Canadian Government Slashes CBC Spending With Federal Budget

The feds imposed escalating cuts on the public broadcaster, Telefilm Canada and the National Film Board of Canada as European-style austerity grips the country.

TORONTO – The Canadian government is to slash the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.’s taxpayer subsidy by $115 million over three years.

As European-style austerity comes to Canada, the public broadcaster faces gradual chops as Ottawa looks for cost savings in its latest federal budget released on Thursday.

The CBC faces a $27.8 million cut in its annual taxpayer subsidy in 2012-2013, a chop that grows to $69.6 million in 2013-14 and then $115 million for 2014-2015 and onwards.

The three-year $115 million cut represents around 10% of its current annual $1.1 billion subsidy from Ottawa.

The budgetary chop will mean job cuts at the unionized public broadcaster, which can be costly when factoring in severance pay-outs.

“CBC/Radio-Canada will review its approach for dealing with this reduction in a way that doesn’t overly compromise its strategy for the future, 2015: Everyone, Every way,” the CBC said Thursday in a statement following the unveiling of the federal budget.

The CBC cuts will also impact on-air programming, most of which is commissioned from the indie production sector.

“It’s going to have an impact on jobs there. What will be impacted more significantly is the opportunity to make a contribution to license fees for independent production,” Stephen Waddell, national executive director of ACTRA, the actors union, said Thursday.

Ottawa also signaled escalating cuts over the next three years for Telefilm Canada, the federal government’s film financier, and the National Film Board of Canada, the publicly-funded filmmaker.