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CBC employees in the blogosphere: a reality check

The CBC recently circulated guidelines for bloggers who identify themselves as CBC employees.

For employees who are members of the Canadian Media Guild, the guidelines are subject to the terms of the CMG/CBC collective agreement, particularly Article 12, which deals with outside activities. We believe the collective agreement allows employees more latitude than the recent blogging guidelines suggest and we will defend the principles of the agreement.

This is what Article 12 says:

Employees shall be free to engage in activities such as voluntary and/or paid work outside their hours of work provided:

a) that such activities are not in competition with the media services of the Corporation. This provision does not apply to temporary employees or freelancers;
b) that without permission, no employee may exploit his/her connection with the Corporation in the course of such activities; or
c) that such activity does not adversely affect his/her work for the Corporation.

Recognized on-air personnel must discuss any outside activities with their supervisor before engaging in outside activities.”

Any employee is free to engage in any activity provided that activity is consistent with the collective agreement. The questions that bloggers should ask themselves are: Am I competing with the CBC? Am I exploiting my connection with the CBC (e.g. gaining some benefit from my connection that I might not otherwise have)? Is this blog, or its contents, likely to have a detrimental effect on my ability to do my job? If the reasonable answer to these questions is “no”, then the activity is acceptable.

We take the view that only recognized on-air employees must discuss it with a supervisor before pursuing a blog or other online activity.

As in all things, use your common sense when participating in the blogosphere, particularly where you identify yourself as, or are easily identifiable as, a CBC employee. You are responsible for what you publish. When in doubt, get advice from the Guild before you post.

If you have any questions or concerns, please the Guild (info@cmg.ca) at 1-800-465-4149 or 416-591-5333.

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