Back to Leadership posts
April 4, 2024

Facts matter

The facts about Bell’s restructuring

As some distort the truth, here are the facts about Bell’s restructuring as announced on February 8.

  1. We are supporting each affected team member
  • Bell is supporting each affected team member with a fair severance package, career transition services and continued access to health benefits.
  • The decision to restructure and say farewell to talented team members is difficult, yet necessary given the current economic, competitive and regulatory conditions.
  1. We made changes across Bell – less than 10% of reductions were at Bell Media
  • We reduced 4,800 positions across Bell, at all levels of the company, including voluntary departures and by eliminating vacant positions.
  • Less than 10% - or 440 - of those affected positions were at Bell Media.
  • Bell’s June 2023 restructuring affected 1,300 positions across all parts of the business.
  • Numerous companies in Canada and globally, including most of our direct communications and media competitors, have also made difficult decisions to restructure.
  1. We actively engaged with Unifor throughout the process - and continue to do so
  • Bell obtained Unifor’s consent to offer voluntary severance packages to the majority of unionized employees affected by the restructuring.
  • The restructuring across Bell affects approximately 800 Unifor members. We expect the majority of these unionized employees will leave voluntarily with a voluntary severance package.
  • Bell is meeting all our obligations under the respective collective bargaining agreements.
  1. We worked with Unifor in advance of meeting with employees
  • In advance discussions with Unifor representatives, they did not raise any concerns about having virtual meetings with employees.
  • Before proceeding with unionized employee layoffs on March 20, Bell conducted a three-hour meeting with Unifor to explain the process by which unionized employees would be offered a voluntary severance package or would be laid off.
  • Virtual meetings were designed to respect employees’ working conditions, such as working from home, as enshrined in their collective bargaining agreement.
  • On March 20, as pre-planned with Unifor, Bell initiated calls with groups of unionized employees to give notice of upcoming changes, ensuring employees with the same roles learned of the news at the same time.
  • Departing employees then had individual meetings with a Human Resources representative to discuss their individual packages. They also had the option to invite a union representative to the meeting.
  1. We deliver more news
  • Bell Media far exceeds its regulatory obligations for local news. We air more than 25,000 hours of local news per year – 150% more than the CRTC requires.
  • CTV now airs more original national newscasts than at any point in the network’s 60+ year history with production up more than 70%, or 120 hours per year. 
  • CTV National News, for the first time in its history, will soon have journalists telling stories from all 10 provinces. There will also be 35% more CTV National News correspondents than prior to our last two restructurings.
  • CTV News Channel, CP24 and BNN air 20,000 hours of news per year – 300% more than the CRTC requires.
  • W5 will continue to build on its longstanding investigative reporting as it evolves from a standalone documentary series to become a multi-part, multi-platform investigative reporting unit for CTV news platforms including CTV National News.
  • In 2021, Bell Media launched Noovo Info, the first new Canadian broadcast news outlet in years that brings a new perspective to the French-language news market. Bell Media hired a team of francophone journalists to broadcast news in five markets across Québec on TV, radio and online. Since then, the Noovo Info newsroom has grown by 25%.
  • Bell Media invests $1.7 billion per year in content and programming, including $275 million in news.
  • Despite these significant investments, CTV conventional stations lost more than $180 million last year. Bell Media loses more than $40 million per year on news.
  1. We are investing in digital news
  • To better serve audiences who expect around-the-clock access to news on digital platforms, CTV publishes approximately three times more news stories on an average day than when Bell acquired it 13 years ago.
  • CTV News has launched its first-ever Free Advertising-Supported Television (FAST) channel, giving viewers more choice to watch the news on digital platforms.
  1. We have a unique shareholder base that includes our employees
  • All Bell employees, including Unifor members, can participate in BCE’s employee stock purchase program, and therefore become company shareholders.
  • BCE’s shareholder base is unique in Canada as individual investors own 46% of the company, largely as part of their investment and retirement planning.
  • Institutional investors, such as large Canadian pension funds that manage federal, provincial and municipal public pension plans, own the remainder of our shares. This means many public sector workers, such as nurses and teachers, benefit from BCE stocks.
  • BCE shareholders include institutions that manage mutual funds that many Canadians hold in their retirement savings.
  • To attract capital to fund significant investments in network expansion, news and content, we need to grow revenue, earnings and dividends every year. If Canadian companies do not attract investment, the capital will go elsewhere.
  1. We pay almost $2 billion per year in regulatory fees and contributions
  • Bell pays almost $2 billion a year in federal regulatory fees and contributions.
  • In contrast, Amazon, Disney, Netflix and other streaming giants – each many times larger than Bell – pay nothing. This, despite the billions in revenue they earn from Canadian consumers.
  1. We need regulations that keep up with the rapid pace of change
  • Canada’s traditional media sector is in crisis due to changing consumer habits, technological disruptions, shifting advertiser demand and vigorous competition from foreign streamers and global web giants that are not subjected to the same costly regulations as Canadian broadcasters.
  • Technology and viewing habits have permanently changed Canada’s media sector. What worked for Canadian broadcasters 10, or even a couple of years ago, no longer works today.
  • The speed of change is striking, yet Canadian regulations have been too slow to adjust to the massive challenges facing the industry. The Online Streaming Act took three years to develop and still has not been implemented.
  1. We are always willing to speak with policymakers
  • Bell will appear before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on April 11 to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing our industry.
  • Bell confirmed its attendance for April 11 as soon as we became aware of the Committee’s discussion on the matter.
  • At no time did we refuse to appear before the Committee.

Bell Logo