Bell Cutting 4,800 Jobs, Blames Government for Losses

Bell, let’s talk. The company announced on Thursday it will cut 4,800 positions, marking the largest restructuring initiative the company has undertaken in nearly three decades.

These cuts will amount to 9% of all Bell employees in 2024, and will bring in-year cost savings between $150 million to $200 million, with an annualized saving of $250 million. The cuts include 750 contractor positions, said Bell.

The news comes alongside Bell’s Q4 earnings report, which saw a 3.9% increase in wireless service revenue, driven by 170,831 net subscriber activations. However, despite these gains, the company’s net earnings fell by 23.3% to $435 million in the quarter.

Bell also plans a minimum $500 million reduction in capital expenditures for 2024, citing federal government policies and CRTC decisions that have negatively impacted investment incentives. This adjustment will also see a rollback of the company’s fibre network expansion.

“The Bell team has demonstrated strong executional discipline and cost containment this quarter, enabling Bell to deliver solid results in Q4 and throughout 2023,” said Mirko Bibic, President and CEO of BCE and Bell Canada, in a statement.

Beyond the slashing of nearly 5,000 jobs? Bell Media will sell off 45 of its 103 radio stations to seven different buyers. This move is pending CRTC review and other closing conditions.

Bibic said the divested stations are expected to remain part of iHeartRadio Canada.

Bell’s chief legal and regulatory officer Robert Malcolmson, told The Canadian Press these job cuts and losses are blamed on the federal government, specifically Bill C-11, which is an update to the Broadcasting Act, which plans to have digital streaming services pay towards CanCon requirements.

“We hope they do that but we can’t wait two years for that to happen, so then you see actions like this today,” said Malcolmson, blaming the media division losses on the CRTC. Bell wants a fund that would subsidize news organizations.

Bell Media saw its advertising revenues fall by $140 million in 2023 compared to 2022, while its news division is losing over $40 million per year in an operating loss.

Previous job cuts from Bell include the closure of The Source headquarters. The slashing of jobs comes after the company’s annual Bell Let’s Talk mental health campaign, which took place on January 24. History definitely repeats itself it seems as we always hear about job cuts from Bell after this mental health initiative (that didn’t pay out 5 cents per social sharing this year).

Below you can see the list of Bell Media radio stations being sold, plus the buyers listed beside them.

British Columbia

  • CHOR-FM, Summerland – Vista Radio Ltd.
  • CJAT-FM, Trail – Vista Radio Ltd.
  • CKKC-FM, Nelson – Vista Radio Ltd.
  • CKGR-FM, Golden – Vista Radio Ltd.
  • CKXR-FM, Salmon Arm – Vista Radio Ltd.
  • CKCR-FM, Revelstoke – Vista Radio Ltd.
  • CJMG-FM, Penticton – Vista Radio Ltd.
  • CKOR-AM, Penticton – Vista Radio Ltd.
  • CJOR-AM, Osoyoos – Vista Radio Ltd.
  • CICF-FM, Vernon – Vista Radio Ltd.
  • CHSU-FM, Kelowna – Vista Radio Ltd.
  • CILK-FM, Kelowna – Vista Radio Ltd.
  • CKFR-AM, Kelowna – Vista Radio Ltd.
  • CKNL-FM, Fort St. John – Vista Radio Ltd.
  • CHRX-FM, Fort St. John – Vista Radio Ltd.
  • CJDC-AM, Dawson Creek – Vista Radio Ltd.
  • CKRX-FM, Fort Nelson – Vista Radio Ltd.
  • CFTK-AM, Terrace – Vista Radio Ltd.
  • CJFW-FM, Terrace – Vista Radio Ltd.
  • CHTK-FM, Prince Rupert – Vista Radio Ltd.
  • CKTK-FM, Kitimat – Vista Radio Ltd.

Ontario

  • CKLH-FM, Hamilton – Whiteoaks Communications Group Limited
  • CHRE-FM, St. Catharines – Whiteoaks Communications Group Limited
  • CHTZ-FM, St. Catharines – Whiteoaks Communications Group Limited
  • CKTB-AM, St. Catharines – Whiteoaks Communications Group Limited
  • CKLY-FM, Lindsay – Durham Radio Inc.
  • CKPT-FM, Peterborough – Durham Radio Inc.
  • CKQM-FM, Peterborough – Durham Radio Inc.
  • CFJR-FM, Brockville – My Broadcasting Corporation
  • CJPT-FM, Brockville – My Broadcasting Corporation
  • CFLY-FM, Kingston – My Broadcasting Corporation
  • CKLC-FM, Kingston – My Broadcasting Corporation
  • CJOS-FM, Owen Sound – ZoomerMedia Limited

Québec

  • CHRD-FM, Drummondville – Arsenal Media Inc.
  • CJDM-FM, Drummondville – Arsenal Media Inc.
  • CFEI-FM, Ste-Hyacinthe – Arsenal Media Inc.
  • CFZZ-FM, St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu – Arsenal Media Inc.
  • CIKI-FM, Rimouski – Arsenal Media Inc.
  • CJOI-FM, Rimouski – Arsenal Media Inc.
  • CFVM-FM, Amqui – Arsenal Media Inc.

Atlantic Canada

  • CIKX-FM, Grand Falls, N.B. – Maritime Broadcasting System Limited
  • CJCJ-FM, Woodstock, N.B. – Maritime Broadcasting System Limited
  • CKBC-FM, Bathurst, N.B. – Maritime Broadcasting System Limited
  • CKTO-FM, Truro, N.S – Maritime Broadcasting System Limited
  • CKTY-FM, [Location not provided] – [Buyer not provided]
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