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COVID-19's impact on media in Canada

COVID-19's impact on media in Canada

Written by
Devin Ashton-Beaucage
September 14th, 2020

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.

COVID-19's impact on media in Canada
Number of layoffs in the Canadian news and media sector, calculated by Friends of Canadian Broadcasting since the start of the crisis surrounding COVID-19:

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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December 03, 2020

CBC/Radio-Canada announces the elimination of 16 positions at Radio-Canada International (RCI) as part of a restructuring.]( a result, the RCI team will again shrink to nine employees, down from several hundred previously.

Octobre 23, 2020

TVA Sports announces that it will modify its offer, which will lead to 17 layoffs.

July 23, 2020

Corus Entertainment announces layoffs at Global News, 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.

June 13, 2020

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.

June 5, 2020

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.

May 25, 2020

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.

April 28, 2020

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.

April 8, 2020

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.

April 6, 2020

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.

March 27, 2020

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.

March 26, 2020

Cogeco lays off 130 employees.

La Presse announces a 10% wage reductionfor its unionized employees and executives.

March 24, 2020, or before (exact dates unknown)

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.

March 20, 2020

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.

March 20, 2020, or before (exact date unknown)

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.

March 19, 2020

In Halifax, Nova Scotia, weekly paper The Coast lays off nearly twenty employeesand announces it will cease to publish its print edition.

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