Global News lays off employees in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario

The new corporate logo of Corus is seen in this photo taken in Toronto in June 2018. The company's shares fell Wednesday after it reported its third-quarter earnings and cut its dividend. (Tijana Martin/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Nearly three dozen people in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario have been let go from their jobs at Global News this week, with its parent company placing blame on "the current economic and regulatory reality" for media organizations.

Twenty-five positions were cut in Western Canada, CBC News has confirmed. Thirteen were in Calgary, eight were in Edmonton, one was in Vancouver and three were in Lethbridge.

Three journalists were laid off in Global's Ottawa bureau and seven were laid off in Toronto, according to Unifor.

"It's devastating to see them go. They're professional journalists and a lot of them have worked there a long time and this industry can't afford to lose more journalists right now," said Randy Kitt, director of media at Unifor, in an interview.

"These are real people with families and their jobs that are so desperately needed in this country," he continued. "There should be supports for journalism that support these people and they're not there. That's the tragedy in in this."

Global News spokesperson Anna Arnone said the move comes as part of an ongoing evaluation of its business and an efficiency review across Corus.

She declined to offer specifics on which roles were targeted for cuts.

"These changes correlate with the current economic and regulatory reality we, and other media organizations, find ourselves in," Arnone said in an emailed statement.

"We are continuously working to improve the way we gather, produce and deliver award-winning content."

An internal memo distributed to Global News employees said the changes are "designed to prepare our news division for more economic pressure, as the industry continues to evolve, as larger international tech giants offer content and advertising platforms directly to Canadians, and monopolize the Canadian advertising landscape."

"We will continue to innovate and remain optimistic in our approach to gather and distribute important and engaging news to as many Canadians as we reach."

Rogers snags Warner Bros. Discovery rights

Last week, Corus announced it had been informed by Warner Bros. Discovery that some of its programming arrangements would not be renewed when they expire at the end of the year.

On Monday, Rogers said it had signed multi-year deals with NBCUniversal and Warner Bros. for their popular lifestyle and entertainment brands in Canada, including HGTV, the Food Network and others.

That will take effect in January 2025.

"We know [Global has] been struggling," said Kitt.

In April, Corus chief executive Doug Murphy said the company continues to reduce costs following job cuts and a programming reduction plan that began last year.

He said the company lowered expenses by 13 per cent, or $38 million, in its latest quarter that ended Feb. 29, and has slashed 15 per cent of costs, or $88 million, year-to-date.

Corus reported a loss attributable to shareholders of $9.8 million in what was its second quarter, as Murphy said there could still be lingering effects from last year's Hollywood strikes that caused an advertising slump

He also cited "other ongoing distortions in the advertising market, whether it be from the economy or increased competition."

Last month, Canada's broadcasting regulator granted Corus's request to ease some of its Canadian content spending requirements after the company warned of an increasingly dire financial situation.

The broadcaster had asked the CRTC to "urgently" make the changes last October, saying they would provide "much needed flexibility" amid programming and advertising uncertainty, as well as "severely constrained" finances.

Corus' stock closed down five cents, or 17.5 per cent, at 23.5 cents on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

Other broadcasters have slashed jobs this year amid financial concerns.

Bell Canada cited a lack of progress on its request for regulatory relief when it announced in February it would slash 4,800 more positions, sell 45 radio stations, end multiple television newscasts and cut other programming.