Union says Bell Media cuts hit 210 employees in Toronto, half from newsrooms

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CALGARY — The union representing some Bell Media workers says a total of 210 employees in the Toronto area are being laid off, with most of the notifications taking place today.

Howard Law, media section director for Unifor, says about 100 of the employees are union members and are connected to Toronto television newsrooms, while the non-union staff include administration and sales staff.

He says the affected union members include field camera operators but not on-air television reporters. Law declined to be specific because he says some affected employees may not have been notified yet.

He says some support staff are being laid off temporarily because certain local TV information shows aren't being made in-house during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bell Media didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Bell Media is part of BCE Inc.'s Bell Canada division, the country's largest telecommunications company. Its holdings include the CTV television network, specialty TV channels, radio stations and production studios.

A Bell Media spokesman confirmed Monday that it had cut an unspecified number of staff, including on-air broadcast roles, due to programming decisions by Bell's radio brands as part of the company's streamlined operating structures.

"They're laying off camera operators which has to mean less news coverage, unless they expect everybody else to work twice as hard," Law said on Tuesday.

Last month, Bell Media confirmed it had restructured its leadership team leading to some staff departures.

The changes come as Bell Media puts greater priority on growing its streaming platforms.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 2, 2021.

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The Canadian Press