HALIFAX -- The Halifax Chronicle Herald issued layoff notices to 20 unionized newspaper employees Friday in a bid to cut costs and stem advertising losses.

Herald CEO Mark Lever said the move was made because of declining advertising and sluggish revenues.

"Newspapers across the country are being affected by a significant decline in national advertising," he said in a statement.

"These steps are necessary to ensure that Canada's last independently owned daily newspaper continues to serve Nova Scotians."

The company said the number of layoffs could be reduced if the union agrees to concessions on pension cost sharing, mileage and a planned wage increase.

The union representing employees in the newsroom could not be reached for comment.

Lever said the newspaper expanded its digital and print products, but they have not generated enough revenue to offset continuing ad losses.

He said employees affected by the layoffs will receive severance packages as stipulated under the union contract.