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Regulatory, Telecom & Media News – Unifor stages ‘Shame on Bell’ rally in Ottawa

Unifor’s Shame on Bell rally in Ottawa on Tuesday, March 19. (CNW Group/Unifor)

Unifor rallied in Ottawa on Tuesday, calling out Bell Canada (BCE) for postponing a scheduled appearance before the House of Commons Heritage Committee a second time, to answer for the recent termination of 9% of its workforce. The union represents more than 19,000 telecommunications workers at BCE and its subsidiaries and more than 2,100 members at Bell Media. Roughly 800 of the 4,800 jobs the company announced it was eliminating in February are Unifor members. Bell executives, including CEO Mirko Bibic, Chief Financial Officer Curtis Millen, and Bell Media President Sean Cohan, were among those invited to appear before the committee, initially scheduled for Feb. 29 and then postponed to March 19. Among those who appeared at a press conference on Parliament Hill in support of Unifor’s Shame on Bell campaign was Kevin Newman, the former host and managing editor of CTV’s W5. The long-running investigative news program was among the casualties of February’s programming changes. Read more here.

George Stroumboulopoulos

George Stroumboulopoulos headlines a newly-announced list of speakers set to address the 74th BC Association of Broadcasters (BCAB) Conference, May 6-7, at the River Rock Hotel Resort in Richmond. Stroumboulopoulos, currently the host of STROMBO on Apple Music Hits, was recently named to the Order of Canada. Additionally, Sean Ross, the broadcast industry researcher and consultant behind music and programming newsletter Ross On Radio, is slated to speak at this year’s conference. Read more here.

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau has been announced as the keynote speaker for The Hollywood Reporter Women in Entertainment Canada event, slated for May 30 at the Park Hyatt Toronto. The appearance comes on the heels of the release of her first book, Closer Together: Knowing Ourselves, Loving Each Other, which includes personal anecdotes from her career as a speaker and television host, and her time as the “de facto ‘first lady.’” Following the keynote interview, Grégoire Trudeau will take part in a book signing for delegates.

The Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma has announced the finalists for the 2023 Mindset Awards for Mental Health Reporting. The Mindset Award for Reporting on Workplace Mental Health finalists include: Jana Pruden (with Kasia Mychajlowycz) for “Helen in Hell” from Globe and Mail podcast series In Her Defence; Jeremy Hainsworth in Vancouver is Awesome for five-part series Existential crisis: There’s a mental health problem in B.C.’s courts; and Odette Auger in Windspeaker for Ask water to help you cope with anger.” The juries’ choices will be announced in April and celebrated at a luncheon May 31 at the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) national conference in Toronto. Winners will discuss their work with special guest Kevin Newman.

(l-r): Odette Auger, Jaclyn Hall and Savannah Ridley.

Jaclyn Hall, Odette Auger and Savannah Ridley are the recipients of this year’s CJF-CBC Indigenous Journalism Fellowships. The award provides three early-career Indigenous journalists with the opportunity to explore issues of interest while being hosted for one month at the CBC News Indigenous Unit in Winnipeg. Hall, a self-taught journalist from Akwesasne, plans to use her time at CBC to cover the ongoing impacts of Indian Day Schools on survivors and communities. Auger, a freelance Sagamok Anishnawbek journalist currently living on the west coast, impressed jurors with a pitch on exploring patterns of colonial misogyny with voices from women chiefs and elders. Ridley, a student journalist currently studying at Toronto Metropolitan University, is reconnecting with her community in the Turtle Tribe of the Seneca proposing a feature on the effects of “pretendian” unmaskings on Indigenous people reconnecting with their cultures.

World Press Freedom Canada (WPFC) has announced American journalist Margaret Sullivan as the keynote speaker for the 2024 Press Freedom Awards luncheon to be held at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre on May 2. Sullivan is an award-winning political columnist for the Guardian U.S. newspaper, executive director of Columbia University’s Newmark Center for Journalism Ethics and Security, and a former media columnist for The Washington Post. WPFC awards are open to nominations until March 22.

Bell installs aerial alarms on its network to help fight copper theft. (CNW Group/Bell Canada)

Bell has made security enhancements to its network, including the installation of aerial alarms, to protect critical communications infrastructure from vandalism, primarily in the form of copper theft. With nearly 1,000 physical security incidents to Bell’s network since 2022, copper theft continues to increase. The most impacted regions include Ontario with 55% of incidents, New Brunswick (23%) and Québec (14%). On Feb. 26, an aerial alarm in Fredericton successfully notified local RCMP of a cable cut. They quickly dispatched and arrested two suspects with charges are still being finalized.

Cogeco Communications has announced that Breezeline, its U.S. business unit offering broadband services in 13 states, will be adding mobile phone services to its product offering. Breezeline Mobile will be available to Breezeline broadband customers starting this spring through a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) agreement with what Cogeco says is “an industry-leading mobile network.”

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