After a decade on the air, the CBC announced recently that it will axe its weekly disabilities documentary TV show, Moving On.
Declining ratings are being blamed, but the Canadian Media Guild (CMG), the union representing workers at the show, says the cancellation reflects just how far off the radar disabilities issues have fallen.
Says CMG spokesperson Karen Wirsig , "The political pressure is off, unfortunately. It's in that context that the show is being cancelled, and it's a tragedy."
Three producers and a number of administrative staff will be reassigned to local or regional news and current affairs programs, which will have different disability themes, according to CBC spokesperson Jeff Keay . He adds that the network sees this approach as the best way to gain increased exposure for disabilities issues.
"Our thinking is that we can actually get that kind of content to a much broader and larger audience than by putting it all in one particular show," he says.
The Centre for Independent Living in Toronto (CILT), a disability resource org, wonders what will happen to viewers who relied on the show as their main link to the disabled community.
"It was one of the only sources of information for people who are isolated and don't live in large urban centres," says CILT's executive director, Sandra Carpenter .
The CMG is calling on the CBC to reinstate the show, whose final scheduled episode will air sometime in June.
"When you have a unit that's focused on doing stories and interesting reporting about people with disabilities, you can get beyond that nice little human interest story you tack onto the end of the news," she says.
"You can really delve and pursue the issues and push the envelope on the coverage. It makes other broadcasters think about how they cover."