Skip to content

Ad sales staff eliminated at Northern Ontario newspapers

Postmedia newspapers in North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury and Timmins have all lost their sales departments
Former Sault Star building on Old Garden River Road is shown in this file photo. Employees vacated the structure at the end of November 2020 and have been working from home ever since. The site is being converted to a 20-bed residential withdrawal management centre.

Advertising sales departments at the Sault StarSudbury Star and North Bay Nugget are the latest casualties of Postmedia Network Canada Corp.'s recent slow-slicing of its Canadian newspaper operations.

The latest staffing cut "eliminates sales staff entirely at the Kingston Whig-Standard, North Bay Nugget, the Star in Sault Ste Marie and the Sudbury Star," the Canadian website of the Communications Workers of America (CWA Canada) reported last week.

The Sudbury Star "is hoping to save the two sales jobs as the Northern Ontario Newspaper Guild (Local 30232) has jurisdiction language in its contract that prevents the layoffs," the union said.

The company has identified what it believes are three key growth areas:

  • digital advertising
  • digital subscriptions
  • parcel services

"Transformation initiatives for the year ahead include a combination of streamlining resources, product mix rationalization, outsourcing where possible and real estate divesture," Postmedia said on Jan. 12 as it announced its results for the three months ending Nov. 30, 2022.

"The company implemented cost reduction and transformation initiatives related to compensation expense reductions, real estate rationalization, production efficiencies and other programs, which are expected to result in approximately $19 million of net annualized cost savings."

In Sault Ste. Marie, Postmedia vacated its former Sault Star building at 145 Old Garden River Rd. at the end of November, 2020.

Since then, all staff have worked from home.

Under new ownership, the 30,000-square-foot newspaper building is being converted to a 20-bed residential withdrawal management centre.

On Jan. 24 of this year, Postmedia announced it intended to lay off 11 per cent of its 650 editorial workers. Hardly a week after that, Postmedia said it would sell the office and printing plant of its Windsor Star daily, resulting in the loss of about 75 media jobs.

"Two weeks later, another axe fell, with 120 advertising sales staff on Postmedia’s chopping block," the CWA Canada website reported.

Postmedia and CWA Canada were asked by email and phone message to contribute to this article, but did not respond by time of writing. 

CWA Canada says its Sudbury local now has nine members working at the Sudbury Star, five in editorial positions. In 1990, the Sudbury Star had 36 journalists. By 2016, it had just nine.

CWA's North Bay Newspaper Guild has 14 members employed at The Nugget, only two in editorial.

In Timmins, the sales staff is also gone along with the sales manager/publisher. One Timmins editorial position was eliminated and the Timmins Press downtown building has been sold.

Last year, Postmedia stopped printing the Sault Star on Wednesdays and Fridays. The 111-year-old daily is now published on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays only.

— SooToday