Bell Media parent cutting 4,800 jobs, 45 radio stations

'This is a business that is going in the wrong direction': Bell chief legal officer

Bell Media parent cutting 4,800 jobs, 45 radio stations

BCE Inc., the parent company of Bell Media, is cutting 4,800 jobs from “all levels of the company”, including journalists, chief executive Mirko Bibic announced Thursday.

The company is also selling 45 of its 103 radio stations in B.C., Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada, CBC reported.

“That’s a significant divestiture,” said Bell chief legal and regulatory officer Robert Malcolmson in an interview with The Canadian Press. “It's because it's not a viable business anymore."

The layoff is the second in less than a year – in spring of 2023 Bell Media cut six percent of its workforce and nine radio stations.

Bell Media job cuts attributed to government and economy

In the letter, “Open letter: Adapting and moving forward”, Bibic mentioned the company’s “strong progress in several initiatives” such as digital app Crave, and stated he was “proud and humbled by the team’s dedication and unwavering commitment to supporting our customers.”

He goes on to clearly blame the economy and recent government regulatory decisions for the cuts.

In particular he pointed to multiple CRTC decisions and other recent policy and legislation adopted in efforts to support Canada’s media industry.

Legislation such as the Online News Act, and the Broadcasting Act, requiring digital platforms to promote Canadian content, had hobbled Bell’s business in a time of crisis, Bibic wrote.

Bell will cut jobs through attrition first

“While our transformation allows us to be faster and more agile, it also requires us to move away from highly regulated parts of the business to new growth areas – and to align our costs to the revenue potential of each business segment. This means organizational changes for our team and streamlining where we can, while finding ways to free up capital and resources to invest in new areas and to better serve our customers,” Bibic wrote.

“I wanted everyone to hear from me directly about these changes. Respect and transparency throughout the process is important. Over the coming weeks, we will implement significant reductions on our team at all levels of the company, reducing our workforce by approximately 4,800 positions, representing 9% of our workforce.”

The organization will continue to hire and invest in growth areas, Bibic stated, and wherever possible, natural attrition and job vacancies would be used to fulfill the reduction, “to minimize the impact on our team.”

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