Canadian Manufacturing

Cape Breton call centre gets $2.4M payroll rebate to hire 270 workers

In its news release, NSBI said for every dollar a company spends on payroll from jobs created in the province, it receives between five and 10 cents back

February 4, 2019  The Canadian Press

HALIFAX – A Cape Breton call centre that was recently given new life by an Iowa-based businessman is in line for a $2.4-million payroll rebate from the province if it creates another 270 jobs over three years, bringing the total workforce to 750.

Under an agreement with Nova Scotia’s arms length business agency, NSBI, Sydney Call Centre Inc. would be eligible for a smaller rebate if it creates fewer jobs than the 750 overall target.

Anthony Marlowe bought the former ServiCom call centre in December in a court auction that was part of the company’s bankruptcy proceedings in the United States. He outbid two other interested buyers and offered $1.5 million for the idled operation that had thrown about 600 people out of work.

In an emailed response Monday, Marlowe said it was always his intent to apply for the business incentive.

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“Leading up to the purchase we verified that we would be eligible, like any other new Nova Scotia business, to apply for a payroll rebate, which we did post purchase,” said Marlowe, who reopened the call centre last month.

“We advised Nova Scotia that we were going to move forward with opening in good faith for the workers and clients, despite Nova Scotia not having fully reviewed our application, and we requested that be strongly considered during the process to approve the payroll rebate.”

In mid-January, Marlowe confirmed that about 480 workers had returned to the operation. He also said that he has plans to further expand the call centre and hire an additional 50 full-time equivalent positions by the spring.

He also said the call centre had retained all of its major clients, including OnStar and AT&T, despite the bankruptcy proceedings.

Marlowe’s company, MCI, had been in negotiations to buy the call centre in the weeks before its sudden closure Dec. 6.

The purchase was a relief to a community that has suffered from chronic high unemployment.

In its news release, NSBI said payroll rebates are only paid after a business has generated actual payroll for the Nova Scotia economy.

It said for every dollar a company spends on payroll from jobs created in the province, it receives between five and 10 cents back.


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