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800 positions to be eliminated at CBC/Radio-Canada

Today CBC/Radio-Canada president Hubert Lacroix announced to staff that the financial shortfall is estimated at 171 million dollars. As a result the Corporation has decided to eliminate approximately 800 positions in all of its operations.

The Canadian Media Guild’s national president Lise Lareau puts the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the federal government. “At a time when Ottawa is supposed to be providing stimulus to the Canadian economy and ensuring that people maintain employment, cutting 800 jobs is the wrong approach to take.” Lareau adds that the government has yet to articulate any sort of vision of how Canada’s public broadcaster can fulfill its mandate under the Broadcast Act, and how it can and should be financed. “Once again, in spite of our supposed arm’s-length relationship with Parliament, CBC/Radio-Canada is completely at the mercy of the government of the day.”

No redundancy notices will be issued to employees for several weeks. During that time the Guild will continue discussions with CBC/Radio-Canada management in an effort to reduce the number of involuntary layoffs as much as possible. A voluntary retirement incentive program announced by Lacroix today could reduce the number of layoffs by several hundred.

Marc-Philippe Laurin, president of the CBC/Radio-Canada branch of the Guild, said: “Our priorities are to try to limit the number of people going out the door; we have meetings planned with the Corporation to mitigate the impact of this announcement. We’ll be exploring every possible option to make sure that those people who do leave are treated with a measure of dignity, and given as much assistance and retraining as possible; and that they have the chance to return to the Corporation if and when the economy turns the corner and the work becomes available again.”

We will keep you posted as more details come available.

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