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CBC English Services losing 350 jobs, 45 in Vancouver

VANCOUVER - The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is cutting back staff in its English services and in Radio-Canada staff outside Quebec, according to a report this afternoon.

The report said English Services has sent 158 "redundancy notices" to its Canadian Media Guild employees outside Quebec. In addition, 73 employees have taken voluntary retirement:

Among those to take retirement packages are some of CBC's most experienced reporters, including Brian Stewart, of The National, Steve Finkelman, a municipal affairs reporter in Edmonton, John McGrath, who covers Queen's Park in Toronto, Don Newman, host of CBC News: Politics, and Jim Nunn, host of CBC News: Nova Scotia at Six.

The CMG website predicts that a total of 350 CBC jobs will be lost this spring through a mix of layoffs, retirements, nonrenewal of contract employees, and abolition of vacant job positions.

"This is a very sad time," says Marc Philippe Laurin, president of the Canadian Media Guild's CBC branch. "We are losing very experienced people who have devoted years to the CBC and we’re also losing people who were beginning what should have been long and bright careers at the public broadcaster. Viewers, listeners and web surfers will notice their absence as programming is scaled back or cancelled altogether."

According to the report, the CMG forecasts 45 jobs lost in Vancouver, by far the largest number outside Toronto -- which will lose 155.

The CMG also said it would continue its "CBC now more than ever" campaign to restore funding to the CBC.

Inside the CBC, the corporation's official blog, posted an item from the union on May 27 about how to respond to a redundancy notice.

The job losses are the result of the CBC's need to make up a funding shortfall of $171 million, partly due to falling advertising revenues. Next week the CBC will serve redundancy notices to the Quebec services of Radio-Canada, where an estimated 363 more jobs will be affected.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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