Friday, October 2, 2009

It's Time To Stop The Bleeding....

Manulife Financial says it is in negotiations with CGI Group regarding the upcoming expiry of the $120 million outsourcing contract that was signed in the wake of the 2004 acquisition of Maritime Life. At that time 300 Maritime Life people were switched over to CGI in the aftermath of the deal that seen the demise of one of Halifax’s largest business institutions which had a head office payroll of 1,075 people. Manulife now have about 750 employees in Halifax while CGI has about 650 in Atlantic Canada most of whom are out of Halifax working on the Manulife account but there are over 100 people here on PEI working out of building in Stratford that the previous Binns Government built to suit CGI in 2006 which is still half empty. When big companies like this are in negotiations there is never any guarantees on what happens in the aftermath of such negotiations and let’s hope it does not impact CGI’s operations here on PEI. Now my guess is if you asked someone from CGI if there was going to be any aftermath on PEI they would say everything is alright but I can remember a few months ago when the local media called Starbucks after I said they were coming to Charlottetown and a trained Starbucks public relations person basically denied such. The big problem I see here is Government through CADC could be on the hook for another empty building in Stratford just like what is shaping up for the White Elephant the Binns Government built as the Atlantic Technology Centre that PEI taxpayers are now paying over a $1,000,000.00 a year to subsidize. Our Government spent over $26,000,000.00 to build the Tech Centre and today they got a recent “beefed up” appraisal at around $8,000,000.00 and I would bet my first child they couldn't get over $5,000,000.00 in today’s market so how’s that for Government being in the development business? Let’s all hope the negotiations with this US firm Manulife go well for CGI and jobs in Stratford get secured but in the meantime hopefully Government will get out of the property development business as they’re not very good at it. I understand the Ghiz Government has put their properties in the West Royalty Industrial Park up for sale which appears to be a good start at getting out of the business as most of their properties are "bleeding" red ink....


Anonymous said...


The aftermath has affected CGI operations in Stratford as some employees have been laid off, and have inquired with the organization I work for searching employment opportunities.

David Black said...

CGI shops the world for cheap I.T. labor and governments dumb enough to throw money at them so as to offset their operating costs.

Yes unfortunately, they are like most companies! And why not...a dollar saved is a dollar earned.

The Stratford building should never have been constructed as the ATC had plenty of space to house the number of Members CGI had in mind to hire. So instead of being on the hook for the initial costs of luring CGI to PEI, there is the added legacy of another white elephant to pay for and maintain, this time in Stratford.

Maybe Stratford should propose the Government use the CGI building to house the proposed PEI Museum? I's still not in PEI's centre of the universe, Charlottetown. Wait, there IS a building in Charlottetown that sits half empty & could house the PEI Museum; the ATC!

Wait, that would make too much sense. Nevermind.

On another note...Strange that the ongoing employee reductions at CGI have not been reported, whereas the initial fanfare of their arrival was reported!

David Black

Former employee of CGI