Top executives at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) say they are considering options to manage the broadcaster’s financial pressures, including reviewing “senior executive compensation” following plans to cut it by 10 per cent. of the public broadcaster’s workforce.
CBC/Radio-Canada president Catherine Tait and seven vice-presidents issued a brief statement Friday after MPs of different political stripes expressed concerns about plans to cut 600 jobs and fail to fill 200 vacant positions over the next year.
“We are aware of the concerns expressed since the announcement of the cuts at CBC / Radio-Canada, and the questions about compensation, particularly performance-related compensation paid to senior management,” mentions the statement from senior executives.
“To clarify this point, we would like to point out that all possible measures, including those relating to executive compensation, are being examined in order to deal with the financial pressures that await us in the months to come,” declared the eight signatories.
Mme Tait announced the plans earlier in the week, saying the move was necessary to close a $125 million budget deficit.
As a Crown corporation, Radio-Canada operates independently of Parliament. It receives about $1 billion in federal funding each year.
But political leaders have expressed concern about the impact the job cuts will have on programming, particularly for French-language audiences, both in Quebec and outside the province.
Mme Tait attracted further criticism after telling the show The National from the CBC that it was “too early” to say whether executives would receive bonuses this year.
“It’s too early to say where we are this year,” replied M.me This is a question from host Adrienne Arsenault. We will review this, as we do with all of our positions, in the coming months. »
Following these remarks, CBC spokesperson Leon Mar clarified that the channel would not reconsider the bonuses it would have paid under existing contracts.
Documents disclosed as part of access to information requests show that between 2015 and last year, more than $99 million was paid in bonuses to employees of the public broadcaster, including $16 million paid to more than 1000 employees in 2022.
According to CBC, these payments are part of what it calls a “short-term incentive plan” intended to encourage employees to meet or exceed company goals.
In their statement Friday, senior executives said they are committed “to mitigating the effects of these cuts on our programming and services to Canadians, as well as our workforce.”
On Thursday, deputies of the parliamentary heritage committee voted for Mme Tait testified about the planned cuts and his position that the broadcaster had not ruled out paying bonuses.
Liberal, Conservative and NDP MPs on the committee all said they did not believe it would be appropriate for CBC executives to receive bonuses as the company considered downsizing its workforce.
As the House of Commons prepares to break for the holidays, Ms. Tait’s appearance is expected to take place in 2024.
With information from Mickey Djuric