Employment Law

CBC/Radio-Canada Layoffs: 600 jobs or 10% of workforce being cut, programming slashed

A television camera, like the ones used by CBC.

In a significant development, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Radio-Canada have announced the elimination of approximately 600 jobs and the decision not to fill 200 existing vacancies.

This move comes as the broadcasters grapple with a looming budget shortfall of $125 million in 2024.

What’s happening at CBC and Radio-Canada?

  • Job Cuts Across the Board: CBC and Radio-Canada are each reducing their workforce by 250 positions. Additional layoffs are expected across corporate divisions, including technology and infrastructure departments.
  • Nature of the Positions: The job cuts will affect a mix of union and non-union roles.
  • Not Happening All At Once: While some cuts will be made immediately, others will occur over the next 12 months. A bulk of the layoffs won’t occur until April 1, 2024.
  • Programming Budget Cuts: Both the English and French programming budgets at CBC are facing reductions. This will result in fewer renewals, acquisitions, new television series, episodes of existing shows, and digital original series.

Why are these cuts happening?

CBC has cited several reasons for these drastic measures: Rising production costs, declining television advertising revenue, and competition from digital giants like Amazon, Disney, and Netflix.

The Crown corporation also anticipates losing $21 million in specialized government funding it has received each year since 2021 to help the broadcaster handle the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Statements from CBC leadership

Catherine Tait, CEO and President of CBC Canada, addressed these challenges during a virtual town hall, stating that “every part of this organization will be affected.”

  • “The reason we’re doing it in this phased-in approach is in order to be able to retain flexibility to respond, if our fortunes do improve, and to be able to protect as many jobs as we possibly can.”
  • “The more transparent we are, the better our relationship with the employees, but with that transparency, in this case, comes uncertainty, and so that’s the hard piece that we’re going to have to manage.”
  • “We see that the entire media sector — private and public — are all under the same financial stresses.”
  • “It will hurt over time because it means more repeats and it means fewer new shows to celebrate and fewer new series to participate in all the awards that we get.”

Government’s role and possible interventions

  • Federal Government’s Stance: The layoffs follow the federal government’s indication of possibly capping the funds CBC and Radio-Canada can receive from Ottawa’s new $100 million deal with Google.
  • Heritage Minister’s Input: Pascale St-Onge, the Heritage Minister, has hinted at the government’s openness to potentially assisting CBC/Radio-Canada.

CBC/Radio-Canada’s forward-looking statement

In a press release, CBC/Radio-Canada expressed that these reductions aim to maximize organizational flexibility in case of financial situation changes next year, while minimizing effects on employees and services provided to Canadians.

Major layoffs continue

The latest reduction at CBC comes amid continuous layoffs as 2023 draws to a close.

Big names, including RBC, Amazon, Spotify, PwC, and TD have significantly scaled back their staffing levels as they continue to navigate challenging economic conditions.

• Firm launches $130M class action against Shopify for breach of contract
• Report: Canadian video software company Vidyard slashes 20% of staff
• Where are layoffs happening in Canada?

Termination agreements for CBC employees

Non-unionized employees at CBC are owed full severance pay when they lose their jobs due to downsizing, corporate restructuring, or the closure of the business.

This includes individuals working full-time, part-time, or hourly in Ontario, Alberta, and B.C.

People working “on contract” or as a contractor may also be owed severance pay — given that many employees in Canada are often misclassified as independent contractors.

Severance can be as much as 24 months’ pay, depending on a number of factors.

Rights to severance for provincially regulated employees
Severance packages during mass layoffs
Severance entitlements in a recession

WATCH: Employment lawyer Lior Samfiru explains what rights employees have if they are being fired or let go on an episode of the Employment Law Show.

Before you accept any severance offer, contact an experienced employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP review it and your employment contract. We can tell you if what you have been provided is fair and how to get proper severance if it falls short of what you are actually owed.

If you don’t receive the full amount, which happens often, you have been wrongfully dismissed and are entitled to compensation.

In some cases, employers pressure staff into accepting poor severance packages by imposing a deadline for accepting the offer. Non-unionized employees in Canada actually have up to two years from the date of their dismissal to pursue a claim for full severance pay.

Talk to an employment lawyer

The experienced employment law team at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP has helped tens of thousands of non-unionized individuals across the country. In addition to severance package negotiations, our team has experience securing solutions for the following employment matters:

Our lawyers in Ontario, Alberta, and B.C. stand ready to help you solve your workplace issues.

If you are a non-unionized employee who needs help with an employment issue, contact us or call 1-855-821-5900 to get the advice you need, and the compensation you deserve.

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