Rogers, Bell and Telus received over $240 million from the government’s wage subsidy program, according to a new report from The Toronto Star.
As part of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program, Bell received $122.9 million, Rogers collected $82.3 million and Telus received $38.6 million. The report outlines that the carriers received the support payments while they paid out billions in dividends to shareholders.
Bell and Rogers have also laid off employees at their media divisions since the start of the pandemic. In November 2020, Rogers Sports and Media cut jobs amid a shift towards the streaming and digital entertainment spaces.
More recently, Bell Media laid off more than 200 employees last week. The layoff impacted several news outlets across Canada, practically wiping out Toronto’s Newstalk 1010, Montreal’s CJAD 800 and several other local newsrooms. TSN also saw cuts, notably Dan O’Toole of SC with Jay and Dan.
The Star reports that the Big three have continued to pay out regular dividends to shareholders amid the pandemic. Further, Bell and Telus have also announced increases to their annual payouts.
The report outlines that economists have said that the way the CEWS program is designed has some flaws. In these cases, the program isn’t exactly providing targeted support for employees whose jobs are at stake and is instead benefiting shareholders.
You can read the full report from The Toronto Star here.
Source: The Toronto Star