/ #layoffs #merger 

Postmedia to close Metro Ottawa and eight area community papers

The Stittsville News is one of eight local community papers that will be closed after a swap between Postmedia and Torstar. (File photo)

Nine Ottawa-area newspapers will be shuttered after a trade between Canada’s two largest newspaper chains.

The swap, announced Monday, saw Postmedia Network Canada Corp. acquire the local newspapers from Torstar Corp. In the deal, Postmedia acquired from Torstar 22 community papers and two commuter dailies and Torstar received from Postmedia 15 community papers and two commuter dailies.

The Ottawa newspapers that Postmedia will close:

  • Metro Ottawa;
  • Kanata Kourier-Standard
  • Nepean/Barrhaven News
  • Orleans News
  • Ottawa East News
  • Ottawa South News
  • Ottawa West News
  • Stittsville News
  • West Carleton Review

Postmedia said it would close all newspapers it gained in the deal, except one in Exeter, Ont. Other papers that will be closed include the Belleville News, Kingston Heritage and Quinte West News

The closures will happen by mid-January and are happening in markets served by multiple publications. Postmedia is the owner of the Ottawa Citizen and Ottawa Sun.

About 200 community paper and 50 Metro employees will be laid off, the Torstar-owned Toronto Star reported. All will receive severance packages.

“Down side to working in journalism, your lay off is announced by press release,” tweeted Ryan Tumilty, the managing editor of Metro Ottawa “Thanks everyone for their warm wishes already. I am going to be fine.”

The deal is effectively a non-cash transaction as the involved assets have similar values, the companies said. It is not subject to regulatory clearance or merger notification provisions under the Competition Act.

“What makes this particularly difficult is that it means we will say goodbye to many dedicated newspaper people," said Paul Godfrey, Postmedia CEO, in a news release. “However, the continuing costs of producing dozens of small community newspapers in these regions in the face of significantly declining advertising revenues means that most of these operations no longer have viable business models.”

Four of the 17 papers Torstar acquired will continue operating. Papers to be closed by Torstar include the Barrie Examiner, 24 Hours Toronto and 24 Hours Vancouver.


Devyn Barrie

Devyn Barrie is the publisher and editor of OttawaStart.com. He currently studies math and physics at the University of Ottawa, and holds a diploma in journalism from Algonquin College.