The provincial New Democrats are urging the Liberal government to release details of a $220-million agreement with Cisco Canada to create 1,700 jobs, in light of the international company laying off 6,000 workers worldwide.
NDP critic MPP Wayne Gates said when the party asked for a copy of the contract between the high-tech firm and the province that several pertinent sections were censored.
“We need to know that when the Ontario government invests in companies we have an ironclad job-creation guarantee. We don’t want to see public dollars go to companies closing up shops and leaving people out of work,” Gates said at Queen’s Park Friday.
Cisco announced Wednesday it will lay off up to 6,000 workers, or 8 per cent of its workforce, as part of a restructuring plan, but has refused to say specifically whether jobs will be lost at its Ontario operation.
“Not all business units or business entities within Cisco will be affected. Cisco has approximately 1,600 employees currently based in Canada. Cisco provides impacted employee numbers as required by local laws and regulations. Beyond that, Cisco does not comment on details of its job actions,” the company said in a statement.
Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid assured reporters earlier Friday that none of the $220 million announced last December has been given to Cisco, explaining that job-creation targets have to be met before that happens.
“We have been in touch with Cisco and I can assure that we have been told that there will be little if any impact at all in Ontario. It will not in any way affect our partnership to create those 1,700 new jobs,” Duguid said.
“It is important to note that we have strict performance measures in place that hold companies to account for the number of jobs and the timetable for the creation of those jobs. In this case there is nothing at risk,” he said.
Gates asked why, if that’s the case, the government is refusing to release information in the contract.
“What I am asking is to be open and transparent so we can read it . . . what we are saying is give us the full content of the agreement,” said the former Niagara Falls union leader, adding that restructuring “means one thing — jobs loss.”
“We want to make sure that if job loss is going to happen they are not going to get taxpayers’ dollars.”