Postmedia and Torstar Layoffs | Severance Packages

by Samfiru Tumarkin

Monday, November 27th, 2017 at 4:19 pm

Postmedia to Close More Local Newspapers, Cut Staff 10%

Postmedia Network Inc. announced June 26, 2018 that they will close six small-town newspapers and cut back on printing of four additional papers. They will also slash 10% of its “salary outlay” through staff layoffs and voluntary buyouts by the end of August 2018.

Postmedia stated in an internal memo (obtained by The Canadian Press) that it has undertaken a review of the company and identified positions to be eliminated.

“While these are difficult decisions to make, they are necessary to manage our cost structure and structural transformation,” spokesperson Phyllise Gelfand said via email.

Postmeda and Torstar to Eliminate 300 Jobs

In November of 2017, Canada’s two largest print and digital media firms, Postmedia and Torstar, have traded 41 local community newspapers with each other, with most slated to be shut down permanently. The move comes amid declining advertising revenues and a struggling print media environment.

A total of 291 full-time and part-time employees will be laid off. The exchange of the print properties is a non-cash transaction.

“Closing papers doesn’t make anyone happy. Loss of jobs, loss of brands – but all these products are losing money,” Postmedia executive chairman and chief executive officer Paul Godfrey said in an interview Monday. “We feel that this is a necessity.”

Torstar president and CEO John Boynton referred to the trade as a way of giving Torstar “geographic synergies” in markets the company sees as a priority.

Rapidly Changing Industry

Media companies have been trying to cope with declining print advertising revenue. Canadians are spending an increasing amount of time online. Digital media empires are also facing an uphill battle for ad revenue, as giants Google and Facebook are said to account for more than two-thirds of the entire digital advertising market. The two digital behemoths have an advantage over other companies and forms of media, in that they are able to make use of the vast amount of personal information mined from their users.

Severance for Media Industry: What You Should Know

Based on our years of experience in employment law, in both Ontario and British Columbia, Samfiru Tumarkin LLP fully expects that many of the severance pay and severance packages offered to the 291 laid off Postmedia and Torstar employees (non-unionized) will be inadequate, and that wrongful dismissal will apply.

In fact, we have already been contacted by now former employees who have been handed low severance offers.

Severance pay (or termination pay) is based on a number of factors, including age, length of employment, position, and salary.

Where these 291 terminated Postmedia and Torstar employees are concerned, one of the most important factors involved will be Availability of Employment. In today’s increasingly challenging and competitive media landscape, it is taking individuals longer periods of time to secure employment after they are fired. This factor is a key component of severance for both short and long service employees.

As the purpose of severance pay is to compensate you for the time you are out of a job, this is absolutely a factor an employer must consider in determining what you are owed.

If you or somebody you know was impacted by the Postmedia and Torstar layoffs, refer them to the experienced lawyers at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP to ensure that they obtain their severance entitlements.

We encourage everyone to use our free and anonymous Severance Pay Calculator to determine the amount of severance they are owed, based on the above factors.

Torstar Acquisition and Closures

Torstar is acquiring 15 of Postmedia’s community newspapers and 2 free big-city commuter daily newspapers. A total of 13 of those papers will be shuttered, affecting 46 full-time and part-time employees.

Following the Postmedia and Torstar swap, the former company plans to keep the Niagara Falls Review, Peterborough Examiner, St. Catherines Standard, and Welland Tribune running. The following publications will be closed:

  • 24 Hours Toronto
  • 24 Hours Vancouver
  • Barrie Examiner
  • Bradford Times
  • Collingwood Enterprise Bulletin
  • Fort Erie Times
  • Innisfil Examiner
  • Inport News
  • Niagara Advance
  • Northumberland Today
  • Orillia Packet & Times
  • Pelham News
  • Thorold Niagara News

Postmedia Acquisition and Closures

Postmedia is acquiring 22 of Torstar’s community newspapers and 2 free commuter daily newspapers. All but 1 of those properties will be closed, resulting in 244 people being laid off.

While the Exeter Times-Advocate and the Exeter Weekender will continue to operate, the following publications will be closed:

  • Metro Ottawa
  • Metro Winnipeg
  • Belleville News
  • Brant News
  • Central Hastings News
  • Frontenac Gazette
  • Kanata Kourier-Standard
  • Kingston Heritage
  • Meaford Express
  • Nepean/Barrhaven News
  • Norfolk News
  • Orleans News
  • Ottawa East News
  • Ottawa South News
  • Ottawa West News
  • Our London
  • Quinte West News
  • St. Lawrence News
  • St. Marys Journal-Argus
  • The St. Marys Weekender
  • St. Thomas/Elgin Weekly News
  • Stittsville News

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