CFM comments on the impact of CBC Budgetary Cuts for Music Services

For Immediate Release - Toronto, May 10, 2012

Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM) has been engaged in talks with CBC English Services and SRC French Services about the impact the recent cuts to the broadcaster’s budget will have on issues of common interest.  With the music budget being drastically reduced across the board these cuts will have a profound effect on all musicians coast to coast.  In St. John’s, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary and Edmonton, a number of Recording Engineer positions have been eliminated, Recording Studios have been decommissioned, and audio mobiles will be sold.  The recording centres remaining, but with reduced staff, are Halifax, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

“Canadians can place the blame for this blow to our culture and heritage solely at the feet of the Harper administration”, said Alan Willaert, CEO of the CFM and Vice-President from Canada of the American Federation of Musicians.  “Just like the impudence the majority PC government showed in their treatment of creators in bill C-11, which if passed will go down in this country’s history as the greatest expropriation of musicians’ rights ever, they now expect the CBC to deliver on its mandate to Canadians on one fifth (1/5) the budget that the BBC has in Britain.  But we are also critical of CBC upper management in the way in which they’ve handled the reductions.  It seems they are abandoning uniquely Canadian programming in favour of being just another news network.”

CBC English Services has confirmed BOLD TV is being sold and all Radio Drama is to be cancelled.  Concert Recordings will drop from 319 recordings per year to 100-150 recordings per year, this includes all genres, including orchestral. Orchestral Remotes will be reduced by 50% with the focus being on the recording of signature events.

The weekly music show and the four night-a-week festival will be cancelled by SRC French Services.  Summer remotes will be reduced by 75% and orchestral remotes will be reduced by 50%.  While there are no music staff reductions anticipated in French Services in year one, a one million dollar reduction in expenditures over the next 3 years is expected, with over 1/3 of the cuts in the first year.  Up to 650 full-time equivalents will be affected over the next three years, with 475 departures taking place in the first year, and 13 positions within music services specifically.  

The Canadian Federation of Musicians is certified under federal Status of the Artist legislation as the only bargaining representative of ALL musicians in Canada, and is therefore the singular entity with which the CBC deals with when contracting musicians.

Moving forward CBC has stated they will maintain their commitment to record live music, and negotiations toward a successor agreement between the CFM and CBC are taking place.  In addition, the regional music budgets for English Services will also be maintained in year one and applications to the CRTC for commercialization of Radio 2 and Espace Musique have been submitted.

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