Launches human rights complaint
By Stephen Weir
Say it ain’t so Patricia Jaggernauth! Say it ain’t so! Toronto’s TV world got a shock last week with the announcement that the community’s favourite weather announcer had just quit, and the details aren’t pretty.
The 40-year-old Caribbean Canadian journalist worked as a weather specialist a fill-in host of the CP24 morning show. The Emmy award winner also hosted lifestyle and celebrity talk series, Patricia J Show on Bell Fibe TV1. She was also a staple at the best of the best Caribbean events in the city appearing on behalf of the station. With Jamaican and Guyanese parents, she was raised in Scarborough and is Caribbean to the bone.
She was a fixture reporting from Caribbean Carnival events including the Grand Parade. Jaggernauth was so much a part of the parade she actually volunteered to put on the feathers and sequins and was the showstopper at a late night costume launch. This reporter, while working for the Caribbean Carnival asked her to interview Justin Trudeau live on CP24 that same year. He was running for the Liberal leadership and didn’t know much about the Kiddie Carnival – Jaggernauth got him through it with flying colours.
The 40-year-old journalist worked as a weather specialist and sometimes host of the CP24 morning show for almost 12 years. Quitting was the last thing her loyal fans thought she would ever do.
It was one shocker after another. The day after pulling the plug she made a formal complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission that race played a part in her being passed over for promotions and never being offered a full-time job. She also complained to the CHRC that she was prevented from earning a living wage after Bell Media (the owners of CP24) prohibited the Caribbean Canadian freelancer from pursuing broadcast opportunities without their prior approval.
In a tearful two-part announcement Jaggernauth said that there is a racist and toxic environment at the Toronto all-news station. “Where are the Black individuals on this (CP24 morning-show)?
When there was a black person on the show it was just like me, filling in on Toronto’s Number One TV show”
“I asked. I begged them to use me,” she continued. “Good enough to fill-in, but not enough to invest in. All the Black people you see on CP24’s morning show are fill ins.”
Jaggernauth did give an exclusive interview to the CBC (the Camera has been promised an upcoming interview too) “How many times when you go up for a position when you’re overqualified are you then told ‘you are the very fabric that makes this place what it is,’ but we’re going in a different direction,’” Jaggernauth said.
Make no mistake about it, she is a qualified TV journalist with 20 years of on-air experience. She is a 2006 Seneca College Broadcast Journalism grad, who started her career at Toronto’s first Black radio station Flow 93.5. She has worked on Canadian Idol, and ET Canada. She won her hosting Emmy in 2008 for Best Interactive Digital Cable Channel. She was on the Global TV game show Brain Battle, and Citytv’s NiteLife TV.
She has been a never-wavering positive force on CP-24. Always cheerful, always smiling. But as we have now found out, the lack of a steady income and health benefits, have taken their toll. She has recently been sick, off-work for three-months without benefits. A break down on camera was just about the last straw.
“I was not fired. I was not let go or laid off, “she said on Instagram.” This was a dream job guys. Now is my time to stand up for all women in media.”
She is not the only CTV announcer or host to launch action against Bell Media. Black radio talk show host Jamil Jivani has launched one as well saying, according to the Broadcast Magazine website, “he didn’t fit a stereotype that Bell thought a member of the Black community should conform to.” E-Talk former co-host Danielle Graham is asking for $1.2 million because of gender discrimination. And, of course the stink of the loss of National News senior anchor Lisa LaFlamme won’t go away.
Regardless of whether Patricia Jaggernauth will come out on top with her Human Rights suit, the question is: will she reappear on another Toronto television outlet soon?
“If her claims are true, then more power to her,” posted the moderator of SWONY.net the broadcast insider’s chat board. “My concerns for her future, however, would be in her next job in broadcasting. Unless she can definitively prove her claims (and even then) I can’t help but wonder what other station or organization would hire her. “