Catherine Sherriffs isn’t coming back to CTV Montreal

Catherine Sherriffs

Catherine Sherriffs

Catherine Sherriffs, who left her job as late-night anchor at CTV Montreal a year ago to go on maternity leave, is not coming back.

Sherriffs, who was given the anchor chair in 2011 after Debra Arbec left for CBC, was scheduled to return to work earlier in July. But her position was not waiting for her. Instead, the station felt that the system it put in place when she left, having Mutsumi Takahashi anchor the noon and 6pm newscasts and Paul Karwatsky anchor at 6pm and 11:30pm, was “working very well the way it is,” explained CTV Montreal General Manager Louis Douville.

“We offered her another project, something new that we wanted to start experimenting with, and she didn’t see that as a fit to her new life,” Douville explained. He wouldn’t go into detail about what that position entails, but I understand it was an anchor-like position with a web focus.

Apparently that idea didn’t sit well with her, either because of the hours, which meant she would be going through rush-hour traffic to and from her home in the Laurentians (she grew up in Morin Heights), or because of the apparent demotion, or both.

My attempts to contact Sherriffs for comment have not yet been met with a response (her Facebook profile is locked down and she hasn’t posted anything to Twitter). I’ll update this if I hear from her.

Though CTV Montreal management would disagree, it’s hard not to see this as a forced demotion (at the very least it’s a forced reassignment). And worse, one that seems to come as an indirect result of a maternity leave. It’s that leave that put Karwatsky in the late-night chair and led to the decision to keep him there.

Douville insists that the decision was made “in the last (few) months” and had not been planned before Sherriffs’s leave.

“We love Catherine. She’s a fantastic employee and a great journalist,” Douville said. And indeed, there’s little reason to believe that this decision was in any way related to her performance in the anchor chair. Rather, it allows the station to go from having four anchors to three and save money.

Sherriffs graduated from Concordia University’s journalism program in 2007, and got her start in radio, working at CJAD. She joined CTV Montreal in 2009 as a reporter before being promoted to late-night anchor.

Sherriffs isn’t the only person leaving CTV Montreal. The station let go of its human resources manager this week, and is looking to cut its workforce by 10 to 12 people (out of about 100 total employees) over the coming months, as I explain in this story in The Gazette.

13 thoughts on “Catherine Sherriffs isn’t coming back to CTV Montreal

  1. Keith Rowe

    Unfortunately that’s the tragedy of capitalism- when a company or corporation has no more use of your talents, u are disguarded like an old pair of boots… They do not take into account of robbing an individual’s livelihood, what matters to them is the bottomline!!

  2. Steve W

    Her new re-assignment for Catherine Sheriffs at CTV Montreal, if she accepted would of been same pay? Would it be megabucks salary for local TV anchors working in Montreal English TV, like on local Toronto TV(several hundred grand annual salaries)?

    1. Fagstein Post author

      Her new re-assignment for Catherine Sheriffs at CTV Montreal, if she accepted would of been same pay?

      I did not discuss Sherriffs’s current or potential salary with the station’s management. For obvious reasons they don’t comment on that sort of thing.

  3. Mario D.

    I may be wrong but i think she would have a case if she was to file a complaint at the CSST. Unless the employee cannot take her old job back for medical reasons then she has the right to take her former job in the exact same conditions it was before she left.
    There may be details we do not know about the deal between her and CTV but in Quebec there are laws to protect workers and specially pregnant women.

    From what i read though it looks like CTV is taking advantage of the situation doesn`t it ?

    1. Fagstein Post author

      Unless the employee cannot take her old job back for medical reasons then she has the right to take her former job in the exact same conditions it was before she left.

      Not exactly. First of all, because this is a broadcasting company, it’s regulated federally. And the Canada Labour Code on maternity leave states that the employee is “entitled to be reinstated in the position that the employee occupied when the leave of absence from employment commenced.” However, “Where for any valid reason an employer cannot reinstate an employee in the position referred to in subsection (1), the employer shall reinstate the employee in a comparable position with the same wages and benefits and in the same location.”

      Lawyers could argue whether the new position would be equivalent to the old one, but if she received the same salary and benefits it could be OK.

      CTV Montreal’s union contract might also have language concerning maternity leave.

      1. Steve W

        BTW, is Tarah Schwartz returning back as a part-time reporter anytime soon for CTV Montreal? Before going on maternity leave she was CTV Montreal weekend anchor/reporter. She got her CTV Montreal weekend anchor job back, but has not gone back since as a CTV Montreal reporter(maybe it’s by choice, she chooses a less workload).

  4. Ted Duskes

    She is getting the shaft. This is “Bell at Work”. The only way for a Bell employee to have some protection in case of something similar to this is to own Bell stock. These guys do staff surgery with a meat cleaver. Not that they are not entitled to make money, but this is the new “Bell”. The older Bell was know for QOS and fair pricing and good relations with staff. This company has changed so dramatically – maybe it had to… it is just a shame to see how much power they have in the broadcasting industry. Way, way too much!
    We saw them shift their customer service lines to India and bring them back. When they became inflexible in their attitudes as it related to long term (55 years plus) clientss, I decided to drop as much as possible that was supplied by Bell. Between my business and my home, I was giving them over $3K per year. Now about $300 per year. I really dislike these guys. As for KS, I am sure she will find something somewhere – she is talented and has the qualities to make it elsewhere. Good luck to you, KS.

  5. Brandon

    I think it’s their loss. She was such a great news anchor. I was looking forward to her coming back. Such a shame to see her go

    1. ted duskes

      Yes, Fred…now if only TTP can get their act together there will be some semblance of competition in this market. I am tired of having to use the internet to get some other news talk station to listen to.

  6. Dilbert

    She certainly appears to be getting a serious going over from Bell. But you can see the writing on the wall for her and much of the rest of the local organization. While it’s may be of questionable legality, her maternity leave time allowed Bell to realize that they can run their newscasts with only two anchors for the full day, with no need to have a third person on payroll the accomplish the same end goal.

    Not to blame the victim, but Sherriffs choice to live further away from work may not work out well with the changes offered up by Bell. So for at least some of it, her own choices contribute to the situation. Maternity leave or not, put in the same position she may still have chose not work with Bell anymore.

    However, her loss is only a name and a face for a bigger problem, which is Bell’s continued efforts to shrink broadcasting back to profitability. Centralize more, remove more and more of the uniqueness of the local product, create generic clone stations, and see what happens…

    They can cut 10… or 20… or 90% of the staff for that matter. They are quickly reaching the point where it’s no longer important.

  7. Pingback: André Corbeil leaves CTV Montreal as job cuts reduce station’s workforce by 12 | Fagstein

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