As many as 40 local television outlets and 200 Canadian radio stations could be forced to close in the next three years as the financial pressures faced by media companies intensify under the COVID-19 pandemic, suggests a new study from an industry advocacy group.
The Canadian Association of Broadcasters issued a report on Wednesday warning of potential closures and widespread job cuts as private TV and radio broadcasters face a cumulative projected revenue shortfall of up to $1.06 billion by the end of 2022.
Most vulnerable are the country’s AM radio stations, the report said, as well as other independent private radio and TV operations in smaller markets across the country.
The study, titled “The Crisis in Canadian Media and the Future of Local Broadcasting,” was commissioned by the CAB, which represents the majority of private broadcasters in Canada, and conducted through Winnipeg-based independent media economics consultancy Communications Management Inc.
The CAB says it’s concerned about the fallout from a substantial erosion in local advertising revenues over recent months.
Radio stations may be hardest hit in the short term, the report suggests, partly due to many advertisers pulling back on their spending in the pandemic and hastening a decline in the media industry’s revenues.
Private radio ad revenues are expected to be $383 million below last year, it said.
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The report’s projections suggest that without further government support those declines could mean as many as 50 private local radio stations go out of business over the next four to six months.
Another 150 radio stations could topple in the 18 months that follow, it said, leading to as many as 2,000 job losses.
TV stations could risk a similar fate with roughly 40 of Canada’s 94 private TV broadcasters in danger of closing within one to three years, the research predicts.
The CAB is calling on the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to take swift action by establishing a “more fair and sustainable future” for local media.
Last month, the organization sent an emergency application to the CRTC requesting permission for broadcasters to be relieved of certain terms of their agreements, such as spending requirements on Canadian programming, for the broadcast year that ends Aug. 31.
Lenore Gibson, chair of the CAB, said broadcasters have “done their utmost to cut expenses” in areas such as administration, and “the last thing that they want to do is cut into programming costs, but that’s the only area that’s left now.”
The CAB is urging the federal government to provide emergency regulatory relief as well as greater “targeted support” for the industry starting this fall.
Without greater financial measures in place, the CAB says the effects could leave many communities with only national and international media organizations to provide them with most of their news, effectively eliminating most community coverage of local politics, health and education in some regions of the country.
© 2020 The Canadian Press
Canada adds more than 800 new coronavirus cases, 6 deaths – Global News
The number of Canadians who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus grew by 865 on Saturday, while the national death toll rose by six.
There have been 142,654 cases since COVID-19 was first diagnosed in Canada in late January and 9,211 deaths overall.
Across the country more than 7.7 million tests have been conducted throughout the pandemic, and 87 per cent of all cases are resolved.
The number of new cases being reported daily has increased by more than 60 per cent in the last two weeks, and demand for testing has increased sharply as well.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said on average about 849 cases were reported per day in the last week.
“I urge all Canadians to take action now to slow the spread of the virus. In addition to strict adherence with personal protective measures (e.g. physical distancing, handwashing and wearing non-medical masks where appropriate), we must all reduce our number of contacts to a minimum,” she said in a statement.
“Most importantly, stay home and isolate yourself from others if you are experiencing any symptoms, even if mild.”
The vast majority of the new cases occurred in Ontario and Quebec, though Saturday’s numbers are incomplete because the territories, Alberta, B.C. and P.E.I. do not release daily statistics on the weekend.
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Quebec announced 427 new infections, bringing its total to 67,080. Five deaths were recorded, three of which occurred earlier this month, officials said.
Premier François Legault said Saturday he has tested negative for COVID-19 but would remain in isolation until Sept. 28.
Legault and his wife were tested after meeting with Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole — who has since tested positive.
In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford announced the province would be extending restrictions on private events to all areas of the province.
Earlier in the week, new limits on the number of people allowed to gather were announced for virus hotspots such as Toronto and Ottawa.
“Over the past several days, we have seen alarming growth in the number of COVID cases in Ontario,” Ford said.
“The alarm bells are ringing. And too much of it has been tied to people who aren’t following the rules. People who think it’s OK to hold parties, to carry on as if things are back to normal. They aren’t.”
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Ontario added 407 new cases on Saturday and one new death was announced. The province has seen a cumulative total of 46,848 infections.
Officials in Saskatchewan said they hit a record high in testing on Friday, with 2,873 samples taken. There were 11 cases discovered. Overall, the province has seen 1,787 cases and 24 fatalities.
In Manitoba, 18 new cases were reported Saturday. The province has the lowest cumulative case total in Western Canada at 1,558, including some cases considered presumptive.
Nunavut reported its first two confirmed cases Saturday. The two people diagnosed are workers at the Hope Bay Mine, located southwest of Cambridge Bay, officials said. They are believed to have been exposed to the virus in their home province.
