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Unifor joins News Media Canada to support journalism fund

Toronto - The union representing 12,000 Canadian journalists and media workers joined today with News Media Canada in requesting a federal fund to support Canadian news outlets.

“Canadian journalism is essential to our democracy. The proposal for an expanded Canadian Periodical Fund will put journalists back on the street at a time when the advertising revenue that pays for them is being stripped away by Google and Facebook,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.

Dias said that the proposal from the News Media Canada was an important follow up to yesterday’s Canadian Heritage Parliamentary Committee’s report on local media.

The Heritage Committee’s report called upon the federal government to support Canadian journalism, in particular newspapers and online news organizations that face a steep and permanent decline in advertising revenue. The Committee recognized that Canadian advertising dollars that previously paid for Canadian news reporting have increasingly migrated to U.S. tech giants Google and Facebook.

News Media Canada’s focus on editorial costs is welcomed, said Unifor Media Director Howard Law. “Government assistance should be confined to paying reporter’s salaries and other core editorial costs. The proposal excludes management compensation, as it should.”

Unifor also supports limiting the federal assistance to editorial costs incurred in Canada. “The vast majority of editorial expenses occur in Canada, but under no circumstances should the Periodical Fund be reimbursing any off-shored resources,” said Dias.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers, including more than 12,000 in the media sector. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.

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For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Kathleen O’Keefe at kathleen.okeefe@unifor.org or 416-896-3303 (cell).