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Canadian news agencies are closing physical offices and codifying remote work

TORONTO – Some of Canada’s newsrooms will now permanently exist in cyberspace as publishers seek to save money on physical offices in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Torstar is permanently closing physical offices for the Waterloo Region Record and St. Catharines Standard by the end of next month as the media follows industries like tech that have adopted remote working as the permanent standard.

The company says all employees in the two branches will work remotely permanently – on the same model as the Peterborough Examiner, which closed its offices last summer after the COVID-19 pandemic forced employees to work from home to work.

Torstar spokesman Bob Hepburn says there will be no changes in the number of employees or in print and digital products due to the closings of offices, which will allow the company to reduce its office space leasing costs.

Torstar’s decision comes amid a similar shift in the US and the UK, where the New York Daily News no longer has a physical newsroom and the publisher of the UK Daily Mirror is moving many employees from home to office centers.

A J-Source survey of Canadian Journalism Graduates for 2018 and 2019 found that nearly 57 percent of 122 respondents found it is either more difficult or much more difficult than normal to interact with employees in pandemic conditions.

This Canadian press report was first published on March 19, 2021.

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