TVA office building“Deregulation is not the solution.” Such was the reaction of CUPE 687, the union representing TVA employees, to the testimony of Pierre Karl Péladeau yesterday before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, CRTC. The CRTC is currently holding hearings to come up with a new regulatory framework, including the establishment of basic Canadian content requirements that foreign online broadcasters will have to adhere to.

Less than three weeks after massive job cuts at Groupe TVA in Montreal and its regional stations, the President and CEO of Quebecor demanded that the CRTC loosen up the “obsolete and archaic regulatory straitjacket” that hamstrings companies here and benefits American platforms, which backed TVA “into a corner.”

“Without CRTC regulations, obsolete or not, local news produced by regional stations would have disappeared from our screens quite some time ago. The Commission must stay the course in its work aimed at incorporating web giants such as Netflix and Disney+ into the regulations,” declared Steve Bargoné, CUPE Quebec’s representative and coordinator of its communications sector.

“Quebecor is using the employees of the Groupe TVA as a front-line shield in its battle to deregulate the electronic media. Sacrificing our jobs to sustain Quebecor’s business model would be detrimental to the public interest and is totally unacceptable. Deregulation is not the solution,” said Carl Beaudoin, president of CUPE 687.

On November 2, 547 jobs were slashed as part of an unprecedented downsizing at TVA. More than 600 jobs have disappeared in the past year. The union is hoping to come up with a solution to save as many jobs as possible.