Around 600 jobs could be axed at the CBC Thursday because of an estimated budget shortfall of between $130 million and $150 million, according to a watchdog.
If those predictions are accurate, the job losses would amount to about 7 per cent of CBC’s current workforce.
“That is a big, big number for any organization,” said Ian Morrison, the head of Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, which is making the forecast.
Both English and French services will be affected and the sports department will be particularly hard hit, Morrison said, citing confidential sources.
CBC President Hubert Lacroix is set to announce details of the public broadcaster’s upcoming budget at a national town hall with employees on Thursday.
“The focus of that meeting will be about financial pressures CBC-Radio Canada is facing, and how we’re going to move forward,” said CBC spokesperson Chuck Thompson.
“Beyond that though, I cannot comment any more,” he said.
Currently, CBC has 6,994 permanent employees, 859 contract employees and 329 temporary employees.
The 2012 federal budget slashed CBC funding by $115 million over three years, paring its parliamentary appropriation back from $1.03 billion in 2011-12 to $913 million in 2014-15.
Following that budget cut, CBC announced it was eliminating 650 jobs and cutting programming. The broadcaster also started running commercials on music networks CBC Radio 2 and Espace Musique.
CBC’s English-language television draws 8.4 per cent of the prime-time audience, according to the broadcaster’s most recent quarterly report ending Dec. 31. Radio One and Two collectively have an audience share of 15.5 per cent. Its website, CBC.ca, is visited by about 6.8 million people every month.
Last fall CBC lost the rights to Hockey Night in Canada to Rogers, which will cost the public broadcaster an estimated $100 million in lost advertising revenue.