TORONTO, Jan. 13, 2016 /CNW/ - The CRTC's decision to sit on its hands
until sometime in 2017 instead of ordering Rogers to resume the local
news it promised to broadcast on its five ethnic television stations
ignores the importance of local news to those communities, said Kelly
Dobbs, the president of Unifor 723M, the union local representing OMNI
workers in Toronto. The CRTC said today
(http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2016/2016-8.htm) that it will only
deal with Rogers' May 2015 cancellation of all local news on its OMNI
stations in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto during the CRTC's
routine renewal of the stations, expected to begin later this year and
to end in mid-2017 - because it had no other way to hold Rogers to
account for its broken promises over local news.
"In January 2015 the CRTC recognized that 8 in 10 Canadians consider
local news important,1" Dobbs pointed out. "We agree - and that's why we asked the CRTC to at
least call Rogers to a public hearing to review its promises to provide
local news on the OMNI stations." Almost two thousand people supported
Unifor 723M's request that the CRTC call Rogers to an immediate public
hearing and hold it to account.
"Rogers cancelled the OMNI news last May and Unifor 723M asked the CRTC
to investigate on June 5th" added Angelo Contarin, Unifor 723M's Vice-President. He also said
that the CRTC's decision did not explain why it took seven months to
decide to ignore Rogers' cancellation of local ethnic news until 2017,
why the CRTC did not announce an immediate review of its ethnic
broadcasting policy when the cuts were made, or how the loss of local
ethnic television news serves the public interest in general and the
interests of ethnic communities in particular. Contarin also asked why
the CRTC transferred funding for a scheduled ethnic broadcasting
review, to its current community-local TV review, as noted by
Commissioner Raj Shoan in his minority opinion.
"It's clear to the members of our local that the CRTC has little, if
any, interest in strengthening employment opportunities in Canadian
broadcasting in general, or in ethnic television in particular," said
Rinaldo Boni, 723M's Vice-President of OMNI's production unit.
Canada's Broadcasting Act lists employment opportunities as one of Parliament's goals for
Canadian broadcasters. Boni noted that the CRTC's January 2015 policy
on local television recognized that local programming supports job
creation2 - but ignored its own data showing that private television stations
have shed more than 2,200 jobs since 2006. Rogers' May 2015
cancellations resulted in 110 layoffs at its OMNI stations, on top of
several hundred other layoffs at the stations from 2012 to 2014.
Dobbs is asking the Honourable Mélanie Joly, the Minister of Canadian
Heritage, to consider how today's decision by the CRTC meets the new
federal government's commitment to "economic growth, job creation, and
1 Over-the-air transmission of television signals and local programming, Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2015-24 (Ottawa, 29 January 2015),
http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2015/2015-24.htm, para. 21.
2 Ibid., at para. 5.
3 Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister, Minister of Canadian Heritage Mandate Letter (13 November 2015), http://pm.gc.ca/eng/minister-canadian-heritage-mandate-letter.
SOURCE UNIFOR LOCAL 723M
Image with caption: "UNIFOR LOCAL 723M (CNW Group/UNIFOR LOCAL 723M)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160113_C9777_PHOTO_EN_44607.jpg
For further information:
Contact: Angelo Contarin, Vice-President, 416.347.5379 (mobile) / 1.866.841.4446 (landline), Rogers Unit Local 723m, Toronto, firstname.lastname@example.org