OTTAWA — The federal government is planning to provide financial support to media organizations to keep journalists working and reporting on the COVID-19 crisis.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the plan during his daily appearance outside his Ottawa residence on Wednesday, adding details will be provided soon by Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault.
“Right now, it is more important than ever that Canadians have access to the latest news and information,” Trudeau said. “To ensure that journalists can continue to do this vital work, our government is announcing new measures to support them.”
The announcement follows the closure of numerous publications by one large newspaper chain in Atlantic Canada, resulting in hundreds of layoffs.
The SaltWire Network said in a statement that the moves were meant to preserve money after advertising revenues collapsed, but that it hopes to reopen the closed outlets later this year.
More than 140 employees of a co-operative that owns six daily newspapers outside Montreal were also temporarily laid off this week and the organization said it was ceasing print editions during the week.
The Cooperative nationale de l’information independante, or CN2i, said the layoffs were needed because of vanishing advertising revenues because of COVID-19.