Radio, television and internet broadcasting is a critical element of Canadian culture and a key player in the country’s news industry.

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Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault Heritage minister tells media union leaders he’s committed to helping news industry - Two media union leaders received assurances today from Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault that he will do what he can to help the news industry weather a financial crisis worsened by the pandemic. CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon and Kim Trynacity, president of the CBC branch of the union’s largest Local, the Canadian Media Guild, laid out the case for urgent funding for news companies and special help for the public broadcaster in a 40-minute Zoom meeting. “It was a pleasure speaking with Minister Guilbeault. He fully understands the crisis facing the news industry and has committed to doing all he can to help,” O’Hanlon said. “We look forward to continuing our dialogue with the minister, to seeing funds begin to flow to news companies this summer, action to address precarious workers and greater diversity at the CBC, and legislation to make Facebook and Google share advertising revenue with Canadian content providers.” O’Hanlon said Guilbeault was asked to speed up access to the $595-million journalism support fund because “we desperately need money to begin flowing to news companies this summer to avert more layoffs and cost-cutting.” O’Hanlon said he also told the minister “we need specific, quick help for The Canadian Press, especially during the pandemic, given its [...]
Union hails expanded access to COVID-19 emergency benefit for media workers - CWA Canada is hailing today’s announcement that the emergency benefit program will now be extended to many precarious workers in the media industry. Martin O’Hanlon, president of the media union, said the change is great news for thousands of precarious media and other workers. “In a crisis like this, it is precarious workers who suffer the most,” O’Hanlon said. “We are very glad that the government listened to our request, and the requests of others, to expand the program. This should be a big help for many media workers in temporary, part-time or freelance jobs.” “Now let’s hope this leads to structural change to create more full-time jobs and provide stability and employment standards to precarious workers.” O’Hanlon, along with Carmel Smyth, president of CWA Canada’s largest Local, the Canadian Media Guild (CMG), had appealed to three federal ministers on behalf of members and other workers who were ineligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) because of the zero-income criteria. The CERB was originally intended to pay out to people who weren’t eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) and had lost all income for 14 days in the first month as well as in subsequent months. The program will now be opened to part-time workers and freelancers [...]
Guild leads protests as CBC cuts local English TV news during health crisis - The CBC is facing a growing chorus of criticism for its decision to cancel local English television newscasts across the country amid the coronavirus pandemic. CWA Canada’s largest Local, the Canadian Media Guild (CMG), which represents thousands of workers at the public broadcaster, was quick to express its disappointment with the “brash decision … at this time of heightened concern about public safety.” CMG President Carmel Smyth and Kim Trynacity, president of the Guild’s CBC branch, said in a joint statement the union “shares Canadians’ surprise that the public broadcaster would decrease its service during an unprecedented health crisis, at a time when Canadians need reliable, trusted information more than ever.” The corporation announced on Wednesday its intention to replace local supper-hour and late-night newscasts with broadcasts from CBC News Network in Toronto for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. It said the one-hour national show would have “additional” regional content, but provided little detail of what that entailed. The decision to cancel local news “has caused outrage among CBC workers, who are ready to use technology and the tools recommended by public health officials to do their work remotely and continue serving the public interest,” said the CMG. Brodie [...]
Press release graphic Second $35-million lawsuit hits Canada’s reality TV industry - TORONTO – A class action has been filed against a second Toronto-based reality TV production company, seeking damages stemming from alleged employment standards violations. The $35-million suit against Insight Productions was filed in Ontario Court on Friday by law firm Cavalluzzo LLP. It claims Insight owes hundreds of workers unpaid overtime, vacation pay, and holiday premiums because of contracts that did not comply with Ontario’s Employment Standards Act. It was filed on behalf of current and former employees and so-called independent contractors. Insight Productions is best known for producing Canadian versions of shows such as Amazing Race, Big Brother, and CBC’s Battle of the Blades. The lawsuit was welcomed by unions CWA Canada and IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees), which are working together to support workers in factual and reality TV who want union contracts similar to those in the scripted movie and TV industry. “This part of the industry can no longer be some kind of isolated island where anything goes when it comes to work rules and pay,” said Denise O’Connell, an organizer with the ‘Fairness in Factual TV’ campaign. The new legal action comes about 16 months after a similar lawsuit was filed against Cineflix [...]
CBC/Radio-Canada building CBC union urges caution on reforms to broadcast rules - The main union at CBC/Radio-Canada is advising the federal government to proceed with caution as it considers recommendations for major regulatory reform of the broadcast and telecom sector issued by an independent panel on Wednesday. Among the sweeping changes the panel proposes are an end to advertising on a publicly funded CBC and that it be a leader in local, regional and national news. The Canadian Media Guild (CWA Canada Local 30213) said the report recognizes that the CBC is underfunded compared to public broadcasters in other countries and that its mandate is to provide programming in English, French and Indigenous languages across six time zones. The network receives $29 per capita in public funds while its counterparts in the U.K. and France get $105 and $73 respectively. “Like many Canadians, the union representing workers at CBC/Radio-Canada has long called for better funding,” said CMG President Carmel Smyth. “CBC is the largest news organization in the country, and it provides a crucial public service that Canadians appreciate for quality news and local programming. This is especially critical today when the internet is full of unverified fake news that divides us and damages healthy debate and our democratic tradition.” Kim Trynacity, [...]

Link to the full Broadcasting news archive on CWA Canada

Offsite Insight

18.12.06 J-Source – When not to publish graphic images

18.11.15 Global News – CRTC won’t yet rescind order that lets Canadians watch U.S. Super Bowl ads

18.11.14 – Federal review of broadcasting and communications faces stiff headwinds

18.11.01 Financial Post – ‘It’s not a tax’: CRTC chair defends proposal for internet providers to contribute to Canadian content

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