The Union of Taxation Employees Acts to Combat Age and Gender Discrimination

September 15, 2022

Sisters, Brothers and Friends,

On August 15, 2022, Lisa LaFlamme announced in a Twitter video and subsequent news release that she was ousted as anchor of CTV National News.  In the video, she said she was ‘shocked and saddened’ by the decision.  “At 58, I still thought I had a lot more time to tell more stories that impact our daily lives”. "While it is crushing to be leaving CTV National News in a manner that is not my choice, please know reporting to you has truly been the greatest honour of my life, and I thank you for always being there," she said. 

Lisa LaFlamme started hosting the CTV National News broadcast in 2011.  She has worked for CTV News for 35 years, reporting from conflict zones and at the sites of natural disasters, among other places.

Ms. LaFlamme has had five Gemini award nominations in the Best News Anchor category, several Radio-Television News Directory Association of Canada (RTNDA) awards, and a Galaxi Award from the Canadian Cable Television Association.  She won ‘Best National News Anchor’ at the Canadian Screen Awards five times. In 2016, she was made a member of the Order of Ontario and she was also named an officer of the Order of Canada in 2019.

Lisa LaFlamme’s professionalism and work ethic is widely recognized and is a prominent figure who is a role model for so many women around the country.

Several media reported that Michael Melling, a senior executive at Bell Media/CTV News, had “asked who had approved the decision to ‘let Lisa’s hair go grey’”. Melling and LaFlamme also clashed over journalistic issues, the Globe and Mail reported.

In a statement, CTV’s parent company, Bell Media, said LaFlamme’s removal as anchor was a response to “changing viewer habits” and a “business decision”. Since then, there have been various statements made by Bell Media, all of which seem to be an attempt at damage control after a backlash from viewers over Lisa LaFlamme’s contract cancellation.

Mirko Bibic, President and CEO of BCE and Bell Canada, Bell Media’s parent company, has publicly supported this decision denying that it had anything to do with her age, gender or grey hair.

For several years now, the Union of Taxation Employees (UTE) has had a contract with Bell to provide cell phone services to our national officers and some of our staff.

I feel strongly that our union, as a progressive organization that fights every day to ensure that the rights of members of equity groups, including women, are respected, must not only voice its criticism of how and why Lisa LaFlamme’s contract was cancelled, but that we had to act as a tangible and visible sign of our commitment to our principles.

Accordingly, as UTE National President, I made a “business decision”.

After careful and thoughtful deliberation, I have decided to end our contract with Bell regarding the cell phones and to move our business to another service provider. I can assure you that I did not make this decision lightly. This process will be finalized as soon as possible.

I trust that you will understand and support this decision to send a strong message that the Union of Taxation Employees and its members will not tolerate abhorrent discriminatory practices at any level.

In Solidarity, 

Marc Brière's signature

Marc Brière
National President
Union of Taxation Employees