CBC which faces a $171m shortfall for 2009/10 will sell assets worth $125m and lay off 800 people, representing approximately 10% of its workforce. These measure will impact on programming from drama and news to current affairs as well as music and special event shows. Regional radio and TV programming will also be reduced.
The layoffs are expected to begin shortly and will be concluded by the end of September.
"In a company where 60% of the overall budget goes to salaries, it’s simply impossible to bridge a gap of this magnitude without having a major impact on people," said president and CEO Hubert Lacroix, addressing staff.
Whose jobs will be cut is still to be clarified and the CBC hopes that the early retirement programme will reduce the number of job cuts.
The CBC’s commercial rivals, CTVglobemedia and Canwest, have laid off roughly 230 and 560 employees, respectively, since November.
Lise Lareau, national president of the Canadian Media Guild, which represents some 4,500 CBC employees, condemned the federal government for not giving the public broadcaster a loan.
It remains to be seen whether the South African public broadcaster SABC, which faces a deficit of R800m, will be able to honour its commitment expressed recently not to cut jobs. The SABC may have to be bailed out by government for that not to happen.