Transcontinental will shed 180 jobs in December when it closes its printing plant in Boucherville, Que., citing reduced demand in its book, catalogue and magazine segment.
The Montreal-based commercial printer and media publisher said it is faced with overcapacity in some niche markets due to major structural changes in the printing industry.
At the same time, Transcontinental has invested heavily in new printing technologies that have made it more efficient and have augmented its production capacity, said Jacques Gregoire, senior vice-president of the magazine, book and catalogue group.
"To remain competitive in this changing market, Transcontinental management has thus made the difficult decision to close Transcontinental Boucherville," he said in a news release.
The facility prints Air Canada's En Route magazine and federal income tax forms.
The union representing workers at the facility said the new reality within the communications industry is that Canadians are increasingly using the Internet to file tax returns.
"Our members are all in shock and so are we," said Serge Berube, local president of Teamsters Canada.
"But some of our members noted that the plant had been on artificial life support for some years now."
Plant workers agreed in the last collective agreement to reorganize their work to limit the number of eventual layoffs following a major rationalization announced in February, 2009.
The Teamsters union intends to create a crisis team to help workers find new jobs.
Transcontinental, one of Canada's top media groups, is the largest printer in Canada and Mexico and the fourth-largest in North America with some 11,000 employees and revenue in 2009 of $2.4-billion.
In addition to commercial printing, it operates 150 websites and is a leading publisher of consumer magazines, French-language educational resources and community newspapers in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces.