NEWS
01/19/2016 13:31 EST | Updated 01/19/2017 00:12 EST

Postmedia cuts 90 jobs, merges newsrooms in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa

Newspaper chain Postmedia today announced sweeping changes to its operations, cutting 90 jobs across the country and merging newsrooms from multiple newspapers into one each in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa.

"We will continue to operate separate brands in each of these markets," Postmedia CEO and president Paul Godfrey said in a memo to staff Tuesday afternoon. "What is changing is how we produce these products."

The chain says two papers in those markets — the Sun and Province in Vancouver, the Herald and Sun in Calgary, the Journal and Sun in Edmonton, and the Citizen and Sun in Ottawa — will share newsroom resources, but continue to operate.

"Each city will have one newsroom," Godfrey said, and the two papers will be run by one editorial team.

At least 90 editorial jobs are being cut as a result of the process. "We will also be introducing a buyout program in the Vancouver and Ottawa newsrooms as part of this one newsroom initiative," the memo said.

Although the chain's two Toronto-based newspapers — the Toronto Sun and National Post — will remain separate, the sports departments are being merged into one.

Many of those affected took to Twitter to confirm they were among those who lost their jobs.

Postmedia's finances have been sagging for several quarters under a large debt load, much of which was accrued when the company bought the entire Sun chain of newspapers from Quebecor in late 2014 for $316 million.

According to the company's latest quarterly earnings report, Postmedia has almost $700 million worth of debt on its books.

Canada's competition watchdog the Competition Bureau gave its OK to the deal the following May, saying at the time the merger "is unlikely to substantially lessen or prevent competition."