General + Regulatory + Telecom + Media NewsUnifor stages 'Shame on Bell' rally in Ottawa

Unifor stages ‘Shame on Bell’ rally in Ottawa

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.

Unifor says the company’s systematic workforce reduction and relentless downsizing in its media business have come as shareholder dividend payouts ballooned from $0.03 to $0.9975 in Q4 2024, paying out $3.7 billion last year alone.

Further, Unifor takes issue with the number of government subsidies BCE has taken, including $122.9 million from the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) in 2020, while reporting net earnings of $2.7 billion that year and shareholder dividends of $3.16 billion, along with more than $338 million in broadband expansion funding.

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, along with most local noon and weekend newscasts.

“By slashing its newsrooms year after year Bell is leading an information retreat among all broadcasters, and creating TV and radio news deserts where there are few, if any, private sector journalists. Canadians are left asking, ‘where do we find the truth now?'” said Newman. “To keep cutting the Bell division devoted to the pursuit of truth amounts to capitulation to those adversaries who are trying to undermine our trust in truth, in one another, and in our peaceful society. This is the time to fortify our information defences, not tear them down.”

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Connie Thiessen
Connie Thiessen
Connie has worked coast-to-coast as a reporter, editor, anchor and host at CKNW and News 1130 in Vancouver, News 95.7 and CBC in Halifax, and CFCW Edmonton, among other stations. With a passion for music, film and community service, she led News 95.7 to a 2013 Atlantic Journalism Award and regional RTDNA award for Best Radio Newscast. More recently, she was nominated for Music Journalist of the Year at Canadian Music Week 2019. To report a typo or error please email -

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