An internal memo was issued to employees on Thursday advising of major cuts to programming and some 4,800 jobs.
It's another hit to local journalism in communities across Canada as Bell Media, owner of stations like CTV, announces widespread layoffs and cancellation of programs across all platforms Thursday.
In an internal memo to employees, the company announced it is slashing multiple TV newscasts and making programming cuts following widespread layoffs and the sale of 45 of its 103 regional radio stations in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada. The memo also mentioned the end of weekday noon newscasts at all CTV stations excluding Toronto, and the elimination of 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts on weekends at all CTV and CTV2 stations except Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa. W5, on-the-air for 58 years, will transition from a standlone program to a "multi-platform investigative reporting unit." Bell is also discontinuing evening programs on CTV News Channel and reformatting BNN Bloomberg's weekday daytime programming.
Bell Media also intends to replace news correspondent and technician teams with "multi-skilled journalists" in certain regions. BCE Inc. announced a nine percent workforce reduction, affecting 4,800 jobs across the company. The layoffs mark the second major round since last spring, with six percent of Bell Media jobs cut previously.
Bell chief legal and regulatory officer Robert Malcolmson attributed the cuts to the media's shift toward digital transformation. He criticized the federal government for slow relief and urged immediate action, pointing to pending legislation, Bill C-18 and Bill C-11. The job losses are also linked to regulator direction on Bill C-11, and Bell is seeking immediate relief, proposing a fund where streamers subsidize local or national news.
When asked about the company's image amid ongoing cuts, Malcolmson highlighted a reduction in the executive team's size and frozen executive salaries in recent years.