TORONTO, June 13, 2018 – Canada’s largest media union is alarmed to see Ontario’s only French public broadcaster, Télévision française de l’Ontario (TFO), cut programs and lay off 37 workers, including 11 Unifor members.
“Lack of provincial funding means the more than 600 thousand Ontario francophones will have fewer options to see Canadian programming, and our members are losing their jobs needlessly,” said Richard Paquin, Unifor National Representative.
TFO provides unique Canadian educational programming for children and adults in Ontario, but cable providers in Quebec, New Brunswick and Manitoba also carry it. The cuts include camera operators, editors, switcher directors, archivists, a purchaser, production assistant, props, and marketing staff represented by Unifor as well as journalists and non-union staff.
The broadcaster, which is owned by an Ontario Crown corporation relies heavily on funding from Ontario’s Ministry of Education, says it has not seen an increased in the last two years despite rising operating costs and declining cable revenues, so programs and people must be cut.
“We need the Ontario government to urgently review operational funding for TFO to maintain its critical Canadian cultural, political and social programming,” said Naureen Rivzi, Ontario Regional Director.
The union received this grim news while in bargaining trying to reach a new collective agreement for the 80 technical staff at TFO.
“These cuts will have a devastating impact on our members and on our francophone viewers who have limited options for local in their first language,” said Alfred St-Aubin, Vice President of local 72M which represents 80 technical staff at TFO.
Unifor is Canada’s largest media union representing 12,000 workers in the sector across Canada and a total of 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.