Recent reports about the Government’s proposal to change the collective bargaining process at Crown Corporations, as well as statements about CBC/Radio-Canada’s performance, need clarification.
Under the Broadcasting Act, CBC/Radio-Canada's budgetary appropriation is approved by Parliament. The Act also gives the Board of Directors the explicit authority to determine the salaries of employees. It also specifies that CBC/Radio-Canada employees are not public servants.
In recent years, the Corporation has developed an efficient and cooperative bargaining process with its unions, while ensuring that compensation remains aligned with the broadcast industry in which we operate. Like some Crown Corporations, we also need the flexibility to operate quickly in a fast changing industry, while being able to attract the talent necessary in to order to operate at our best.
We are keenly aware of the financial realities facing Canadians. CBC/Radio-Canada has not asked Government for additional funding for many years. In 2012, the Corporation's budget was cut $115 million dollars as part of CBC/Radio-Canada's contribution to the government's Deficit Reduction Action Plan (DRAP).
Despite the loss of 800 jobs during the financial crisis and 650 jobs as a result of DRAP, CBC/Radio-Canada has managed to preserve and, in the case of regional stations, actually expand the services it provides. We have continued to implement our Strategy 2015, which has been endorsed by the Government. We have continued to develop and showcase very popular Canadian programming across our networks. We are still the only broadcaster with so much Canadian programming in prime time, when Canadians are watching television.
All of this is possible because of the support of Canadian taxpayers. CBC/Radio-Canada values and respects that support. To demonstrate that it is using those resources responsibly, it reports to Parliament and Canadians, the CRTC, and the Auditor-General of Canada. In February 2013, the Auditor General’s special examination confirmed that CBC/Radio-Canada manages its assets efficiently and economically.
CBC/Radio-Canada supports the Government's goal of ensuring that compensation and benefits are aligned with the private sector. That is why, for the past several years, the Corporation has used an independent Human Resources advisor, Mercer, to benchmark what we pay our employees compared to the industry in which we are required to operate. Salary increases at the Corporation have averaged 1.9% over the past seven years. Salaries in the private sector have increased an average of 3% over the same period.
We support efforts to help Crown Corporations manage public resources responsibly. We believe that this initiative may have unintended consequences on the successful operation of some corporations. It is important that these consequences are understood and addressed.
We will be writing to the Government to share our concerns about C-60, and to request a meeting to ensure that Ministers have accurate information on CBC/Radio-Canada's record, both at managing public resources and delivering on its mandate.
Get the facts: CBC/Radio-Canada: Competitiveness, Efficiency and Accountability
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. The Corporation is a leader in reaching Canadians on new platforms and delivers a comprehensive range of radio, television, Internet and satellite-based services. Deeply rooted in the regions, CBC/Radio-Canada is the only domestic broadcaster to offer diverse regional and cultural perspectives in English, French and eight Aboriginal languages.