CBC/Radio-Canada president and CEO Catherine Tait said Tuesday that the company is eliminating performance pay for some managers for the year, amid fears that hundreds of employees will lose their jobs. Members of Congress were angered by the refusal.
Tite said the extra pay is built into managers’ salaries and is not like the year-end “bonus” that is standard in the private sector. A portion of the salary will be withheld and will only be paid if the company achieves pre-set “key performance indicators” or KPIs, Tait said.
If the company fails to meet any of the KPIs, a portion of the salaries of executives who are “at risk” will be withheld, similar to the 2022-23 financial year when two of these indicators were not met. He said that it would be possible.
KPIs are detailed in company documentation. annual report And it includes specific metrics like audience size and reach.
Despite political headwinds, Mr Tate told MPs on the House of Commons heritage committee that performance pay would continue in 2023-24.
He said it would be lower than in past years as the company is expected to miss its revenue targets.
“If we can achieve this year’s results and our 1,140 independent, non-union employees can achieve their goals, I will recommend that they receive fair compensation and performance pay,” Tait said.
“We are on track to achieve most of our goals, which means some corporate performance awards will be awarded.”
Asked by Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu if he would accept this year’s bonus, Mr Tate dodged the question by saying it was up to the government to decide how much he would be paid each year.
Unlike other CBC employees, Ms. Tate owes her job to the then-Gov. council order. It is the cabinet that decides her salary, she said.
Tate spoke briefly to reporters after attending the committee meeting. She said she could not unilaterally remove her name from the list of people who should receive her bonus.
When asked to explain why, Tate walked away from the assembled journalists.
CBC/Radio-Canada announced in December that it expected 800 layoffs soon. Of those, 200 are unfilled positions, and another 600 job cuts will be distributed between the company’s English and French services as part of the company’s reduction plan. Approximately $125 million.
A spokesperson for the public broadcaster confirmed that some of these cuts had already been implemented.
“We can now confirm that there have been approximately 100 layoffs across the company: 50 from CBC, 40 from Radio-Canada and 10 from corporate teams,” said spokesperson Leon Marr.
Tite said he was “hopeful” that not all of the expected job cuts would be implemented.
Tait said some of the job cuts could be avoided if the advertising market recovers significantly or the government provides additional funding.
Tate says CBC faces ‘structural deficiencies’
She said annual parliamentary spending by governments on the CBC (about $1.3 billion) has been stagnant for the past 30 years.
Government funding is not indexed to inflation, which has risen in recent years, leaving the company with a “structural deficit” of about $36 million each year.
As a result, the company will have to make cuts to balance its budget, Tate said.
“As I have said many times, public broadcasting faces chronic underfunding,” Tait said.
“At $33 per Canadian, or 10 cents a day, CBC/Radio-Canada is one of the most underfunded public broadcasters in the world, with four times less funding than Britain or France. Until things change, we must continue to make do with what we have and do our best to make the most of our limited resources to accomplish our mission. It won’t. ”
Mr Tate defended the concept of performance pay in principle and said the company must remain competitive.
Tite points to exit surveys from former employees that show low pay compared to those offered by other companies and public sector employers such as the federal government is partly to blame for turnover. He said there was.
Lawmakers were unconvinced by this explanation, arguing that it was fundamentally unfair for managers overseeing large-scale layoffs to be given regular performance pay.
“When Canadians see $16 million coming out in bonuses, it’s hard to put up with it, especially when it’s cut,” said Liberal MP Michael Cotto.
“Normally bonuses happen when things are good. You give bonuses when things are good, but things are not good. About a third of jobs have been cut,” he said. “It’s hard for us to just accept.”
Liberal MP Taleb Noormohamed told Tate about executive pay “at a time when people doing the real work that so many journalists and Canadians rely on are facing uncertainty and instability.” He said it was fair to put pressure on him.
Tait said his bonus payments for 2022-23 will be $14.9 million (not the widely cited $16 million figure), compared to the roughly $900 million he pays out each year in salaries for all employees. He said it was a small amount.
“I understand people’s concerns,” Tate said. “There are very few of them and we need to retain competent managers. It’s not just journalists, but we absolutely respect and support their work.”
“Given the cuts, can you assure Canadians that we will not continue to pay those performance benefits?” NDP MP Peter Julian asked.
“I can’t reassure you what you’re asking for,” she said.
In response to Cotto’s inquiry, Tait said he would consider asking the board to review performance pay for the 2024-25 fiscal year, when most of the cuts will take place.
“Everything is on the table,” Tate says.
Tate has provided recommendations to the board about how much to give to management, but ultimately it is the board that makes the final decision, he said.
“I have said publicly that everything is on the table. Everything is on the table. We will consider all options, yes,” Tate said.
Conservative MP Rachel Thomas said ratings reports suggest CBC Television’s audience share is declining, with less attention paid to its entertainment, sports and journalism programs, especially in English-speaking Canada. , questioned how Mr Tate could justify the bonus.
“Most Canadians don’t receive half or even a quarter of their annual bonus,” Thomas said.
Tait said it’s not fair to look only at traditional TV ratings, saying the company’s programming has a large audience on digital platforms such as CBC Gem and its own streaming platform, as well as on third-party services such as YouTube. He said that he is producing.
Barbara Williams, CBC’s vice president of English language services, pointed to recent ratings for the company’s flagship news program, The National.
Williams said about 300,000 people watch the show each night on CBC Television and about 200,000 people watch it on the CBC News Network.
She said portions of the show are watched by an additional 400,000 viewers on YouTube each day.
The show is also watched by tens of thousands of people on Gem and its free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) product, CBC News Explore.
“We are a growing, relevant service,” Williams said.
“When you measure viewership, you have to look at the whole experience,” Tate said.
She said the CBC is currently serving the country on its “constrained” budget, across six time zones, on digital, television and radio platforms, and in two official languages and eight indigenous languages. He said this was “nothing short of a miracle.”
Mr Thomas said Mr Tate had “cut the poor card”.
“No other media outlet in this country starts the year with $1.4 billion in taxpayer dollars,” Thomas said.