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Letter to CRTC Regarding Cuts by Rogers to OMNI TV


August 6, 2013

John Traversy
Secretary General
Ottawa, ON K1A 0N2


Dear Secretary General Traversy,

Re: Application 2013-0996-4 regarding changes by Rogers Broadcasting Limited to OMNI television programming

I am writing to you on behalf of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 79, Canada’s largest municipal Union Local, representing approximately 20,000 workers at the City of Toronto, Bridgepoint Hospital, and The Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC). Our members not only reflect well the diversity that is Toronto, but the programmes and services that they deliver on a daily basis bring them in contact with the many diverse communities that make Toronto so vibrant.

CUPE Local 79 strongly supports the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers (CEP) Union in their application requesting the CRTC to call Rogers Broadcasting Limited to a public hearing where people can present their concerns about the programme changes to its OMNI television stations.

The decision by Rogers, a large and very profitable broadcaster, to cancel 21 programmes in 13 different languages directed to 13 ethnic groups in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary will have a noticeable detrimental effect on Canada’s multicultural communities, particularly at the local news level. Communities and individuals relying on these programmes for important information about what is happening in the world around them will be cut off from a valuable source of local and national news.

The Federal Broadcasting Act states that Canada’s broadcasting system should:

… through its programming and the employment opportunities arising out of its operations, serve the needs and interests, and reflect the circumstances and aspirations, of Canadian men, women and children, including equal rights, the linguistic duality and multicultural and multiracial nature of Canadian society and the special place of aboriginal peoples within that society.

The CRTC licensed the OMNI TV stations to meet Canadians’ strong demand for linguistic diversity and greater understanding among people with different cultural backgrounds. Canadians need answers about the closure of local production studios in Edmonton and Calgary.

CUPE Local 79 appreciates the CRTC asking for the public’s views about the CEP application, and urges the CRTC to facilitate the reinstatement of the cancelled programming. Only five free multicultural TV stations are in operation and they are all owned by Rogers. Canada’s multicultural communities need more hours of original local and national news and other programming by, for and about them – not less!

Yours Truly,

Tim Maguire

c.c. Dave Coles, National President CEP
      Nadir Mohamed, President and Chief Executive Officer Rogers Communications



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