Veteran journalist Lisa LaFlamme says she was "blindsided" when Bell Media told her she was being forced out at CTV National News. LaFlamme, 58, has covered Canadian news for over 30 years and joined CTV in 1997. As the anchor of CTV National News for over a decade, beginning in 2011, the Ontario native will now be replaced by national affairs correspondent Omar Sachedina, 39.
LaFlamme shared the surprising news herself on Twitter Monday, revealing that CTV's parent company told her that her contract would not be renewed on June 29. She was told to keep the news to herself until Bell Media and CTV were prepared to make a statement, which came on Monday. LaFlamme was "shocked and saddened" by CTV's decision.
I have some news... pic.twitter.com/lTe3Rs0kOA— Lisa LaFlamme (@LisaLaFlamme_) August 15, 2022
"At 58, I still thought I had a lot more time to tell more of the stories that impact our daily lives," LaFlamme said. "Instead I leave CTV humbled by the people who put their faith in me to tell their story... While it is crushing to be leaving CTV National News in a manner that is not my choice, please know reporting to you has truly been the greatest honor of my life, and I thank you for always being there."
In its own statement, CTV said the decision not to renew LaFlamme's contract was in response to "changing viewer habits," reports CBC News. They said it was strictly a "business decision." She will be replaced by Sachedina, a Vancouver-born journalist who joined CTV in 2009.
"I am honored to follow exemplary journalists, such as Lisa LaFlamme and Lloyd Robertson," Sachedina said in a statement. "The daily connections we make with Canadians over the past six decades are built on a foundation of trusted journalism, fairness, balance, and integrity. I look forward to upholding this, and continue delivering news that Canadians rely on."
LaFlamme started her career covering her hometown of Kitchener, Ontario at CTV's affiliate CKCO in 1988. She joined CTV in 1997 as a weekend anchor. In 2003, she was promoted to national affairs correspondent for CTV National News and took over the broadcast in 2011 after Lloyd Robinson's retirement. She received the Best National News Anchor award at the Canadian Screen Awards five times, including this year.
Other Canadian journalists were shocked to hear LaFlamme was forced out. "Oh, my this is a shocker. I am so sorry, my friend," Global National anchor Dawna Friesen wrote. "Since we started working together years ago at CTV I've watched you work your butt off and earn the respect of colleagues, competitors, and viewers. None of us last in these gigs forever but seems to me you deserve better than this."
"Oh no [LaFlamme], you have always been the best of field colleagues," CBC News chief correspondent Adrienne Arsenault wrote. "And such a hardworking passionate human and we have all benefited from your rigor and dedication. We have had some fantastic shoots eh? I am really really sorry to hear this."