On the heels of Bell’s ‘Let’s Talk Day‘ mental health initiative, Bell Media cut over 200 jobs. Worse, job cuts came after Bell took over $120 million from the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program and increased dividend payouts to shareholders.
Although Bell Media hasn’t shared specific numbers on how many positions it cut, union representatives for Bell Media outlets placed the number at 210 in the GTA alone. Cartt.ca estimates the number is over 250, including executive positions and other layoffs that began in January.
The cuts impacted several news outlets across Canada, practically wiping out Toronto’s Newstalk 1010, Montreal’s CJAD 800 and several other local newsrooms. TSN also saw cuts, notably Dan O’Toole of SC with Jay and Dan.
On top of that, some claims have circulated on Twitter that Bell Media fired employees with automated robo conference calls.
The Star reports that members of parliament criticized the company for taking $122 million in CEWS. The program was meant to help businesses that saw a drop in revenue subsidize labour costs and avoid layoffs.
Along with increasing dividend payouts to shareholders, Bell Media’s parent company, Bell Corporate Enterprises (BCE), had $5.2 billion in available liquidity at the end of Q3 in 2020, 10 percent growth in internet revenue and four percent growth in year-to-date cash flow from operating activities.
It’s worth noting the cuts follow the appointment of Wade Oosterman as president of Bell Media in January.