Educational broadcaster SCN to close

Shuttering expected to save $5 mil, end 35 jobs

TORONTO -- A cash-strapped Saskatchewan provincial government is to axe the educational broadcaster Saskatchewan Communications Network Corp. (SCN).

"SCN's viewership is quite low, and we feel that there is no longer a role for government in the broadcast business," provincial culture and sport minister Dustin Duncan said as he unveiled his 2010 fiscal budget.

Closing SCN should secure around $5 million in annual savings, the province said.

Most Canadian provinces maintain their own publicly-funded educational broadcasters. The Alberta government in 1995 sold its education network Access Alberta to then broadcaster CHUM Ltd.

And the Ontario government has periodically explored the privatization of TVOntario, North America's largest educational broadcaster, but has stepped back each time to avoid a public backlash.

Shuttering SCN will mean the loss of around 35 jobs.