By The Canadian Press
TORONTO — The union representing staff at CTV News said restructuring announced on Thursday has impacted jobs at stations in at least five provinces, and will result in a net reduction of staffing.
Unifor says the stations affected by restructuring include the CTV1 stations in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.
The union, which represents local television staff across the media chain, said in a release that CTV News’ parent company Bell Media has told journalists and field technicians to expect a mix of retraining, layoffs and new “digital” jobs.
A spokesman for CTV News said Thursday that it is “expanding our digital news presence with new hires nationally and significant investment in training and equipment.”
This “significant project” will require enhanced training as well as job reclassifications for some members of the news team, said Scott Henderson, vice president of communications for Bell Media.
“While we will be creating a substantial number of new digital news positions, some traditional roles may be impacted by the changes,” he said in an emailed statement. “We cannot yet offer a specific number of how many, if any, departures may result.”
Unifor National President Jerry Dias said retooling local news for the digital world is “necessary” and is “hopefully, a successful business plan.”
He added that local television is being “starved” for advertising revenues and anything that brings in more viewers and ad revenue is “welcome.”
However, Dias said Unifor has told Bell Media that the restructuring cannot leave media workers out in the cold, stressing it has a responsibility to guide news staff through the technological changes.
“We are going to ensure no media worker is left behind,” he said in a statement. “Bell knows us pretty well and they know we mean it.”