TORONTO, ONT., September 6, 2023 /CNW/ – The increasing state of precarious employment sweeping across the Canadian journalism industry is an issue that will lead to devastating social impacts if it’s not stopped.
“Journalists perform a critical role in democratic societies,” said Brent Jolly, CAJ president. “Without journalists, Canadians will become less informed about important news and current affairs. The intrepid work of journalists helps to hold the powerful at all levels of authority accountable.”
Despite this crucial work, the CAJ is disturbed about how fewer and fewer journalists have full-time jobs. The CAJ is concerned about this trend.
In one Canadian academic study, researchers interviewed more than 100 journalists who described persistent financial insecurity and anxiety about the stability of their jobs.
The study found that the pressure to meet employer demands with few rights and little job security can result in significant negative emotional and mental health consequences for people without full-time jobs.
Over the past two years, the CAJ’s Newsroom Diversity Survey found that much of the racial diversity in the industry is concentrated in more junior and precarious roles. In other words, visible minority journalists are more likely to be stuck in contract and part-time jobs.
The issue takes different forms and exists across many news organizations, and was recently highlighted once again in contract negotiations between TVO and its unionized employees.
Beyond any specific provisions in this or any other collective agreements or labour negotiations, however, there is a larger fundamental principle at play.
“The security and well-being of journalists as front-line employees is a critical component of a free and vibrant press,” Jolly said. “All journalists who aspire to full-time work deserve good jobs without having to worry about when their next contract or paycheck will arrive.”
The CAJ recognizes that the subject of employment security is a frequent topic of discussion and discontent amongst many of its members. As a matter of principle, the CAJ supports the view that journalists should have access to all the rights and benefits of full-time work whenever and wherever possible.
“Just as news organizations prepare to begin to negotiate with tech platforms for fair remuneration for their content, employers owe their employees a proper duty of care that reflects changing physical, digital, and economic security of journalists,” Jolly said. “These considerations must never be forgotten.”
Please note: This statement reflects the view of the CAJ’s national board of directors. For the sake of transparency, the board has taken all the appropriate steps to ensure that any directors in conflict have been properly recused from all discussions in the crafting of this statement.
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