Experts say CBC will receive the 'largest share' of Bill C-18 funding

According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF), the number of CBC staffers taking home six-figure salaries has increased yearly since Justin Trudeau became prime minister.

Experts say CBC will receive the 'largest share' of Bill C-18 funding
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson and JHVEPhoto -
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If Google buys into Bill C-18, the Online News Act, CBC would receive the largest share of the $172 million owed annually to Canadian publishers.

On August 31, the federal government unveiled the expected cost of revenue-sharing agreements between tech giants and news publishers as part of the draft regulations for the legislation.

According to government officials, Google and Facebook would owe publications $172 million and $62 million annually to Canadian publications, undercutting the Parliamentary Budget Officer's (PBO) $329 million estimate last year.

However, those numbers are subject to change upon further consultations with the parties who buy in on Bill C-18, reported the National Post.

To be exempt from CRTC intervention in the financial formula regulation, Google would have to enter voluntary compensation deals with news publishers that do not deviate more than 20% from the average compensation deal under the legislation.

Last year, a Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) analysis estimated that broadcasters, including the CBC, will take home most of the money from the Online News Act.

According to the regulations, the compensation received by broadcasters and news outlets should be consummate with the number of full-time journalists they employ.

CBC Spokesperson Leon Mar said the state broadcaster believes the legislation will "contribute to the sustainability of news organizations at a time when 80% of digital ad revenue goes to Facebook and Google."

"It will ensure that all Canadian media organizations, regardless of their size, can receive fair compensation for the content they produce when digital companies use that content to attract and keep people on their platforms and generate revenue," he said.

The Online News Act received royal assent on June 22 and will go into effect by the end of December. 

The government will have 30 days to consult stakeholders on the most recent draft regulations.

Former CRTC vice-chair Peter Menzies told The Globe and Mail that additional funding would "reinforce the status quo" and the CBC's dominant position. 

He said It would encourage the broadcaster to hire more journalists and receive more money under the legislation moving forward.

Despite the problematic fiscal landscape for the media, the state broadcaster remained impervious to financial hardship courtesy of generous taxpayer funding.

According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF), the number of CBC staffers taking home six-figure salaries has increased yearly since Justin Trudeau bEcame prime minister.

In records detailing the public broadcaster's pay raises, CTF learned that full-time workers earning six-figure salaries doubled between 2015 and 2022.

During that period, the CBC went from 438 to 949 full-time workers, costing $119.5 million in salaries — a $60 million increase.

"Taxpayers don't need all these CBC employees making six figures," said Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director of the CTF. "What value are taxpayers getting from all these extra CBC staffers with big salaries?"

Internal records uncovered that the public broadcaster continued expansion efforts despite operating during financially feeble times. 

Bewildering, the government's generosity knew no bounds as the Liberals funded expansion efforts by the state broadcaster while others lost their jobs and businesses.

The CBC cost taxpayers $1.2 billion in 2021, which included $21 million in "immediate operational support" to ensure its "stability during the pandemic."

On top of the pandemic relief, Ottawa allocated an additional "$42 million to help CBC/Radio-Canada recover from the pandemic," as first reported by the National Post. 

Additionally, taxpayers gave them $51 million in bonuses and pay raises during the pandemic. Only one employee received a pay cut.

CBC employees earning an annual salary exceeding $100,000 rose 14% in 2020 and 13% the following year, which resulted in 220 more employees receiving a six-figure wage than before the pandemic.

"The CBC shouldn't have doled out bonuses while taxpayers lost jobs and businesses during the pandemic," said Terrazzano. 

"If the CBC has enough money to hand out millions in bonuses and raises during a pandemic, taxpayers shouldn't be forced to fork over more money."

Since 2015, the CBC's annual funding has increased by $203 million, according to annual reports. Of that amount, they paid $156 million in bonuses and pay raises since — an average yearly bonus and pay raise of $14,200 and $1,800, respectively. 

According to the Taxpayer Federation, the CBC's $1.2 billion budget could pay the salaries of 7,600 new nurses with enough money to cover the annual grocery bills of more than 43,000 families after the fact.

In 2020, it received $1.4 billion.

The Forum for Research and Policy in Communications (FRPC) said the state broadcaster's annual reports since 1937 provided "little objective information" about fulfilling its mandate. Parliament's support for its operations "cannot be easily assessed," they said.

"CBC today provides little, if any, detailed information about the availability of its services in Canada and their use by the public, or about the programming that it produces each year," it reads.

The FRPC estimates the state broadcaster has cost Canadian taxpayers approximately $80 billion since 1937.

"Canadians should be allowed to choose which news outlet to support voluntarily, and other media organizations shouldn't be forced to compete with the taxpayer-funded CBC," said Terrazzano. 

"It's time to defund the CBC."

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