Union Response to OMNI cuts

News Release


May 30, 2013

Rogers reduces multicultural programming in Vancouver

In response to the news today that Rogers plans to reduce local programming at OMNI television in Vancouver, local Union president Stephen Hawkins said:

“I’m very disappointed to hear of Rogers’ decision to reduce its local Cantonese and Mandarin news broadcasts to simple 5 minute updates at the top of a Toronto based national news program”.

“This is devastating news for the 12 members who have received notice of layoff. It is the second round of layoffs at OMNI within the past six months.”

“This decision sends a very different message than the one Rogers delivered to the CRTC back in 2008, when they acquired Channel M for $60 million from a group of local business owners”.

Rogers announced plans today to:

Layoff 9 editorial employees who worked on OMNI’s Vancouver based Cantonese and Mandarin news broadcasts.

Layoff 3 full time operations employees who worked on OMNI programming.

For More information contact: Stephen Hawkins  604-317-2312 president@unifor830m.ca

Media Release from CEP’s VP of Media, Peter Murdoch

Rogers reneges on commitments to ethnic communities by cuts to OMNI TV

OTTAWA, May 30, 2013 /CNW/ – Rogers’ decision to reduce or eliminate programming from its OMNI TV stations and its specialty services flies in the face of its commitments to Canadians and the CRTC, says Canada’s media union, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.

“Instead of investing some of the $12 billion it earned last year, Rogers has reduced news to and for a variety of ethnic communities, and is closing City News Channel, the news channel it just launched to serve Toronto,” says Peter Murdoch CEP’s Vice-President, Media.

The CRTC licensed the OMNI TV stations to meet Canadians’ strong demand for linguistic diversity and greater understanding among people with different cultural backgrounds.  In 2009, Rogers announced it had established ‘a viable and successful business model for ethnic television’.  It said it needed – and subsequently received – more regulatory flexibility to ensure the highest possible level of service to its audiences.

“Taking news and information from ethnic communities in Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton and Calgary flies in the face of Rogers’ promises to the CRTC and Canadians,” says Murdoch.  “It shows that caving in to never-ending demands from broadcasters like Rogers for less regulation does not increase and improve programming for Canadians, but reduces and weakens it.  Even worse, it kills jobs and shuts the door on young people looking for work in the media.”

With interests in TV, radio, cable, the internet and magazines, Rogers is one of Canada’s largest media companies, reporting an operating profit margin of 39% in 2012.

“How does a regulatory framework that lets large and very profitable broadcasters kill programming and jobs whenever they like serve Canadians’ interests? ” demands Murdoch. “Why are Canadians the price for companies that profit so enormously from the broadcasting system while putting back so little?”


For further information:

Peter Murdoch (905) 516-5720