SOURCES : Syndicat des travailleuses et travailleurs de Radio-Canada (STTRC–CSN); Association of Professionals and Supervisors of CBC (APS); Association des réalisateurs; Canadian Media Guild.

 CBC announced today that its defined benefit pension plan is in good shape and that members do not need to worry; their pensions are safe. However, by the same token, the Corporation announces it will take a contribution holiday as required by the Income Tax Act due to accumulated surplus in the plan.

The CBC contribution exemption will be effective from the April 21st payroll and will continue until the end of 2022. The total adds up to $40 million dollars, an amount equivalent to approximately 9% of the employees’ salaries. If the surplus is maintained, CBC could extend its contribution leaves for the next several years. The money saved from the employees’ payroll will be reinvested, we are told, in programming and services offered.

The catch?  CBC will not allow employees to do the same, even though the law also allows them to give employees the contribution exemption. A decision that directly contravenes the agreement on the 50/50 sharing of pension surpluses negotiated in 2009. Need we underline that this agreement was reached after some 20 years of litigation before the courts. The purpose of this agreement was precisely to ensure that any surplus would benefit both the employees and the employer.

CBC claims unilaterally that this agreement, for which no expiry date was negotiated, should have ended in 2019. A position that was challenged jointly by all the CBC unions as well as the Pensioners Association: after many discussions on this subject, the issue is now before an arbitration board. We pointed out to the arbitrator that such a surplus situation could arise, hence the need to settle this dispute quickly.

While negotiations for the renewal of the collective agreements are currently taking place for some of the groups of employees, this decision by CBC reveals a deliberate lack of respect for its staff.

Rest assured that our respective unions will collaborate in the coming days to make the appropriate political and legal representations to CBC Management.