Bell Canada deal results in job creation

Published Thursday October 16th, 2008 - Telegraph Journal

MONCTON - The ICT Group is set to add 550 new employees at its call centres in Saint John, Riverview and Miramichi.

The expansion is the result of a new deal with Bell Canada.

The provincial government is providing financial support to the ICT Group to help with employee training and capital costs associated with its expansion, said a government source.

The amount of government assistance was not disclosed.

Minister of Business New Brunswick Greg Byrne will announce the jobs at a news conference this afternoon, along with Brian Fitzpatrick, director, client care with Bell Mobility; Gail Lebel, senior vice-president, global human resources, for ICT Group; and Riverview Mayor Clarence Sweetland.

"In the last year the minister of Business New Brunswick and the premier met with officials from Bell Canada several times to discuss the possibility of establishing part of its client care operations here in New Brunswick," said the source.

Newtown, Pa.-based ICT employs more than 900 people at its three locations in the province.

The new call centre jobs are the result of the provincial government's "aggressive investment attraction strategy," said the source.

"Those efforts have come to fruition thanks to a strong partnership between the province, Bell Canada and the ICT Group."

Bell is Canada's largest communications company.

It provides telephone services, wireless communications, high-speed Internet, digital television and voice over IP.

The ICT Group provides customer management and business process outsourcing solutions.

The government source said the call centre jobs will help the province continue to diversify its economy.

The announcement comes as the global financial markets continue to be in turmoil, raising questions about the security of service industry jobs in the event of a worldwide economic slowdown or recession.

"These negotiations have been on-going through the slowdown in the U.S," said the source. "Targeting certain sectors where New Brunswick has a competitive advantage is our strategy currently and that strategy has been working."