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Despite cuts, CBC executives may still get bonuses


Following news of mass cuts and layoffs at the CBC and Radio-Canada on Monday, CBC’s CEO, Catherine Tait, went on the network’s flagship news show and declined to say whether the public broadcaster’s executives would be receiving bonuses.

Adrienne Arsenault, host of “The National” on CBC, asked Tait, “I’m going to presume, no bonuses this year? … Can we establish (that) is not happening this year?”

“It’s too early to say where we are for this year, we’ll be looking at that like we do for all our line items in the coming months,” Tait said, just hours after telling employees that the CBC would be cutting 600 jobs, leaving 200 positions vacant and cutting $40 million from the broadcaster’s programming budget in order to fill a $125-million shortfall.

According to information obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, an advocacy group focused on lower taxes, in 2022, the CBC paid out more than $16 million in bonuses to 1,142 full-time employees.

Other executives echoed Tait’s statements to employees during the town hall meeting where the layoffs and cuts were announced. In an audio recording of the meeting, provided to the Star by a CBC employee, CBC’s chief transformation officer, Marco Dubé, told employees, “We’re not contemplating at this point any changes to our compensation for any classification of employment within the organization.”

CBC does not make its senior executive compensation public. It does, however, publish the pay bands for the president and CEO, the executive vice-president positions and the vice-president positions.

Tait, as president and CEO, makes from $442,900 to $521,000 in base salary, while other senior management receive between $258,000 to $436,500.

Bonuses for crown corporation CEOs have a maximum set by the federal government. In Tait’s case, based on her salary range and at the maximum bonus of 28 per cent, she can receive up to $124,012 to $145,880 in bonuses.

“I know many of you have been thinking about this and are anxious about the future — your future,” Tait said to employees at the town hall. “And we want to tell you as much as we can when we know it and be as open and transparent as possible … Every part of the organization will be affected by this.”

Tait blamed “inflation, significant cost increases for production and operations and, of course, fierce competition from digital giants, as well as the continued decline in revenue linked to our traditional television services” as underlying factors behind the cuts. On top of the “significant stress” faced by the Canadian media industry more broadly, Tait said the public broadcaster is being mandated by the federal government to cut 3.3 per cent of its costs.

In March, the government mandated federal agencies, departments and crown corporations to cut three per cent off of their existing budgets.

“We continue to make our case to the government regarding our value,” Tait said at the town hall.





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