Justin Tang The Canadian Press The Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pascale St-Onge speaks during question period in the House of Commons, in Ottawa, on October 18.
The announcement by the TVA Group of the layoff of 547 employees is “shocking” news and “time is against us,” said the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pascale St-Onge, while saying she wishes to reverse the trend with the modernization of laws undertaken by his government.
TVA Group announced Thursday the layoff of 31% of its workforce, as part of a restructuring that includes the overhaul of its information sector, the end of its internal production activities in entertainment content and the optimization of its real estate portfolio.
In a press scrum on Friday, Ms. St-Onge assured that her government continued to be engaged in efforts to modernize laws, whether the law of broadcasting or the establishment of a framework for negotiations between web giants and news media throughout Quebec and Canada.
The minister said “accelerate the pace” with the objective of a “fair” market and “reinvestments”.
“Ideally, I would like to see at the end of all this, cinemas news that rehires journalists. This is what we are trying to do with the modernization of our laws,” argued Ms. St-Onge to journalists in Montreal, on the sidelines of a signing ceremony for a modernized Canada-Canada audiovisual co-production treaty. Switzerland.
The minister did not move forward on emergency aid, instead highlighting measures put in place such as the tax credit for newsroom labor and the “enhancement” of certain funds for audiovisual industry, such as the Canadian Media Fund and Telefilm.
“But the future really involves modernizing the law, through investments by the web giants who do business here, and who make a lot of money. So, spending obligations on Quebec content, on Canadian content, and also an obligation to promote this content,” she explained.
The Broadcasting Act received royal assent in the spring, and “so the CRTC begins the work of modernizing all the regulations.” “Within the framework of the law, we offer it the possibility of reviewing the license conditions of broadcasters, of taking into account their financial situation, of taking into account the reality that we live in the digital world, and also of imposing certain obligations to foreign broadcasters who now occupy all the space online, such as obviously Netflix, Disney and others,” declared Ms. St-Onge.
Then, the Online News Act will come into full force. force from December 19, for a framework for negotiations between web giants and news media.
“Discussions continue with Google. By then, I am hopeful that we will have found common ground. For Facebook, we will see what happens next. For the moment, I cannot tell you more, but, ultimately, it is about balancing the market,” said Ms. St-Onge.
“Time is against us, because that we are in the process of modernization, and we will see the result of that over the coming months and years,” affirmed the minister, recalling that thousands of jobs have disappeared in the written press and hundreds in the audiovisual industry in the country for ten years.
Ms. St-Onge said she was in solidarity with the workers who are losing their jobs and their families, and explained the importance in particular of regional information for democracy and the vitality of communities.
“I really hope that with the modernization of the law, with the work that will be done by the CRTC, and also with the efforts that we are doing to improve the programs, and [those undertaken by the] government of Quebec, that we are going to save the furniture, and afterward, we will be able to experience growth in our industry. This is really my wish,” she concluded.