On the heels of cost-cutting news from broadcasters Canwest and CTV recently, CBC/Radio-Canada president Hubert Lacroix sent a missive to staff Friday sketching out a few ways the public broadcaster intends to reduce costs.

CBC and its French arm, Radio-Canada, are not immune to the current financial climate, Lacroix wrote in an all-staff memo.

"We will need to adapt to changing conditions and circumstances to see our way through these tough financial times," he warned. "Our revenue streams are taking a hit; we are currently projecting a deficit in our television operations, though not to the extent of our competitors; and our levels of federal funding are never guaranteed."

Still, Lacroix emphasized that "where others are contemplating and predicting layoffs, we are looking to put in place and push forward with solutions that won't involve cutting jobs. Changing circumstances might over time challenge us in this regard — it's impossible to predict what exactly is to come — but I want you to know that we're putting our people first in all of this."

According to Lacroix's letter, CBC will:

  • Review all plans for capital expenditures to determine whether they can be deferred or cancelled.
  • Review all new hires on a case-by-case basis at the vice-presidential level.
  • Significantly reduce expenditures for travel, hospitality, overtime and other areas.

"In other words, if it's discretionary, it's gone. If it's anything less than a bona fide requirement, it's gone. If it's not absolutely strategic, it's gone," he said, adding that more details and guidelines will be available from managers shortly.

Lacroix also called on staffers themselves to come up with ideas on how their respective departments could cut costs.

"If we stay true to our values, work together to push for results, and serve Canadians as well as we know we can, I believe that we might even emerge from these times a much stronger and better company, with an even more meaningful and relevant brand," he said.

Private sector broadcasters are already facing difficulty because of declining ad revenue.

On Tuesday, CTV staff learned of cost-cutting measures ranging from a hiring freeze to predicted layoffs. The news came in a memo from CTV CEO Ivan Fecan, who is also president and CEO of the TV broadcaster's parent company, CTVglobemedia.

Last week, rival media giant Canwest Global Communications announced it will be cutting five per cent of its workforce, including 210 broadcasting and 350 publishing jobs.