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 bankruptcy 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.
“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.
According to a breakdown of the jobs affected, 104 unionized employees, including 68 journalists have been laid off, with the rest coming from non-unionized job categories.