Quebecor Overhauls Ontario Operations

By: E&P Staff

Following last week’s announcement that it will move and modernize production and packaging of Le Journal de Montreal (E&P Online, Aug. 25), Canada’s Quebecor Inc. said it will invest $110 million (Canadian) in its Ontario operations, where it will consolidate printing at a new facility in Islington, converge its Sun Media properties (Toronto Sun, Canoe.ca, 24 hours, and SUN TV), and create a Quebecor-Ontario Advisory Board.

“Our intent is to take the Toronto Sun back to its community roots with the benefit of a revitalized multimedia platform. Our objective is to provide our audiences with a unique media environment that they will find stimulating on many different levels,” Quebecor President and CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau said in a statement.

Quebecor also said it will soon announce “a number of high-profile media personalities” who will join the Sun to ensure its role as a unique voice of the city and the province.

Consolidation of newspaper printing operations at the new production plant — to be operated by a new entity co-owned by Quebecor Media and Quebecor World, and serving both their customers — will create 200 positions but eliminate 320 existing jobs.

According to the Communications Energy and Paperworkers Union, the move will cost as many as 180 jobs in London when printing at the Free Press there ends. CEP Ontario Vice President Cecil Makowski said in a statement that the “decision will result in losses for Ontario’s economy and a poorer quality London Free Press, which will sacrifice timeliness for local news in favor of centralized printing.”

Richard Leitner, president of CEP Local 87M, the Southern Ontario Newspaper Guild, called the Free Press “highy profitable,” and said the action “reflects the absentee landlord mentality that is all too common in Canada’s media conglomerates today.” Quebecor acquired the 156-year-old Free Press in 1997.

In addition to printing the Toronto Sun, London Free Press, and 24 hours in full color, the new plant’s automated MAN Roland presses will handle Quebecor commercial work, including a C$900 million contract to produce 100% of U.S. publisher Yellow Book’s directories.

Not two years old (the first edition was in Montreal; the latest in Vancouver), 24 hours is a free commuter daily, heatset-printed on glossy paper and designed for the day’s news to be read in about 20 minutes.

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