New CRTC rules could cost 7,000 jobs by 2020: Report

Media unions caution regulatory changes could be costly
||Last Updated: 01/06/2016

Changes coming to the television industry could eliminate nearly 7,000 broadcasting jobs and 8,000 spinoff jobs by 2020, according to a report released this week.

Announced by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) last year, the new regulations — which would allow customers to unbundle cable packages and pay only for the channels they want — were also forecasted to cost the economy $1.4 billion by the year 2020, the report noted.

The 104-page report, Canadian Television 2020: Technological and Regulatory Impacts, was prepared by consulting firm Nordicity and communications lawyer Peter Miller for unions, including the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), the Canadian Media Guild (CMG) and Unifor.

“(The report) also forecasts the CRTC decisions will likely result in a $400 million annual drop in spending on Canadian programs by 2020 and accelerate the impact of technological change while weakening Canadian broadcasters,” said a joint statement from the unions.

Not only will customers be able to pick and pay only for individual channels, but cable companies will be required to offer basic packages with a $25 cap per month, as opposed to bigger bundles.

“This study shows that recent broadcast policy decisions are likely to create job losses and generate economic damage. The loss of high quality Canadian scripted programming will also result,” said Stephen Waddell, ACTRA’s national executive director.

“Implementing the CRTC’s policy proposals could mean thousands of hours of Canadian stories will never be produced. The tremors will be felt throughout the Canadian system from television to film to digital platforms,” he added.

Regulatory changes to the CRTC are slated to take effect in March.

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