UPDATED: CBC to slash 650 jobs

The CBC will slash 650 jobs in the next three years, 475 of which will be in this fiscal year, the public broadcaster announced April 4.

The cutbacks are in response to a budget cut of $115 million that was announced in the federal budget on March 29. Included in this cut is a cancellation of the $60 million annual top up the corporation received last year.

In an internal conference call, CBC President Hubert Lacroix said that reductions of the size announced in the budget cannot be accomplished without cutting services.

Kirstine Stewart, head of English language services, said that some people in the English services have already been notified that they are no longer needed.

Lacroix said the total financial pressure facing the CBC is $200 million, as rent is escalating across the country and the government has pulled out of covering some of those costs.

“We expect to be able to offset that with $50 million in new revenues, which leaves us with about $150 million to account for by way of reductions and operating improvements,” Lacroix said in a statement.

The majority of cuts will be done at the national network, with only 19 per cent of the job cuts happening at the regional networks. 
The CBC operates out of a large complex at 181 Queen Street. Job loss information for the Ottawa location was not available.

The CBC has already asked the CRTC for permission to add advertising and sponsorship to two of its national networks, Radio 2 and Espace Musique.

Lacroix said ads are not being considered on Radio One because the CBC wants to “preserve the integrity of these services.”

The CBC is also planning on shutting down analogue television transmitters earlier than planned.

“In Canada, only 1.7 per cent of the population still receives our television signals via an analogue, over-the-air transmitter,” said Lacroix. “Given these circumstances, we’ve decided to accelerate our exit from this technology.”

Other measures the CBC is taking is are renting more space in their broadcasting centre in Toronto, killing Brazilian and Russian news bulletins on Radio Canada International and hiking employees’ pension plan contributions to save $5 million.