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Budget fails to save local news

  (February 27, 2018)

 OTTAWA, Feb. 27, 2018 /CNW/ - Funding announced in today's federal budget will help broadcast media, but fails to save local news said Unifor, the union representing 12,000 media workers nationwide.

"The financial increase to the Canada Media Fund will help provide much needed revenue to broadcasting in general, but I'm disappointed that this budget provides no aid for local news, which is in imminent danger," said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. "Canadian newsrooms have shrunk by at least 30 per cent in the last four years, with more newspaper closures and journalist layoffs expected to come, so solutions are needed now."

Unifor had recommended closing the digital loophole in the Income Tax Act to put online Google and Facebook advertising under the same rules as TV and print advertising, driving about $250 million back to Canadian news outlets starved for revenues.

The federal budget did offer several positives including a long-awaited first step towards universal pharmacare. "Today's announcement falls short but the Pharmacare Advisory Council is a start towards ensuring that patients no longer forego needed medication simply because they can't afford it," said Dias.

Several gender equity improvements were also announced including the new EI Parental Sharing Benefit which provides two-parent families, including adoptive and same-sex couples, with access to additional weeks of use-it-or-lose it leave.

"In addition to making it easier for women to return to work this extra leave will help to even out childcare responsibilities and break down gender-based parenting roles," said Dias.

While secondary parental leave is beneficial the union believes it is not a replacement for universal, affordable childcare and laments the lack of new funding for child care spaces.

Unifor welcomes the promise to implement policies and all future budgets using gender based analysis, proactive pay equity legislation, help for women entrepreneurs and investment in women in skilled trades.

The government failed to include just transition measures for workers impacted by climate change or significant measures to protect pensions. Unifor is pleased though to see the creation of the new Canada Workers Benefit, improvements to EI benefits for seasonal workers and investments to create better opportunities for Indigenous People.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.


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