Canada’s public broadcaster is getting an increase in funding, despite executives insisting that a request to cut CBC/Radio-Canada’s budget for the next fiscal year was one reason they announced layoffs for 10 per cent of staff.

Documents Canadian Heritage released on Thursday show CBC will get a $1.4 billion budget in 2024-25, up from the $1.3 billion it spent in the previous fiscal year.

It’s an increase of about $90 million, the documents say.

The broadcaster announced in December it would cut 800 jobs and $40 million from its production budget because of a $125-million projected shortfall for the coming fiscal year, which begins on April 1.

A CBC spokesperson previously said that about $11 million of that shortfall would come as a result of an expected 3.3 per cent budget cut.

The broadcaster did not immediately respond to questions about how its calculations could shift now that it is not just avoiding cuts, but getting an influx of new money.

On top of the new government funding, CBC is expected to get $7 million from Google following the company’s deal with Ottawa to support news organizations and avoid regulation under the Online News Act.

Executives insisted earlier this year that the job cuts were coming in part because the government asked them to cut 3.3 per cent from their budget.

CBC president and CEO Catherine Tait and Shaun Poulter, executive director of strategy, public affairs and government relations, said in January they were expected to plan for that cut.

“We were told to budget a 3.3 per cent cut, and that’s what we’ve done,” Poulter said after a parliamentary committee hearing in January.

WATCH | Heritage minister says CBC won’t face spending cut

Heritage minister says CBC won’t face spending cut

In an interview with Power and Politics, Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge says CBC Radio-Canada will not have to cut 3.3 per cent from its budget, despite executives saying earlier this year they were told to plan for such a cut.

But the Treasury Board, which oversees spending in the federal budget, said there was no such directive.

Instead, departments, agencies and Crown corporations were asked to report on how such a cut could affect them. This, Canadian Heritage said, was only an “exercise” handed out across the board — and not an indication of where cuts would actually be made.

“I’ve said right from the beginning that the reallocation decision for CBC/Radio-Canada was still pending,” said Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge in a statement on Thursday.

“Our government’s objective isn’t to jeopardize the vital role of CBC/Radio-Canada, when it’s a critical time to keep Canadians connected and informed from coast to coast to coast.”

In an interview with Power & Politics airing Friday, St-Onge confirmed CBC would not have to make a 3.3 per cent spending cut.

“I said right from the beginning, when those announcements were made to CBC-Radio Canada’s employees, that the decision about the 3.3 per cent cuts, or expense reallocations, hadn’t been made yet,” she said.

“Of course, we don’t want to endanger the mission and the mandate that CBC-Radio Canada needs to deliver to the Canadian population, especially when it comes to the official languages.”

The Treasury Board announced Thursday that CBC is not on the list of government bodies whose funds are being reallocated as part of the government’s belt-tightening exercise.

The public broadcaster said last month that about 100 positions had been cut, including about 50 on the CBC side, 40 at Radio-Canada and 10 corporate jobs.

But the president of the union that represents CBC employees, Annick Forest of the Canadian Media Guild, said most of the cuts were expected after the current fiscal year ends on March 31.

Tait has faced pressure from MPs across all major federal parties in recent months over her decision not to rule out bonuses for executives — or for herself — despite the looming cuts.

Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet has said Tait should be “shown the door.”



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