CBC/Radio-Canada: Facing a defining moment - Facts and Context

May 9, 2014

On April 10th, CBC/Radio-Canada announced $130 million in budget cuts, triggering the elimination of the equivalent of 657 full-time positions. All that, and we will only manage to balance our budget for 2014–2015.

Over and above these reductions, we also have $390 million in financial pressures that we’ve had to manage since 2009. Overall, these reductions have affected the equivalent of 2,107 full-time positions. In order to fully understand the context in which the announcement was made, here are the facts:

  • As of this year, each Canadian pays just $29 per year for the combined services of CBC/Radio-Canada. The worldwide average is $82.
  • Among the 18 major Western countries, Canada ranks 16th (3rd from the bottom) in terms of per-capita public funding, just ahead of New Zealand and the United States.
  • Two main factors are forcing the public broadcaster to look at fundamental questions to secure its future: an industry in flux, and the weak advertising market.
  • The advertising market is weak, down approximately 5% overall in the last year. All signs point to this not being a slump – it’s a new way of life, particularly as advertising dollars migrate to digital.
  • Our annual budget is now just over $1.5 billion. Our total public appropriation, including our capital budget, is about $1,034 B; our ad and commercial revenues make up the rest.
  • Our parliamentary appropriations are renewed every 12 months, with no predictability, about 6 weeks before the beginning of our fiscal year.
  • Our permanent base budget, beyond partial inflation funding, has not increased since 1973.

Here are the services we are now offering to Canadians:

  • 88 radio stations and 27 television stations;
  • Three all-digital services;
  • Two specialty television news services (ICI RDI and CBC News Network);
  • Three other specialty television services and 11 other services, including music channels;
  • We deliver our services in two official languages, across six time zones.

Canada needs to initiate a national conversation on the country’s media ecosystem and the public broadcaster’s place in it. To help Canadians share their thoughts on the transformation of CBC/Radio-Canada, we invite Canadians to visit cbc.radio-canada.ca/future.

About CBC/Radio-Canada

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.

Search highlight tool