CBC spent $75,000 on an ‘executive chauffeur’ in 2019

Access to information records revealed the CBC had a salaried chauffeur on staff for $75,602 a year — a role they cut in 2020. It returned on an 'as-requested basis' in 2022.

CBC spent $75,000 on an ‘executive chauffeur’ in 2019
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Canada’s state broadcaster paid roughly $75,000 a year to keep an “executive chauffeur” on payroll, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.

Access to information records revealed the CBC had a salaried chauffeur on staff for $75,602 a year — a role they cut in 2020 as a pandemic austerity measure, as first reported by Rebel News.

"The Covid-19 pandemic and the challenges of covering it put immense pressure on CBC’s workforce, operations, finances and systems," said a 2021 Department of Heritage briefing note, Funding Support For The CBC.

According to the briefing note, advertising revenue fell precipitously in 2020 — as much as 20% compared to the same period in 2019. "It is anticipated the effects of Covid-19 will persist," said one quarterly financial report.


"We invent ourselves every year to try to find new ways to do things because we have to offer more but with a smaller budget," Michel Bissonnette, one of the seven CBC vice-presidents, testified at 2019 hearings of the Commons heritage committee.

As a result, 80% of its staff worked remotely, with evening TV newscasts suspended for the first time since 1952, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.

Meanwhile, CBC managed to pay millions in bonuses to executives during the pandemic, including $15,013,838 in 2020 to 1,034 employees and $15,398,101 the following year to 1,033 employees. Records show the state broadcaster had 144 corporate directors paid $135,388 annually on average, excluding bonuses and expenses.

Despite the revenue shortfalls, CBC again contracted the chauffeur service, but on an "as-requested basis in 2022." Though it failed to name the executive(s) who used the service, and the vehicle make, and model requested.

The state broadcaster also billed taxpayers nearly $30,000 in travel expenses for Bissonnette this year, including for a now-cancelled trip to the French Riviera.

Since January 1, the executive billed taxpayers for domestic trips, including $193 for a Montréal luncheon and a $2,798 trip to Toronto for a CBC board of directors meeting. He also billed $17.43 for an Uber driver to chauffeur him through downtown Ottawa from 1 Elgin Street to 30 Daly Avenue an eight-minute walk.

According to records obtained by Blacklock’s Reporter, Bissonnette repeatedly flew business class to Paris to promote Francophone culture internationally.

As executive vice-president of French-language services at the state broadcaster, he billed taxpayers $26,747 for travel expenses, including $7,650 for business class flights from Montréal to Paris. A state broadcaster memo revealed that he must attend board meetings held in Paris.

"All the expenses in question are in compliance with our policies governing employee expenses," said CBC spokesperson Marc Pichette in August, who confirmed the executive cancelled a trip to Monaco for the September 1 launch of TV Monaco. He intended to stay there for four days at the expense of taxpayers.

Bissonnette, who did not respond to requests for comment, sits on the board of directors of TV5 International — a French-language service co-funded by Canada at $11 million a year along with the governments of France, Belgium and Switzerland. 

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