Unifor strongly opposes Bell Media’s application to the CRTC to eliminate all regulatory requirements for local news at all of its CTV, CTV2 and Noovo stations across Canada. We will do everything in our power to ensure that Bell Media continues to live up to its legislated obligations to fund and create local news and programming.
Local news is essential to a healthy democracy, and protecting and promoting the creation of Canadian cultural content and local programming is a fundamental principle for Canadian media policy and legislation. If approved, Bell Media’s outrageous and misguided scheme would deprive the Canadian public of vital local news and programming, while putting hundreds of highly-trained and professional journalists out of work.
The funding model that supported local news and programming for decades has collapsed, and it is clear that broadcasters and news outlets need a new policy framework that will deliver sustainable and ongoing funding. The federal government and the CRTC are moving ahead with the Online Streaming Act (Bill C-11) and the Online News Act (C-18), which will deliver new revenue streams for domestic broadcasters and news outlets.
After years of waiting for much-needed reforms, we are on the cusp of a new deal for domestic broadcasters and local news outlets. Bell Media’s application to the CRTC is premature, and a slight to the many organizations and individuals who have worked hard to build a viable path forward local news and programming in Canada.
Our union will be filing a formal response with the CRTC in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, we call on BCE and Bell Media to rescind these applications and recommit to providing professional, high quality local news and programming for communities across the country.
BCE’s application was filed on June 14th, the same day that BCE Inc. announced it was laying off 1,300 workers (3% of BCE’s workforce), including 340 layoffs within Bell Media (6% of that division’s workforce), plus the shuttering six AM radio stations, and the closure or scaling back of three foreign bureaus.