Today we are moving ahead with the implementation of our plan to be more local at lower cost, announced last year in the 2020 plan. That means we are also sharing difficult news with our local teams about job reductions in local stations. We announced last summer these reductions were coming but it doesn’t make the details any easier to hear. We said in June we would need to reduce the annual operating cost of local services by $15 million. Today we know that means we will have 144 fewer positions across the country. The actual people impacts will be higher in some instances as we shift the nature of the positions we have moving forward.
These are large numbers because local is a large part of what we do. Going forward we will still have more than 1,100 people in 29 stations across the country, plus our service in the North.
Here are the reductions across the country, per province:
Newfoundland & Labrador 7 positions
Nova Scotia 11 positions
Prince Edward Island 2 positions
New Brunswick 4 positions
Quebec 9 positions
Ontario 30 positions
Manitoba 3 positions
Saskatchewan 11 positions
Alberta 37 positions
British Columbia 25 positions
The North 5 positions
Given the financial target we needed to meet, these reductions were worked out by the senior leadership team for News and Centres including the senior managing directors for each region. The resulting local business plans have been finalized this week.
We deliberately did not apply an across-the-board percentage cut, nor did we identify particular activities. Instead we re-thought our delivery of local services from the ground up. We started with some basics. No stations are being closed. All local radio programming is being maintained. As we told you last December, our local TV news is being reduced from 90 minutes to either 30 or 60 minutes. We will be adding one-minute hourly news updates in the television schedule and introducing a continuous local news service on mobile to better serve audiences migrating to digital. We’ll be supporting our new mobile offer with an investment in 80 new digital jobs. It’s a significant change in our delivery of local news and information — perhaps the largest transformation ever undertaken by CBC in local.
While local services will be smaller overall, the relative size of each region remains the same as it is today. The west (BC and Alberta) still has the largest number of employees in the country, followed by the central region (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, the North) the Atlantic region (Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island), Ontario, and Quebec. Our colleagues in French Services are going through the same process.
I know seeing a reduction in our staff is troubling for everyone. There will be some difficult days as discussions begin with the individuals directly affected. We will do everything we can to minimize the impact with planned retirements and unfilled vacancies. We are working to identify changes that will reduce workload. You have my commitment to keep you informed at each key stage along the way.
Thank you for your continued hard work and dedication.
General Manager and Editor in Chief,
CBC News and Centres