Global News lays off unspecified number of staff in "significant" restructuring

TORONTO — Global News is cutting some of its workforce in what it describes as a "significant" restructuring.

The Canadian news organization owned by Corus Entertainment Inc. confirmed it has laid off staff in an email to The Canadian Press, but declined to provide exact numbers.

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Corus executive vice-president of broadcast networks Troy Reeb attributed the layoffs to challenges faced by the news industry in recent years, including regulatory restraints, a lack of government support, advertising losses and most recently, COVID-19.

An internal memo Reeb sent to staff says significant changes will take place at the company's network digital operations in Toronto and that Globalnews.ca will no longer support lifestyle, entertainment and social media teams.

Reeb says this will help the company shift back to its core mission of providing breaking news and fact-based journalism, while emphasizing video over social media feeds that have lesser benefits for Global.

Reeb says the company has tried to delay layoffs and programming cuts for as long as possible, but in its most recent quarter advertising revenues declined and the company's news and radio businesses are 100 per cent dependent on such income sources.

The job cuts highlight the need for immediate government action to ensure a future for Canadian journalism, said Unifor, a union that represents workers in the private sector, including the media, in a statement.

"We are saddened and disappointed that Corus elected to take this action in the midst of a pandemic," Simon Boniface, Unifor Media One president, said in the statement.

The job cuts, which include unionized and non-unionized editorial staff and workers at Global stations in Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver "will diminish Corus's ability to provide the information Canadians critically need right now," said Boniface.

The union called on the federal government to take action, including financing tax credits for TV news by legislating a national news fund with Google and Facebook as major contributors.

This story by The Canadian Press was first published on July 23, 2020

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