Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Journalism job losses at Global News undercut Canadians’ right to know

TORONTO, Canada – The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) was extremely disappointed to learn that nearly three dozen unionized journalists at Global News bureaus spread across the country were laid off this week.

According to reporting by CBC News, 35 jobs have been lost. Twenty-five positions were cut in Western Canada, with 13 in Calgary, eight in Edmonton, one in Vancouver and three in Lethbridge. The remaining ten losses come from Ontario: three in Global’s Ottawa bureau and seven in Toronto.

Corus, the parent company of Global News, has not yet issued an official statement to confirm the total number of jobs lost or the specific names of journalists who have lost their jobs.

The CAJ has learned, through multiple sources, that among those laid off is veteran news anchor Farah Nasser, who aired her final newscast today.

“It is extremely disappointing that, once again, front-line journalists are the ones who bear the brunt of the industry’s broken business model,” said Brent Jolly, president of the CAJ. “Layoffs may serve as a short-term stopgap to beleaguered balance sheets but they further destabilize, and shortchange, democracy.”

According to an internal memo distributed to Global News employees, and reported on by CBC News, Corus said the changes are “designed to prepare our news division for more economic pressure, as the industry continues to evolve, as larger international tech giants offer content and advertising platforms directly to Canadians, and monopolize the Canadian advertising landscape.”

The job losses at Global News come in the wake of two major developments that impact the parent company’s finances.

On the one hand, Corus announced last week it was losing programming arrangements with Warner Bros. Discovery at the end of the year. This included arrangements with major entertainment brands, including HGTV, the Food Network and others.

On the other hand, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) directed foreign streaming services, such as Netflix and Spotify, to pay five per cent of their annual Canadian profits into a fund to support local news and the production of Canadian content.

The CAJ agrees that regulatory and policy changes are desperately needed to support Canadian journalism in this time of vast technological change. In a time of increased political and social polarization, public service investigative journalism, which serves as the lifeblood of accountability in Canada, cannot be marginalized.

“Today, so many journalists, particularly women and journalists of colour, are confronting hate and harassment out in the field and in their digital worlds. Dealing with employment insecurity is another exceptional threat to press freedom in Canada that threatens to undermine our democratic way of life,” said Jolly.

“Furloughing more than two dozen journalists during an election year in Alberta is absolutely devastating. Journalism trades in truth and accountability and sacrificing journalists to serve a bottom line only leaves Canadian communities susceptible to mis and disinformation campaigns that can quickly spread like wildfire, if left unchecked.”

The CAJ will be sharing additional information about this latest round of layoffs when it can be confirmed. We stand in solidarity with our Global colleagues during this difficult time.

The CAJ is Canada’s largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing members across the country. The CAJ’s primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.



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