CBC discreetly announces more executive bonuses
CBC discreetly announces more executive bonuses

The CBC quietly approved another round of bonuses for its executives and non-unionized staff, despite recent layoffs and struggling viewership. The announcement comes only days after the House of Commons closed for summer recess. 

According to the state broadcaster’s latest annual review published last month, bonuses will be given for the 2023-24 fiscal year, however, no exact figures were given as to how much this round of bonuses will cost taxpayers. 

“There’s no way taxpayers should be paying for another round of CBC bonuses,” said Franco Terrazzano, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation in a press release

“And it’s a little suspicious the CBC chose to quietly publish this news days after Parliament broke for summer and after CBC President Catherine Tait was routinely grilled by MPs on this very topic for months.”

Internal documents obtained by the CTF revealed that $14.9 million in bonuses were doled out last year, despite the state broadcaster cutting 346 jobs in 2023. 

A total of $114 million in bonuses has been given out by the CBC since 2015 and the state broadcaster is slated to receive $1.4 billion in taxpayer money this year, breaking all previous funding records. 

That figure does not include the additional $42 million it received from the Trudeau government in top-up funding, following CBC President Catherine Tait’s complaints that it suffered from “chronic underfunding.” 

True North contacted the CBC to ask why such high bonuses were being given out while employees were also being laid off.

“Decisions about performance pay are taken every year in June, at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Directors. It followed the Board’s review of the Corporation’s performance for 2023–2024 fiscal year, which ended March 31, 2024,” responded director of media relations Leon Mar.

Government departments, Crown corporations, and most private companies use performance pay (also called “at-risk pay”) as a portion of compensation for non-union employees to help ensure delivery on specific targets,” said Mar.

True North asked what Canadian taxpayers can expect to pay for the next round of bonuses.

“The total amount of performance pay is part of the internal financial operations of the Corporation,” said Mar. 

The CTF filed a formal complaint with the Office of the Information Commissioner in response to CBC’s continued stonewalling of bonus records in May.

While discussing exceeding its digital engagement targets in its annual review, the CBC said that “on average, each unique visitor to our sites spends 37.6 minutes every month with CBC/Radio-Canada digital services.” 

That averages to about less than 90 seconds per day by those who visit the CBC’s website. 

With users spending less than two minutes per day consuming the broadcaster’s content, 1,194 non-unionized CBC staff received approval for another bonus.

Tait earns between $472,900 and $623,900 annually, including salary, bonus and other benefits, according to its senior management compensation summary. 

A House of Commons heritage committee meeting was abruptly halted in May by Liberal MPs after CBC CEO Catherine Tait refused to disclose her taxpayer-funded performance bonus.

However, Hubert Lacroix, Tait’s predecessor, told a Senate committee in 2014 that his annual bonus was “around 20%.”

“The Board and the Senior Executive Team acknowledge the views expressed by some that performance pay should not be awarded at CBC/Radio-Canada in times of financial pressures and associated workforce reductions,” reads the annual review.

“As a result, the Board of Directors, on the recommendation of the President and CEO and the Senior Executive Team, is launching a comprehensive review of the Corporation’s compensation regime, including performance pay.”

CBC said the review will be conducted by a third-party human resources consulting firm and its results will be made public, however, no details were provided on how much this review will cost taxpayers. 

“The CBC doesn’t need to waste more tax dollars reviewing its bonus scheme, it needs to end the bonuses for good,” said Terrazzano. “If Tait isn’t willing to do the right thing, then the heritage minister, finance minister or Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must step in and stop these taxpayer-funded bonuses.”

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