Sister Company Of The Toronto Star Just Filed For Bankruptcy – Too Broke To Pay Severance…

Sep 16, 2023

Add the legendary Toronto Star’s sister company, Nordstar, and all their subsidiary papers to the bankruptcy pile. BRING OUT YOUR (media) DEAD!

At least The Toronto Star wrote about their bankruptcy filing. Good form!

The Star: Metroland Media Group, the Toronto Star’s sister company, has sought bankruptcy protection and will cease the print publication of its weekly community newspapers across Ontario, moving to an online-only model.

The move involves 605 layoffs, nearly two-thirds of the workforce, the company said in an announcement Friday morning.

The proposal under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act will spare the company’s daily newspapers — including the Hamilton Spectator, Peterborough Examiner, St. Catharines Standard, Niagara Falls Review, Welland Tribune and the Waterloo Region Record — which will continue both in print and online.

The Toronto Star will also continue to operate, and is not part of the bankruptcy proposal.

“Metroland has faced substantial declines in both print advertising and the flyer business over the past several years, to the point where the community newspaper business is no longer viable in printed form. We simply don’t have the financial resources required to fund large, sustained operating losses indefinitely,” states an FAQ prepared by the company.

No termination or severance pay will be paid because “the Company does not have sufficient funds,” according to the FAQ.

“Affected Employees will have the opportunity to file a claim in the course of the restructuring process for the amounts that they are owed by Metroland.”

In response to questions, Metroland spokesperson Bob Hepburn said the company is hopeful the bankruptcy process will “provide all of the affected staff with an opportunity to recover some of the loss they are suffering in the way of lost termination and severance pay.”


“Opportunity to file a claim” to get their rightful severance packages. LOL. That’s rich.

No one buys newspapers, watches TV, or listens to the radio anymore. This isn’t just about online vs. print. This is about years of mismanagement, changing habits, and people’s cell phones with a little Google and Meta mixed in.

Traditional media in Canada is like that bug on your windshield that won’t wash off no matter how often you hit the windshield washer button. Canada is a very closed media country with little or no competition for ad dollars while trying to convince the rest of the country the internet and on-demand content don’t exist.

Google and META hoover up everyone’s ad dollars. That’s fo sho. There’s no denying the competitive advantage of Google and Meta’s ability to get LTOs and Targeted User Acquisition ads into your feeds at a fraction of the cost of a traditional buy. But, these layoffs are a statement of claim against a dead and dying industry run by snake oil salespeople who thought they could cut their way to shareholder dividends. Traditional operators chose to ignore the future, employee rights, and good content instead of asking the janitor if he wouldn’t mind writing a few pieces a week on sanitary engineering so they could save a salary or two. It happens in Radio and TV too. Bell shut off a few radio stations last year; the National Post and Post Media are hanging on by a thread, and TV stations in Toronto are just simulcasting their TV news on applicable radio stations.

2023/24 offers the confluence of the perfect media storm. Shit content/digital dominance by big tech/Canadian government that shovels billions in subsidies to media outlets who love money for nothing doesn’t motivate owners of traditional outlets to do a better job. So they didn’t.

Older folks who cannot log onto the internet are not a key demo for any media corp, so it makes business sense to move everything online. I get that part. But firing 605 people – some with 30+ years of service – without severance is just fucking gross. Nordstar has the money to do the right thing. They’re just choosing not to, so they filed for bankruptcy.  Bad business people do bad things, and the traditional media landscape in Canada is full of assholes.





Dean Blundell

Dean Blundell is a Canadian radio personality. Best known as a longtime morning host on CFNY-FM (The Edge) in Toronto, Ontario. In 2015 he was named the new morning host on sports radio station CJCL (Sportsnet 590 The Fan). Dean started his career in radio in 2001 and for nearly 20 years been entertaining the radio audience. Dean’s newest venture is the launch of his site and podcast which is gaining tremendous momentum across North America.

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