Unifor is calling for amendments to Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act, directed specifically at preserving local news as employment levels in broadcasting decline.
Unifor Media Director Randy Kitt told the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications (TRCM) on Tuesday that Unifor wants C-11 amended to ensure the Broadcasting Act mandates the CRTC to support local news, including by “developing, financing, producing or promoting local news and information programming,” with the creation of a news fund.
“In 2014, the CRTC said we didn’t need to fund local news anymore because advertising is coming back. They got it wrong,” said Kitt in his testimony via Zoom.
“Since 2012, private conventional TV has been a big money loser nine years straight for both independent and big media companies. Those losses are made real to our members, between 2017 and 2021, employment in broadcasting decreased by 16%,” asserted Kitt.
“Bell, Rogers, Shaw and Quebecor are big player companies in Canadian broadcasting, but they are not so rich that the public should just assume they will continue to fund local news as they continue to lose money,” he added.
Unifor is proposing a $120 million broadcast relief fund, directed specifically at local news.
“This is a top of mind issue,” said Lana Payne, Unifor National President, in a release. “While tech platforms continue to profit – whether it’s displaying news stories without paying their fair share for them or limiting Canadian content – it impacts our media workers, who tirelessly report fact-based, accurate stories to the public.”
Unifor represents more than 10,000 media workers, including 5,000 members in the broadcast and film industries.
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