TORONTO, Dec. 5, 2013 /CNW/ - Unifor, the union representing staff at
most of Canada's private television stations, applauded today's
decision by the CRTC to call the five OMNI TV stations licensed to
Rogers Broadcasting Ltd to an early public hearing to account for deep
cuts to OMNI's ethnic programming announced in late May 2013.
Between April 2012 and May 2013 Rogers cancelled 25 ethnic news and
information programs, representing 31.5 hours of first-run programming,
and laid off more than 60 staff from the OMNI stations, including
reporters and program hosts, many of whom are represented by Unifor,
Canada's newest union.
The CRTC ruled however that Rogers' programming cuts to Chinese, Polish,
Punjabi, Tamil, Italian, Portuguese and other ethnic local shows did
not technically violate minimum license requirements at the five OMNI
stations in Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton and Calgary.
However the CRTC immediately cut short these licenses due to expire in
August 2015 by one year and in a public hearing will force Rogers to
address the Commission's "concerns" at the "apparent lack of local
programming on some of the OMNI television stations." The early license
renewal for the OMNI stations will be folded into Rogers' group license
renewal for its national chain of City TV stations next August.
"Thanks to Unifor and all the community interveners raising this issue,"
said Howard Law, Unifor's Media Sector Director. "Rogers is now on the
spot. Rogers will obviously have to deliver better and binding
commitments to local programming at the OMNI stations if it wants to
get its City TV licenses renewed."
In its ruling the CRTC expressed frustration at not being able to tell
from Rogers' programming logs how much was original broadcasting, and
how much was just repeats. It noted however that the current OMNI terms
of license on minimum local programming included repeats in the
But the Commission also noted that Rogers might be violating the CRTC
Ethnic Broadcasting policy on the level of local programming, even if
it was meeting its minimum license requirements.
Unifor was formed Labour Day weekend with the merger of the Canadian
Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union. It
represents more than 300,000 workers across Canada, including
representing 15,000 employees in broadcasting and other media
The CRTC decision 2013-657 can be accessed on-line at: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/whatsnew.htm
For further information:
Please contact Howard Law, Director, Media Sector 416-456-1875.