PEMBROKE, ON/CNW/ – Unifor is urging the federal government to speed up policy measures to save Canada’s newspaper industry after Postmedia announced it will stop printing eight weekly newspapers and one daily in Ontario, Alberta and Manitoba.
“How many more community newspapers have to vanish before this government realizes we are running out of time to save local news,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.
Postmedia is also slashing 10 per cent of its workforce across the entire newspaper chain which means some workers will be laid off while others are being offered buyout packages. Canada’s newspaper industry is hemorrhaging as advertising dollars once spent in local newspapers are siphoned out of the country by foreign tech giants such as Facebook and Google, tax free.
Postmedia will stop printing the Camrose Canadian, Strathmore Standard, Kapuskasing Northern Times, Ingersoll Times, Norwich Gazette, Petrolia Topic, Northern News, The Graphic, and the Pembroke Daily Observer.
Workers in Pembroke were told the daily paper will stop publishing July 28.
“We have asked the federal government to help newspapers transition to new and economically sustainable ways to deliver local news but have been met with essentially empty platitudes,” Local 87-M President Paul Morse said. “Now, another historic Canadian newspaper will die, and proud Pembroke will face the threat of becoming a local news desert.”
Today’s cuts come on the heels of 36 community papers shutting down in a controversial Postmedia Torstar swap in November. Postmedia already slashed 20 per cent of its newspaper workforce in 2016.
In June of 2017 the Parliamentary Heritage Committee urged the federal government to expand tax measures to make advertising in Canadian newspapers more attractive as well as adopt the American model of tax-free endowments for journalism. Unifor has also urged the federal government to consider a news tax credit to entice more readers to buy subscriptions.
Unifor represents journalists and media workers at the Vancouver Sun & Province, Winnipeg Sun, Toronto Sun, London Free Press, the Windsor Star and several other dailies in Ontario and is Canada’s largest media union with 12,000 workers across Canada. 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.