As the national voice of Canada’s private broadcasters, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) calls for the Government to make an exception for our essential radio and TV broadcasters in the recently tabled Bill C-58, which would ban the use of replacement workers.

Broadcasters are critical purveyors of news and information to communities across the country, and they must be able to use replacement workers to maintain this public service. Too broad a ban would have serious negative consequences for the ability of our stations to continue to provide vital news and information programming, particularly during emergencies.

We have seen increasing wildfires and storms in the recent past, and broadcasters have been there to provide crucial updates to their communities even when internet and cell reception went down. Now more than ever, Canada cannot afford to lose these reliable communication lifelines.

The Government previously identified radio and TV broadcasters as essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the health, safety and economic well-being of the population, as did the Ontario government. With respect to Bill C-58, we suggest that a similar list could be created to make an exception for essential services, including broadcasters, to ensure that the public continues to receive critical information about extreme weather and other significant events such as elections. The importance of this kind of coverage cannot be understated.

The CAB respects the rights of workers to form unions, bargain collectively and strike when necessary in negotiations with employers. This is an important part of the employment ecosystem in Canada. However, any changes to the current rules and processes governing replacement workers must recognize the essential services provided by our radio and TV broadcasters.