Bell Media plans to cut 380 jobs in Toronto, Montreal hit local news hard: union

TORONTO – Hundreds of job cuts planned at Bell Media have union officials worried about the future of CTV’s local news operations.

A majority of the 380 cuts announced to Bell Media’s staff in Toronto and Montreal late Thursday are production and editorial positions.

It’s the latest round of layoffs at the broadcaster which has been pulling back on its TV staff over the past year and a half.

“We’re bare to the bone as it is, and of course it impacts our coverage, and we’re absolutely worried,” said Susan Lea, the president of Unifor Local 614M in Montreal, on Friday.

In Montreal, 110 jobs will be cut: 70 in production and editorial, 45 in sales and marketing and five in administration.

In Toronto, 270 jobs will be cut: 220 in production and editorial, 45 in sales and marketing and five in administration, Unifor said.

A spokesman for Bell Media, which is owned by parent company BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE), declined to comment on details of the notifications except to confirm that more than 50 positions will be eliminated in each city.

Bell Media has vast media holdings in Toronto including CTV, the CP24 cable news channel and Business News Network. Last year, it laid off 91 employees from its production staff with the brunt of the losses hitting music channels Much, MTV and M3.

On Thursday, BCE said in its latest quarterly report that Bell Media division had an adjusted profit of $183 million, up about $1 million last year. Revenues at Bell Media grew 4.1 per cent to $692 million, helped by better sales with advertisers and increased subscriber revenues from CraveTV, its streaming video service which competes with Netflix and Shomi.

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