'Someone should be held accountable': LaFlamme's exit from CTV sparks internal investigation, petition for her return

Reinstate Lisa LaFlamme as Chief Anchor at CTV News petition

The trajectory of CTV's former lead anchor, Lisa LaFlamme's dismissal from the network has led to loud feedback from viewers and now an internal investigation into how it was all handled.

Earlier this week, the veteran journalist took to her social media to inform her followers that her contract with CTV was not renewed, despite having two years left. She described being “blindsided” by the decision, which was described by the network as a “business decision” sparked by “changing viewer habits”.

Many on social media were outraged by the move, describing it as sexist and ageist. There are reports of conversation around LaFlamme’s decision to go gray, with some wondering if that was part of her exit from the network. A petition on Change.org has since been launched to reinstate LaFlamme back to her former job.

Bell Media, the parent company of the network, has since put out a statement saying they regret the way the situation was handled and they take the accusations around it very seriously. They added that an independent, third-party internal workplace review will be taking place in the near future.

Anil Verma is a professor emeritus of industrial relations and HR management with the University of Toronto. He says Bell Media appears to be in damage control at the moment because they know they’ve done damage to themselves.

“I don’t think it went well for them, in fact it went badly,” he tells Yahoo Canada News.

He’s unsure whether CTV was within their legal right to not renew LaFlamme’s contract if she wasn’t needed, saying it could be a matter of personalities clashing. However, a number of people were likely involved with the final decision and still managed to handle it poorly.

“You can’t argue that she wasn’t doing her job properly, that wouldn't stand in front of an arbitrator,” he says. “She could justly sue CTV and win a big settlement because she has lots of evidence to show that performance on the job wasn’t an issue and she was fired for reasons unrelated to her ability to do the job.”

When it comes to proving the allegations of ageism and sexism, Verma says that would be more of a challenge to prove, as you’d have to demonstrate there was a systemic issue of demoting women at the network.

Still, he points out that not only have CTV lost their lead anchor on the network, they’ve invited a tsunami of bad publicity.

“Someone should be held accountable for that,” he says. “If you’d done it right, you wouldn’t have to do an internal investigation.”