The Trudeau Liberal government wants to make legacy media bailouts permanent after the current $595 million federal journalism bailout expires in 2024.
Despite the bailout program being a giant failure at saving financially unfeasible or prevent them from going under. Department of Canadian Heritage hasn’t said if they will end the handouts.
“News businesses have seen their revenues significantly decline affecting coverage of our communities and institutions,” said Canadian Heritage spokesperson David Larose.
“The government is committed to supporting the long term viability of the Canadian news sector including through various tax measures and programs.”
Despite receiving federal financing in the form of tax credits and employee payroll rebates, some media companies have closed their doors.
Since the bailout’s initial introduction in 2019, The Vancouver Courier and Stonewall Argus have both stopped publication.
Despite obtaining payroll rebates and tax credits of $13,750 per employee, some media firms that accepted federal funding, such as Halifax’s Chronicle Herald, ended up terminating their staff.
On September 1, 2020, 111 employees of the Chronicle Herald, owned by Saltwire Network Inc., were let go due to a decline in revenue brought on by the pandemic. Former seasoned workers filed a complaint against the outlet, alleging they were wrongfully fired.
In its efforts to prop up traditional media outlets, Canadian Heritage referenced legislation like Bill C-18, which would require social media corporations to pay news organizations.
“The bill will contribute to the sustainability of the news sector including the sustainability of independent local news businesses,” said Larose.
Recent studies have shown there is a decline of trust in the legacy media and nose dived through out the Covid-19 pandemic. Nearly half, 57% of Canadians in 2022 said they trust traditional media, from from 71% in 2019.