Job Cuts All Around At CBC And NFB

CBC network, National Film Board plan major cutbacks.

Jennifer Coxby Jennifer Cox

With the recent release of the federal budget (and hence cuts that were made), Canadian entertainment companies are starting to trim jobs to stay in line with their new (lower) budget constraints.

The CBC and National Film Board will be cutting hundreds of jobs as well as programs, the two organizations announced. Kirstine Stewart, executive vice-president of the CBC, English Services, said $43 million worth of programming will have to be cut out of the English Services budget, meaning that some current shows in prime time will have to be cancelled and that viewers can expect more repeats.

We've made "gut-wrenching choices," CBC president and CEO Hubert T. Lacroix said during a town hall meeting for CBC employees (as reported by the CBC). Lacroix said the Corporation expects to eliminate 650 jobs over three years, including 475 this fiscal year. He said 60 per cent of the budget goes toward salary and that it would be impossible to take a hit of this magnitude and not affect jobs. Nearly 10,000 people are currently employed full time at the CBC.

"We will be making less Canadian content," Stewart said, adding that more details will be released next Tuesday. "It will be more the traditional prime-time schedule that we have in place on CBC television."

At the same time, the National Film Board has stated that 61 jobs will be cut from their organization and they will also close their viewing rooms in Montreal and Toronto in order to comply with a $6.68 million cut over three years. “This has not been an easy task. We have had to make tough choices," Tom Perlmutter, chair of the NFB, said in the press release. "We needed to ensure the long-term viability of the NFB by maintaining our ability to innovate in the creation and distribution of works that cannot be done elsewhere, continuing to serve the public in ways that add to the rich cultural fabric of our country, and sustaining our global leadership in the digital sphere."