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Financial news and content provider Thomson Reuters is expanding of its Canadian operations by creating a new technology centre in Toronto which will initially have what the company calls  400 “high-quality technology” over the next two years.

Ultimately it could have as many as 1,50o staffers, the company said.

The centre will  focus on emerging skills such as cognitive computing, visualization, user experience and cloud development. Initial hiring, which will start in the coming weeks, will focus on skills related to the company’s cognitive computing initiatives as well as core development.

“Canada is not only our home, it is home to an emerging ecosystem of world-class technology talent,” Jim Smith, the company’s CEO, said in a statement Friday. “Our new Technology Centre furthers our commitment to growing Canada’s preeminent hub of innovation, and to building the customer-centric platforms and solutions of the future.”

Last week the company — which is headquartered in Toronto and has 52,000 employees around the world — announced it is funding a research chair in data cleansing at the University of Waterloo’s Cheriton School of Computer Science. Last year Thompson Reuters opened a research lab in Waterloo’s  Communitech startup building. It also sponsors the MaRS Discovery District’s LegalX Cluster in Toronto to foster innovations that advance the legal industry.

The company said the Toronto centre will allow it to co-locate technology talent to drive productivity, increase flexibility and encourage cross-enterprise innovation. It cited the Toronto-Waterloo Region Corridor as one of the largest technology clusters in the world that offers a rich mix of emerging and mature technology talent and a robust pipeline of development graduates from local universities as one reason for the move. Proximity to large and strategic customers such as financial and legal institutions and others that use Thompson Reuters services is another.

As part of Thomson Reuters growing investment in here Smith and chief financial officer Stephane Bello will be moving to Toronto from Connecticut in 2017.  Additional management roles will be relocated and recruited locally in Toronto over the next few years.

Asked why cognitive computing is important to the company, David Crundwell, senior vice-president of corporate affairs said “We believe that it’s a critical technology that will have a significant impact on knowledge tasks . We need for our customers smart, adaptive solutions, task-specific, user-focused. This is a fast moving technology.  We don’t think there’s any better area of the world to hire the talent we need that here … We looked at a whole host of areas around the world.”

“Today’s news is an example of how great things can happen when the public and private spheres work together – for the betterment of Canadian workers, and Canadian families,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. According to the Globe and Mail, Ottawa didn’t give the company any financial incentives but did provide assurances that red tape issues such as immigration papers wouldn’t be an obstacle — or, as international trade minister Chrystia Freeland was quoted as saying, giving “concierge service.”

“Ontario is creating the conditions for businesses to thrive and help create jobs for people across the province. We are delighted that Thomson Reuters selected Ontario and look forward to even more opportunities like this as we continue to invest in our highly skilled workforce and build up our innovation economy,” said Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.



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