“Hope Bay Mine is an isolated location, and no Nunavut residents currently work there. The risk of COVID-19 spreading in our communities because of these cases remains very low,” Health Minister George Hickes said in a statement.
There are currently no other active cases in Canada’s North. The infections previously announced in Yukon and Northwest Territories — 20 in total — have long been resolved.
Three out of four provinces in Atlantic Canada provided updates on the pandemic Saturday but no new cases were announced. There are only a handful of active cases remaining in the region.
On Friday, British Columbia added 179 new cases, though 40 of them dated back to early August, and Alberta reported 107 new positive tests.
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On Saturday, the U.S. coronavirus death toll was poised to reach 200,000, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.
Around the world, more than 30 million people have been diagnosed with the illness, and nearly 954,000 people have lost their lives.
—With files from The Canadian Press, Mickey Djuric, Ryan Rocca and David Lao, Global News
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Canada's green agenda not hijacked by COVID-19: environment minister – CTV News
Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said the pandemic hasn’t hijacked the government’s “big green agenda,” and warned that if left unaddressed climate change will have more of an impact on Canadians than COVID-19.
Wilkinson admitted that the government’s priority is dealing with the pandemic, but said they will be thinking about the investments they must make “in the context of the looming crisis that is climate change.”
“At the end of the day, if we do not address the climate issue, the impacts that we will feel from that will be significantly greater than what we’re feeling from COVID-19,” Wilkinson told Evan Solomon during an online exclusive interview with CTV Question Period.
Speaking to reporters as he announced his intention to prorogue parliament in August, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the throne speech will give the government an opportunity to build a recovery plan that allows Canada to “build back better.”
“This is our chance to build a more resilient Canada, a Canada that is healthier and safer, greener and more competitive, a Canada that is more welcoming and more fair. This is our moment to change the future for the better,” Trudeau said at the time.
However, insiders have told The Canadian Press that the throne speech will have three main priorities: measures to protect Canadians’ health and to prevent another lockdown; economic supports through the pandemic; and eventual rebuilding measures.
With the focus on the pandemic apparent, questions are circulating about the level of green investment that will actually be borne out of the looming throne speech. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is among these skeptical onlookers.
Speaking to Solomon on Wednesday during an episode of CTV Power Play, May said she’s made it clear to the prime minister that if he plans to leave real climate action out of the throne speech, he won’t be getting her party’s support.
“I made it very clear to the prime minister: without a commitment that we live up to the requirements of the Paris Agreement…we can’t vote confidence,” May said.
“When Joe Biden calls Donald Trump a climate arsonist, I don’t want to be calling Justin Trudeau a climate arsonist. He’s got a little bit of time left.”
Further raising the concern that the pandemic might be putting green initiatives on the back burner, the Liberals have also failed to plant a single one of the two billion trees they pledged to get in the ground over the next 10 years.
When pressed on the delay, Wilkinson admitted the pandemic has been a factor in slowing the tree planting efforts.
“The two billion trees commitment remains, it will be something that we will be looking at doing going forward. As you well know, we didn’t have a budget this year because of the pandemic and we’ve been living with this pandemic for six months,” said Wilkinson.
With files from The Canadian Press and CTV News’ Rachel Aiello
Why is there a shortage of canned soda pop in Canada? – Global News
You may have been to a grocery store and searched for a 12-pack of your favourite soda pop, only to come up empty-handed.
Like other dilemmas faced by Canadians since mid-March, the coronavirus pandemic is to blame, according to beverage peddlers.
“The beverage industry, like the entire consumer product sector, has been impacted by many new pressures due to COVID-19,” said Jeff Rutledge, a spokesperson for the Canadian Beverage Association.
When the pandemic first began in March, many people switched from purchasing bottles of pop at the store or drinking fountain pop at restaurants to taking home 12-packs to drink with lunch or dinner.
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As the shutdown happened with pretty remarkable speed, it left no time for pop manufacturers to prepare for the sudden shift in consumer demand.
“All aluminum cans are in tight supply due to heavy demand for multi-pack products consumed at home,” said Kristen Jimenez, a spokesperson for Coca-Cola.
Her company has been forced to prioritize which brands it uses due to the limited number of cans.
“We have had to shift our resources toward producing more products with the highest demand,” Jimenez said. “Here in Canada, those brands include Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Sprite, Nestea and AHA.“
There may have already been a stockpile in place of certain other brands pre-pandemic so this leaves consumers of products like Diet Canada Dry hunting for their beverage of choice.
Coke is not alone in having to make these choices, though, according to Rutledge, whose organization also includes Pepsi and A&W, among dozens of others.
“While our members are implementing contingency plans to mitigate these challenges, including aluminum can supply, some products will be temporarily unavailable in some places,” he explained.
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Rutledge said members he has spoken to have ramped up production in a bid to get more product on the shelves and erase the backlog.
“Our members are working hard to get the products people want on store shelves as soon as the circumstances allow.”
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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