The 10-year agreement with the Ontario government is expected to create some 1,700 new jobs in the high tech sector in the next few years.

Here’s a spot of sunshine for what has been a gloomy month for Ontario’s job market.

Cisco Systems Inc. today announced it is investing up to $4 billion to build research and development facilities in the province. The 10-year agreement with the Ontario government is expected to create some 1,700 new jobs in the high tech sector in the next few years and potentially up to 5,000 more positions by 2024.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said in an announcement today, that the province is adding up $220 million to the project.

“Our plan to create jobs and grow the economy is focused on smart, forward-looking investments that build on Ontario’s strengths,” said Wynne. “Today’s announcement is about supporting out talented technology worker.”

The announcement comes at a time when Ontario has been hit by dramatic declines in areas such as manufacturing and agriculture which in recent weeks has been highlighted with the planned closure of two plants in the southeastern part of the province.

Some 500 people will lose their jobs when the Kellogg Co. shuts down operations of its plant in London, Ont. by the end of 2014. Earlier, the H. J. Heinz Co. said it will eliminate 750 jobs and will be closing its tomato processing plant in Leemington, Ont. by June 2014. In the technology sector struggling smart phone company BlackBerry Ltd. said last month that is was letting go of 250 workers in its Waterloo. Ont. facility and will eventually cut is workforce by 4,500 as part of its restructuring.

Under the terms of the agreement, Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) will create up to 1,700 high tech jobs with a focus on R&D within the first six years.

The agreement also includes a framework with the potential to grow Cisco’s total Ontario employee footprint up to 5,000 by 2024, reflecting a potential total investment of up to $4 billion, including $2.2 billion in salaries alone. The Province of Ontario will provide up to $220 million in support of the total initiative.

“Canada continues to be one of Cisco’s best success stories globally,” said Rob Lloyd, president for development and sales at Cisco. “Cisco has invested in retaining and growing our employee footprint here in Ontario, particularly in R&D jobs.”

Cisco, one of the biggest manufacturers of computer-networking equipment, already employs more than 1,500 people in Canada. Cisco has plans to expand its Toronto headquarters and will build an end-to-end network system for the upcoming Pan Am Games in Toronto in 2015.

 

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