COVID-19's impact on media in Canada
While the information they provide us in this time of crisis is essential, our media are not insensitive to the economic impact of COVID-19.
The following is an assessment of the impact that COVID-19 has had on Canadian media.
Note: Considering that several sources have provided rounded figures and that the number above only represents the information we have found, it probably does not reflect the exact number of layoffs in the Canadian media sector. Therefore, this figure should only serve as a reference point. It is very likely that we have not received some of the news regarding local media outlets that have been indirectly impacted by the pandemic. With that in mind, we believe the actual number of layoffs is probably greater.
The media relay news that is important, even essential, in the context of this global pandemic, and they often make this information available for free. Unfortunately, they are not unsusceptible to the effects of the economic downturn caused by COVID-19.
The loss of advertising revenueswas a problem even before the start of this crisis. However, due to the recent slowdown in business activity, several media outlets have reported a 60% decrease in their revenues, which has led to many layoffs and wage cuts. Ottawa, who has yet to deliver on its 2019 promise of a $595-million media bailout,responded to the layoff of 143 employees from CN2i’s newsrooms, stating that most of the $30 million allocated for its COVID-19 awareness campaign would be invested in the Canadian media. Moreover, the federal government announced that the advisory committee involved in allocating tax credits to print media organizations had (at last) been formed. As you’ll read below, these measures were insufficient to prevent further layoffs and closures. Thus, a growing number of voices are calling for immediate government action before the situation deteriorates beyond repair.
We will update the following list as the crisis evolves. If you have any relevant information to provide, please write us: [email protected]
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CBC/Radio-Canada announces the elimination of 16 positions at Radio-Canada International (RCI) as part of a restructuring.](https://www.rcinet.ca/en/2020/12/03/canadas-public-broadcaster-announces-new-cuts-to-radio-canada-international/)As a result, the RCI team will again shrink to nine employees, down from several hundred previously.
TVA Sports announces that it will modify its offer, which will lead to 17 layoffs.
Corus Entertainment announces layoffs at Global News, Globalnews.ca and AM Radio.As part of a restructuring of Global News operations that will mainly focus on journalism from now on, lifestyle, entertainment and social media teams will no longer be supported. The number of layoffs is unknown for the moment.
The temporary abolition of the weekday print editions of six CN2i newspapers becomes permanent.About fifty employees, who were among the 143 temporarily laid off in March, were rehired, whilst the loss of employment will be permanent for some 90 others.
As a result of this digital shift, TC Transcontinental announced the premanent closure of two of its plantsthat were mainly dedicated to printing CN2i's newspapers.
Despite measures taken in mid-March to stay afloat, Quebec cultural magazine Voir announces that it will cease operating for good,thus abandoning the idea of a relaunch in September. The seven people who were temporarily laid off will therefore lose their jobs permanently, as will the two others who were still working for the magazine during the crisis.
Brunswick News Inc. permanently closes the nine offices of its weekly newspapers in New Brunswick.In April, the organization had already suspended the publication of its weeklies and the distribution of flyers, which had led to several temporary layoffs (we are unable to provide an accurate figure of these at the moment). It seems that the other employees who kept their jobs in April will stay on despite this new announcement.
Postmedia Network announces the permanent shutdown of 15 local papersin Ontario and in Manitoba as of May 4, 2020. In addition to causing some 80 layoffs, the closures will force executives, managers, and employees to take wage cuts.
Brunswick News suspends the publication of its weeklies and the distribution of its flyers. Most employees involved in producing these newspapers and flyers had been temporarily laid off.
Torstar, the owner of several newspapers distributed throughout Canada, including the Toronto Star, eliminated 85 positions.
About 300 unionized employees of the Winnipeg Free Press accepted wage cutsranging from 12% to 20% or down to the minimum wage for a period of two weeks.
The Canadian Jewish News (CJN) announces the termination of its operations.According to the information we found, CJN had hired about fifty employees in 2013.
Métro Média announces the layoff of 40% of its employees, i.e. 23 people.In addition, at least 17 others have faced reduced work hours.
Quebecor announces the layoff of 10% of its workforce,which represents approximately 1010 jobs.
Cogeco lays off 130 employees.
La Presse announces a 10% wage reductionfor its unionized employees and executives.
The Coopérative nationale de l'information indépendante (CN2i), who succeeded Groupe Capitales Médias as the owner of daily newspapers Le Droit, Le Soleil, La Voix de l'Est, Le Quotidien/Le Progrès, La Tribune, and Le Nouvelliste, lays off 143 of its 350 employeesand suspends the printed editions of its weekday papers.
SaltWire Network, owner of 35 weeklies and dailies in the Maritimes, announces the layoff of 40% of its employees, i.e. 240 people, and the suspension of its weekly publications.
Urbania lays off six employees and asks its remaining staff to take a 20% pay cut.
Ici Médias, the owner of 22 weeklies throughout the province of Quebec, lays off about a hundred employees,cutting its workforce in half.
DBC communications, owner of the Courrier de Saint-Hyacinthe, lays off about ten of its 115 employees.
Gravité Média, the owner of several weeklies in the Montégérie region of Quebec, reportedly laid off 32 employees.
Lexis Média (Abitibi-Témiscamingue, QC), owner of newspaper Le Citoyen, announces additional layoffs. Its team, which normally consisted of 28 employees, is reduced to four people.
Québec Science cuts work hours of its team of journalistsdown to four days a week and will not sell its April-May print edition in newsstands.
In Halifax, Nova Scotia, weekly paper The Coast lays off nearly twenty employeesand announces it will cease to publish its print edition.
CBC decides to consolidate its personnel at CBC News Network and suspends its local newscasts, with the exception of the CBC North report.
Voir magazine lays off seven employees.
Toronto magazine The Hockey News lays off eight employees.