May 20, 2024

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CBC getting $42-million in budget after warnings of job cuts

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CBC getting -million in budget after warnings of job cuts
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The CBC is gaining $42-million in the the 2024 federal budget, in addition to the $1.4-billion in public funding is is expected to receive.Laura Proctor/The Globe and Mail

The CBC is gaining $42-million in the budget to help support its programming after declining advertising and subscription revenues, and warnings last year of looming job cuts.

The public broadcaster signalled last December that it may have to cut 800 jobs to address a $125-million projected shortfall for the fiscal year.

Catherine Tait, chief executive officer and president of CBC/Radio-Canada, prompted an outcry when, on the day the broadcaster announced the possible job cuts, she told its newscast that it was too early to say if executive bonuses would be cut.

After the budget announcement Ms. Tait said the extra money was “welcome news.”

“This investment, together with the steps we have taken since December, means we will be able to stabilize our operations, preserve jobs and continue to invest in programs and services,” she said in a statement.

The budget money is on top of the CBC’s annual allocation from government. In 2024-25, CBC/Radio‑Canada is expected to get $1.4-billion in public funding, on top of its commercial revenue.

Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge has previously expressed concern about job cuts at the public broadcaster and other media organizations.

The budget also included $35-million over five years – starting this year – to support high-performance athletes through the Athlete Assistance Program. It would get an additional $7-million a year afterward.

The budget allocates an extra $16-million over two years to help support athletes, including those with concussions and mental-health issues, and to advance inclusion and diversity. The money would also be used to address and prevent maltreatment of athletes, from those participating in amateur sports to Olympians. An extra $15-million over two years, starting this year, would support community sport.

It proposes $11-million over two years to support a commission established last year to examine the future of sport in Canada, after the emergence of evidence and allegations of sexual abuse and unsafe environments in competitive sports.

The arts receive a cash injection, in addition to new funding already announced for Canada’s film and music industry.

The National Arts Centre, based in Ottawa, which supports 1,400 events across Canada, including ballet, classical music and musicals, gains $45-million over three years.

The Toronto International Film Festival gets $23-million over three years, which organizers said would help it launch an official marketplace along the lines of the European Film Market, which runs parallel to the Berlin Film Festival, or the Marché du Film at Cannes. “This is a milestone in the evolution of TIFF and underscores the organization’s essential role as a champion of the Canadian creative industry and its broader economic impact,” said Judy Lung, TIFF’s communication’s vice-president.

The Shaw Festival, one of Canada’s largest theatre organizations – which revealed it ran the largest single-season deficit in its history last year – gains $15-million in 2024-25.

The literary world also gets a boost with $10-million over three years, starting this year, for the Canada Book Fund to support Canadian authors and publishers.

Public interest programming gets a $15-million boost over two years, which would include funding for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.

Toronto’s non-profit cultural venue Harbourfront Centre, which has recently lost several leaders including its chief executive, and has struggled with deferred maintenance in the past few years, will receive $10-million for repairs over two years. In a report released in February, the federal government warned that the organization “does not yet have a sustainable operating foundation,” and noted the total value of deferred maintenance tops $100-million in the coming decades.

Harbourfront board president Tenio Evangelista called the budget announcement a “much-needed injection,” adding that “it doesn’t address our overall capital deficit over the next couple of years, but it’s a start.”

The Canada Arts Presentation Fund, which has received an $8-million annual boost since 2019 that was expected to end this year, will receive $31-million over two years. Many arts festival organizers had lamented the fund’s uncertainty in the tough postlockdown economy, including the Vancouver Fringe Festival, which told supporters this year that its future was uncertain as it reduced the festival size by a third.

“We’re incredibly grateful to the federal government for understanding the value of fringe festivals in Canada,” said Duncan Watts-Grant, the Vancouver Fringe’s executive director, said on Tuesday.

With a report from Barry Hertz

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s latest budget projects spending of $535 billion this year, with a deficit of $39.8 billion. She says the spending plan is aimed at creating generational fairness, which will be funded, in part, by changes to capital gains taxes. (April 16, 2024)

The Canadian Press

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