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News Economy
Journalists’ association calls out trend of fewer full-time jobs in industry, cites critical role of press in society

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September 7, 2023
By Talent Canada

An offset press prints a newspaper in this file photo. Photo: Adobe Stock

The increasing state of precarious employment sweeping across the Canadian journalism industry is an issue that will lead to devastating social impacts if it’s not stopped, according to the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ)

“Journalists perform a critical role in democratic societies,” said Brent Jolly, CAJ president. “Without journalists, Canadians will become less informed about important news and current affairs. The intrepid work of journalists helps to hold the powerful at all levels of authority accountable.”

Calling the work crucial, the CAJ said it’s “disturbed” that fewer and fewer journalists have full-time jobs.

In one unnamed Canadian academic study, the CAJ said researchers interviewed more than 100 journalists who described persistent financial insecurity and anxiety about the stability of their jobs, it said.


The study found that the pressure to meet employer demands with few rights and little job security can result in significant negative emotional and mental health consequences for people without full-time jobs.

Diversity issues

Over the past two years, the CAJ’s Newsroom Diversity Survey found that much of the racial diversity in the industry is concentrated in more junior and precarious roles.

“In other words, visible minority journalists are more likely to be stuck in contract and part-time jobs,” it said.

The issue takes different forms and exists across many news organizations, and was recently highlighted once again in contract negotiations between TVO and its unionized employees.

Fundamental principle

Beyond any specific provisions in this or any other collective agreements or labour negotiations, however, there is a larger fundamental principle at play, according to the CAJ.

“The security and well-being of journalists as front-line employees is a critical component of a free and vibrant press,” Jolly said. “All journalists who aspire to full-time work deserve good jobs without having to worry about when their next contract or paycheck will arrive.”

The CAJ recognizes that the subject of employment security is a frequent topic of discussion and discontent amongst many of its members. As a matter of principle, the CAJ supports the view that journalists should have access to all the rights and benefits of full-time work whenever and wherever possible.

“Just as news organizations prepare to begin to negotiate with tech platforms for fair remuneration for their content, employers owe their employees a proper duty of care that reflects changing physical, digital, and economic security of journalists,” Jolly said. “These considerations must never be forgotten.”

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