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Guild members seek inclusion in TVOntario’s future

The Canadian Media Guild is calling on TVOntario’s senior management to create a new and open partnership with employees as the conclusions of a strategic review are implemented.

The unveiling of the results of TVOntario’s plan for the future leaves more questions than answers. Guild members will need more than a promise of no layoffs. If this new vision is to succeed it will need the considerable efforts, talents and dedication of its employees.

The main message of the review is that things will change, and quickly. The $25 million digitalization of TVO’s broadcasting facilities and the move to multi-platform delivery will present both opportunities and challenges. We have been assured that TVO management is committed to employee training to meet those challenges. We call on TVO senior management to immediately create a joint union-management training committee to ensure training opportunities are fairly and appropriately provided. Employees must not only be trained on new equipment but must also be given opportunities to play significant roles in the Corporation’s new programming and content direction.

We have been given assurances that the implementation of the review will not result in layoffs. We appreciate that, but we also realize that the result of voluntary retirements and attrition will mean there will be fewer employees and the remaining employees will be asked to do more with less.

The cancellation of programming is disturbing, particularly award-winning programs such as Studio 2. Plans for what will replace the existing content are vague. We will be assessing the exact impacts of these decisions and fully expect the company to live up to its commitment to use existing staff in the creation of new programming and other content. We are also concerned that the planned reduction of TVO’s weeknight mystery/drama timeslot may affect revenue generation from public membership and corporate sponsorships.


The decision to create TFO as an entirely separate entity is somewhat perplexing. While there may be some wisdom in providing greater independence to the French-speaking division of the public broadcaster, the move to sever the linkage completely seems counterintuitive. While TVOntario seeks all forms of synergies, the TFO decision likely means the loss of shared technical facilities, employees, space and services such as finance and human resources. There may be significant costs incurred in creating a separate infrastructure for TFO. We are confident, however, that the collective agreement rights for Guild members will continue and we will be working to ensure there is no erosion of those rights as this initiative moves forward.

Work Environment

We’ve been told the review will also mean several physical changes to the TVO work environment. By year end the 7th floor will be vacated. Other moves will see the Independent Learning Centre relocated to street level and the bulk of TVO’s operations moved to the 4th floor. The model envisioned is to be primarily open space.

We have strongly urged the company to involve the Guild at the earliest stages in discussions around work space, which affects employees’ productivity and well-being. We believe work space decisions should not be based on a “one size fits all” approach, but rather matched to the unique requirements of the various jobs.


The provincial government’s decision to put money on the table to modernize TVO’s operations is welcome news. What is needed, though, to ensure the viability of Ontario’s educational broadcaster is a commitment to long-term stable funding to guarantee the organization’s ability to meet the educational agenda. Current funding levels do not take into consideration the impacts of inflation and other rising costs. Each year the company finds itself losing buying power. While there is value in seeking additional revenue sources and maintaining a strong membership base, TVOntario will need increased ongoing government funding if it is to continue to meet its obligations to Ontario taxpayers.

The Future

At this stage, uncertainty is a major issue and we will continue to seek answers. The Guild was excluded from the Strategic Review process. Nevertheless, in May of this year we presented TVO management with our view of guiding principles in a document entitled “Toward the Revitalization of TVOntario: a frontline perspective.” (click here) It offered the company a vision and expressed a willingness to be involved in the future. In the coming days, weeks and months we intend to be very active in this transition; we will be continuing to ask questions and offer suggestions.

The Guild is approaching the renewal of its collective agreement this fall, and we will be reflecting on the changes proposed at TVOntario to ensure the realities of our new deal are in keeping with the realities of the new TVO. We will be offering some thoughts about what that means. We also continue to examine the decisions taken by management and will be communicating with you as the future unfolds.

If you have questions, comments or concerns please contact any member of the Guild executive at TVOntario, or e-mail the CMG office at info@cmg.ca .

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