You are here

Unifor calls for strong local multi-ethnic TV news

May 2, 2018

TORONTO - The union representing journalists and media workers at Rogers OMNI TV stations in Vancouver and Toronto is demanding the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) impose stringent conditions on any new multi-language news licencee.

“This special licencee must deliver great local news, and lots of it,” said Jake Moore, President, Unifor Local 79M and chair of Unifor’s Media Council.  “The next licence holder must earn its monthly cable fees.”

The third language programming licence comes with a rare, mandatory 12 cent monthly fee paid by all  subscribers. The fee is likely to rise to meet the CRTC’s expectations of reaching more third language communities including Mandarin, Cantonese, Punjabi, Spanish, Arabic, Tagalog and Italian.

Rogers is just one of eight applicants vying for the multi-ethnic television news service.

“Local news is essential to local democracy and that’s what matters to the nearly four million Canadians who potentially will be watching these newscasts,” said Moore.

Unifor is calling on the CRTC to impose a fair wage policy as a condition of licence. The current collective agreements between Unifor and the Rogers-owned OMNI stations in Vancouver and Toronto contain fair pay and working conditions. Unifor is also asking the CRTC to bar the winning applicant from contracting out to cheaper labour providers, as Rogers has done with Fairchild Media and its current Chinese language newscasts, creating an editorial monopoly in Chinese language news in Canada.

“If Rogers doesn’t retain the licence, the new broadcaster can’t be allowed to receive public money with a blank cheque to exploit media workers,” said Howard Law, Unifor’s Media Director.

The CRTC deadline for public interventions is May 17 and members of the public are encouraged to submit their views through the CRTC website.

For more information, please contact Unifor Atlantic Communications representative Natalie Clancy at natalie.clancy@unifor.org or (902) 478-9283 (cell).