the Toronto Broadcast Centre. CBC has confirmed that the TV design department will close on May 31, 2007, which will also result in the dismantling of CBC-TV’s extensive props and costume stores. In addition to the 49 jobs being eliminated in the design department, the CBC announced a further 15 job cuts in other departments.

“We deeply regret that the CMG and the CBC were not able to reach an
agreement on the idea of an employee co-operative as a way of preserving TV design in Toronto,” said Marc Philippe Laurin, the president of the Guild’s CBC branch. “The closure is another sad result of the fact that the CBC is coping with one-third less government support than it had in 1990.”

After securing a delay in the planned closure of the department in 2006, the CMG hired a consultant to conduct a feasibility study on forming an employee co-operative for TV design. The study concluded that the start-up business would be viable if it were able to rent space in the broadcast centre and if CBC guaranteed the co-op the lion’s share of its TV design work. The CBC rejected those conditions earlier this week.

“Our goal right now is to make sure that the rights of our members affected by the job cuts are respected,” Laurin said.

In the coming weeks, the CMG will participate in the review of CBC’s mandate by the parliamentary Heritage Committee.

“The ability to design for television is fundamental to the CBC’s role and we will be making that point to the committee,” said CMG national president Lise Lareau. “Let’s not forget that the equivalent department at Radio-Canada is alive and well in Montr?al. Unfortunately, the CBC is not adequately funded to do all of the things that Canadians want from it.”

A recent study by Nordicity Group Ltd. shows Canada ranks 16th of 18 industrialized countries when it comes to funding public broadcasting.

A meeting will be held in the coming days with CMG members from the design department to discuss the feasibility study and their options at this stage.

For more information, contact the Guild (info@cmg.ca) at 416-591-5333 or 1-800-465-4149.

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