After reading a host of different opinions and rumours circulating the web, I took it upon myself to contact a friend of mine - who happens to be the Assistant Production Coordinator of the show. According to her, although it is true that the Republic of Doyle actors have gone home for the moment, the continuation of the show is currently dependent upon Season One's viewership - it has NOT been canned.
The pilot was shot in 2008, but was not aired as some of the actors were changed and the format of the show went from 1/2 hour to full hour episodes. So far, 12 hour long episodes have been shot (filming was done this past summer/fall and things were wrapped up just before Christmas) and (I would imagine) everyone involved is hoping there will be a Season Two to follow up Season One. I would assume they are cautiously optimistic, as episode one garnered closed to a million viewers but, no doubt, they realize that that number is just based on the one hour premiere of the show and could change.
To sum it up and (hopefully) lay the mixed understandings and rumours to rest:
1. The show as it is airing is NOT the pilot but the actual show
2. There are 12 episodes in Season One, of which we have seen the first
3. The actors have gone home, but are on standby to come back as soon as they get the go ahead for Season Two
4. Season Two is dependent on viewership of Season One
5. Hence, if we continue to watch there could be many more seasons to come
There, I've done my part to clear the air...