CBC lockout has damaging ripple effect

TORONTO – The CBC lockout of its employees is not only a hardship for Canadian Media Guild members, it has resounding ramifications for the Canadian television industry, says the Writers Guild of Canada (WGC), the union representing1,800 professional screenwriters working in film, television, radio and new media production.

On August 15, CBC locked out 5,500 members of the Canadian Media Guild, which includes producers, directors, technicians, on-air talent and other behind-the-scenes staff.

“The timing really couldn’t be worse,” said Maureen Parker, Executive Director of the WGC. “It’s a struggle for Canadian programming to reach audiences at the best of times, and this lockout comes at a critical promotional period when all the other broadcasters are launching their fall line-ups. This lockout is putting the entire CBC-TV fall television season in jeopardy.”

 Canadian programs commissioned by the CBC, such as the Shania Twain movie-of-the-week, the Trudeau prequel miniseries, and the eagerly anticipated spin-off of Da Vinci’s Inquest, Da Vinci City Hall, are at risk of being left without an audience if the lockout continues.

 “It’s truly heartbreaking,” said Rebecca Schechter, WGC’s President. “A lot of time, talent and money was invested in the creation and production of these programs.

 “The lack of promotion is not only disappointing for the people who worked on these productions, it’s unfair to the taxpayers who funded these projects in anticipation of the uniquely Canadian content the CBC is mandated to deliver.”

 And it’s not only this fall’s television season that is in jeopardy.

 “We have heard from our members that development of future programs has also been put on hold. This lockout will continue to affect the CBC well down the road,” adds Schechter.

 “We sympathize with the people on the picket line and urge Minister Frulla, who is responsible for the CBC and our cultural well-being, to take the initiative and appoint a mediator to resolve this dispute,” said Parker. “There is no time to waste. All Canadians are being hurt by this lockout.”

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