CTRC fiddling as ethnic TV burns?

Melanie Joly By Gerald V. Paul
Melanie Joly
By Gerald V. Paul

The CRTC decision to sit on its hands until sometime in 2017 instead of ordering Rogers to resume the local news it promised to broadcast on its five ethnic TV stations ignores the importance of local news to those communities, said Kelly Dobbs, president of Unifor 723M, the union local representing OMNI workers in Toronto.
Dobbs is asking Melanie Joly, the minister of Canadian heritage, to consider how yesterday’s decision by the CRTC meets the new federal government’s commitment to “economic growth, job creation and broad-based prosperity.”
The CRTC said that it will only deal with Rogers’ May 2015 cancellation of all local news on its OMNI stations in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary during the CRTC’s routine renewal of the stations, expected to begin later this year and to end in mid 2017.
It said that’s because it had no other way to hold Rogers to account for its broken promises over local news.
“In January 2015 the CRTC recognized that eight in 10 Canadians consider local news important. We agree – and that’s why we asked the CRTC to at least call Rogers to a public hearing to review its promises to provide local news on the OMNI stations,” Dobbs said.
Almost two thousand people supported Unifor 723M’s request that the CRTC call Rogers to an immediate public hearing and hold it to account.
It’s clear to members of our local that the CRTC has little, if any, interest in strengthening employment opportunities in Canadian broadcasting in general, or in ethnic television in particular,” said Renaldo Boni, 723M’s vice-president for OMNI’s production unit.
Canada’s Broadcasting Act lists employment opportunities as one of Parliament’s goals for Canadian broadcasters.
Rogers’ May 2015 cancellations resulted in 110 layoffs at its OMNI stations, on top of several hundred other layoffs at the stations from 2012 to 2014.