The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) and the National Film Board of Canada are going to have to make do with 10% less. That’s the amount Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s budget cut Tuesday from the public broadcaster and the documentary agency. The CBC will lose $115 million, in Canadian dollars, from the $1.1 billion it currently receives from the Canadian government. Telefilm Canada will also see a 10% reduction in its budget.
The initial CBC cuts will take place over two years, with $27.8 million lost in 2012-2013 and then $69.9 million in 2013-2014. After 2014, $115 million will come out the broadcaster’s annual taxpayer subsidy. Government funding currently makes up 60% of the CBC’s overall revenue.
The NFB will lose $6.7 million a year until 2015. Telefilm Canada will lose $10.6 million.
While he made no reference to the CBC or NFB cuts in his budget speech, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty did say that, in aiming for a balanced budget by 2016, “we will implement moderate restraint in government spending.” The government is cutting $5.2 billion annually overall from its current expenditures of $276.1 billion.
“CBC/Radio-Canada,” said the broadcaster after the budget announcement in Ottawa Tuesday afternoon, ”will review its approach for dealing with this reduction in a way that doesn’t overly compromise its strategy for the future.” As has occurred with such budget cuts in the past, the CBC, which has 5,500 employees, is expected to start layoffs of staff, cut production and close offices across Canada. “We don’t yet know exactly what these cuts will mean for CBC/Radio-Canada services and employees,” Marc-Philippe Laurin, president of the CBC branch of the Canadian Media Guild told the Ottawa Citizen. “However, this is a major cut that surely have a devastating impact on CBC services by 2015.