Ottawa announces assistance to support ‘vital’ media work

The federal government is providing financial assistance to media organizations to help journalists continue to work and to educate the public about the COVID-19 crisis.
The e premier Justin Trudeau made the announcement during his daily press conference Wednesday at his residence in Ottawa.

Trudeau said it was more important than ever for Canadians to have access to the latest information. He said his government was announcing new measures to support the “vital” work done by journalists.

In a press conference on COVID-19 with other cabinet members, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Steven Guilbeault, listed some of the actions taken by the federal government.

He announced that the advisory committee, which will work with the Canada Revenue Agency on the implementation of the tax measures that were announced in Budget 2019, is now formed.

In the shorter term, Mr. Guilbeault indicated that the “vast majority” of the $ 30 million planned by the government for a national awareness campaign on COVID-19 would be invested in the Canadian media, “whether on television, on the radio, in newspapers, in magazines or even online ”.

“So that the money invested in this campaign can provide some fresh air to our media, I have the assurance of my colleagues, ministers of health and public works, working on this file, that they will be paid quickly “, He said.

Also, a campaign by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the College of Family Physicians of Canada, coordinated by the Canadian Public Health Association, will be done with the media for wide dissemination.

Finally, the Minister of Heritage announced a “simplified application process” for the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Periodical Fund, so that the amounts for 2020-2021 will be paid in the coming weeks, rather than in the coming months.

This announcement comes in the wake of layoffs and closings in the news media community.

On Tuesday, the National Cooperative of Independent Information (CN2i) – which manages regional newspapers that were owned by Groupe Capitales Médias – announced measures resulting in 143 temporary layoffs.

The group is suspending the publication of print editions of all its newspapers from Monday to Friday.

The Saturday paper edition is however preserved, as are the activities for the creation and dissemination of content on its digital platforms.

The company said in a statement that the current crisis “causes a brutal and unprecedented drop” in its advertising revenue, which “leads it to make quick and painful decisions.”

A major newspaper network in Atlantic Canada has announced the closure of several publications, resulting in hundreds of layoffs.

The SaltWire Network has indicated that it hopes to relaunch these publications later this year.

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