(The Canadian Press)

(The Canadian Press)

CFL, CFL Players’ Association extend CBA amendment talks deadline

An abbreviated ‘20 season would call for each CFL team to play six regular-season games

The CFL and CFL Players’ Association will continue discussing amendments to their collective bargaining agreement that could allow for a shortened 2020 season.

Prior to the start of negotiations last month, the CFL imposed Friday as the deadline for CBA amendments, along with an extension of the deal past its 2021 expiry. It also wanted health-and-safety protocols and federal funding in place by Friday.

But the CFLPA told its members in a memo Friday the CFL has extended the deadline to next week as it awaits word on government assistance.

The CFL would also need to reach an agreement with broadcast partner TSN.

“We await a decision early next week from the federal government when we can work to finalize certainty of compensation for players who are committed to playing in the 2020 season,” the union wrote.

The extension of CBA talks was hardly surprising. Prior to the start of Friday’s session, the CFLPA issued a memo to its membership saying the two sides continue to discuss health-and-safety matters but hadn’t engaged in “meaningful discussions around pay.”

Two sources said any CBA amendments would be for staging an abbreviated ‘20 season and extending the deal past 2021. The CFL and its players must both sign off on any changes to the CBA for a 2020 season to be played.

The sources were granted anonymity as neither the CFL nor the CFLPA have commented publicly about the amendment talks.

Earlier this month, the CFL submitted a revised financial request to Ottawa for roughly $42.5 million in aid. In April, the league asked the federal government for up to $150 million in assistance in the event of a cancelled 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CFLPA, in its memo, stated, ” … but until the federal government makes a decision on financial support for the league, it is unlikely we will be able to finalize an agreement today (Friday).”

Trouble is, any government support would likely come after the CFL and CFLPA reached their agreement. That’s because the amended CBA would provide definite cost certainty as a requirement for the aid.

The CFL’s revised request will also need co-operation from the six provinces where its franchises are located. That’s because Ottawa is dealing with the league’s offer via the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), which is a federal agency but also a crown corporation.

Subsequently, the federal government can’t mandate financial assistance for the CFL.

The BDC is essentially a bank with lending criteria and the CFL is unlikely to qualify given its financial state. To secure financial assistance, the league would likely require the Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. governments to serve as guarantors on any funding provided.

That could be an issue as Ontario sports minister Lisa MacLeod has stated the province has no CFL-specific money and there are many other sectors also requiring government help.

Commissioner Randy Ambrosie has stated the earliest the ‘20 season would begin is September. But he’s also said a cancelled campaign remains a possibility.

If there is indeed a season, it will be staged in Winnipeg. On Tuesday, the league named the Manitoba capital its hub city, pending approval from provincial and federal public health officials.

Under the Manitoba government plan, CFL players and coaches would be in a bubble consisting of hotels, practice fields and a stadium. Players would have to isolate at home for 14 days prior to departing for Winnipeg, be tested for the novel coronavirus upon their arrival then go into quarantine for another seven days.

The general public won’t be allowed into CFL-dedicated hotels or IG Field. The Manitoba government says violations will “result in strict penalties, which could include players being sent home for the remainder of the season.”

An abbreviated ‘20 season would call for each CFL team to play six regular-season games. The expectation is the league will adopt a one-division format, with eight of nine teams qualifying for the playoffs.

The Grey Cup game also would be played at IG Field.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

CFL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(File photo)
Case of COVID-19 confirmed in School District 69 (Qualicum)

Individual was at PASS/Woodwinds, with a last date of attendance of Jan. 22

The Qualicum Beach Cafe team: from left, host owner Eli Brennan, general manager Amy Turner, host owner/chef Alan Tse, chef de cuisine Todd Bright, sous chef Jack Mitchell and pastry chef/baker Noemie Girard. (Submitted photo)
Fresh start: Qualicum Beach Cafe set to offer West Coast dining

New operators bring wealth of culinary, hospitality experience

Professional hockey goalie Connor LaCouvee of Qualicum Beach. (PQB News file photo)
Qualicum Beach goalie Connor LaCouvee joins AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners

Backstop returns to North America after stint in Slovakia

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo mountain with flares during icy rope rescue

Rescuers got injured hiker down Mt. Benson to a waiting ambulance Saturday night

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Most Read