Cisco deal could bring 2,000 jobs to Kanata

Santa delivered an early gift to Ottawa Friday morning, and it’s not something you can pick up at a sidewalk sale.

Nearly 2,000 high tech jobs are expected to come to Kanata in the next decade.

It’s part of a blockbuster $4 billion 10-year agreement between the province and Cisco, creating up to 5,000 jobs across Ontario by 2023.

The positions will focus on research and development (R&D) for the first six years; the investment includes up to $2.2 billion in salaries alone.

It’s “hard to give specific numbers right now, but a significant number of those new jobs will be resident in our R&D facility in Kanata,” said Cisco spokeswoman Karin Scott.

Four hundred people currently work at the west Ottawa location.

Roughly 1,700 positions at the top-rated information technology company are expected to be generated in Kanata and Toronto by 2021, bringing the headcount to 3,000 in Ontario.

The deal was announced Friday by Premier Kathleen Wynne at Cisco’s Toronto headquarters, with energy minister and Ottawa West-Nepean MPP Bob Chiarelli videoconferencing in from their development centre in Kanata.

The announcement signals “a major vote of confidence in the talent and creativity of the Ottawa region’s technology workers,” Chiarelli said.

“Ottawa’s technology hub plays an integral role in placing Ontario among North America’s industry leaders.”

The province is throwing in a grant of up to $220 million to support the project, though the company must hit specific investment and job targets.

“This announcement builds on our existing partnership and our mutual commitment to drive productivity and create new economic opportunities through innovation,” said Cisco Canada president Nitin Kawale.

The partnership will create “high value jobs that will stimulate the economy.”

Ontario is expected to become one of the network equipment maker’s global R&D hubs for its next generation technologies.

”Cisco’s investment positions Ontario as an undisputed leader in the global tech industry,” said minister of economic development, trade and employment Eric Hoskins.

“We’re sending a message to the world that Ontario is the best place anywhere for business to innovate, grow and create jobs.”

This marks the largest job-creating investment in the province’s tech sector.

About 250,000 people are employed by Ontario’s information and communications technology industry, representing nearly half of the Canadian jobs in that sector, and ranking third in North America, behind California and Texas.


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