TORONTO, ONT., Sept 20, 2023 /CNW/ – The announcements that Ontario community newspaper publishers Metroland Media Group and Quebec-based Métro Média have gone bankrupt will see fewer journalists covering large swaths of Ontario and Quebec. This is yet another devastating blow to an industry increasingly hanging by a thread.
“These are catastrophic losses for media workers and Canadians who live in smaller communities,” said Brent Jolly, president of the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ).
“The bottom line is that with every journalist that is laid off, and every publication that shutters its doors, Canada’s democratic resiliency erodes a little bit more and that leaves us susceptible to co-ordinated campaigns of mis & disinformation.”
On Friday, Metroland Media Group announced it was seeking bankruptcy protection and having to furlough 605 employees – including an estimated 68 journalists.
According to Unifor, 104 employees being laid off are unionized, with the rest coming from non-unionized job categories. The CAJ was extremely disappointed to learn the company was denying severance and termination benefits to many now-former employees.
Metroland Media Group said that the company has been forced to cease the print editions of more than 70 community newspapers because they have faced “substantial declines in both print advertising and the flyers business is no longer viable in printed form” over the past several years.
Andrew Mulé, the owner of Quebec-based Métro Média, which is not affiliated with Metroland, announced on Sunday that the hyperlocal French-language news organization would be announcing bankruptcy this week.
Métro Média abruptly suspended editorial operations last month at its more than 30 hyperlocal publications, which includes 16 print weeklies and le Journal Métro.
Given the sweeping human impact on those who have lost their jobs, the CAJ is calling on its community for assistance.
As was the case with previous large-scale layoffs, the CAJ will be accepting public donations via its website for an indefinite period of time. A specialized team of CAJ members have volunteered to ensure the funds are given to those affected.
“When times get tough, journalists rally together to support each other,” Jolly said. “Each of the people that have lost their job aren’t just another line on a spreadsheet; they have a name, a family, and a commitment to serving their communities. They need our support and we’ll have their backs.”
The Canadian Association of Journalists is the country’s largest professional organization that serves to advance the interests of journalists from coast to coast to coast. The CAJ’s primary roles are public-interest advocacy work and professional development for its members.
For further information, please contact:
Brent Jolly, CAJ President, 289-387-3179, email@example.com
Our thanks to Cision for sponsoring this announcement.