Canuck B'casting Corp. spared budget chop

National Film Board of Canada, Telefilm Canada also spared

TORONTO -- The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) has dodged a bullet when it comes to program cuts by Ottawa, but will still have to fill a budget gap for possible salary increases.

That's the word from CBC president Hubert Lacroix in March 5 note to CBC staff where he said the latest federal budget spared the public broadcaster of any budget chops, even as an austerity-minded Ottawa looks to freeze and squeeze the public sector.

"As you may remember, we were asked to review the performance of all of our services and to identify 5% of our budget that could have been reallocated elsewhere by government," Lacroix told the CBC staff.

"After reviewing us, the government concluded that '...reallocations were not necessary as programs delivered by [CBC/Radio-Canada] are aligned with the priorities of Canadians,' " he reported.

The CBC last year cut jobs and sold off assets to fill a $171 million budget shortfall in 2009-10 that Ottawa refused to make up.

The National Film Board of Canada, the public filmmaker, and Telefilm Canada, Ottawa's film financier, were also spared budget cuts as part of the latest federal budget, but like the CBC received no new taxpayer funding.

And Ottawa told the CBC to freeze salary hikes for three years as a further budget cutting measure.

"It means that each organization will have to find its own way to manage the budget implications of this freeze. We will be studying what that means for us," Lacroix wrote.