There are widespread layoffs at Canpages, the Burnaby-based phonebook and internet advertising company that was bought by Yellow Media just two years ago for $225 million dollars.

Staff at Yellow Media in Montreal said fewer than 700 people would be let go across the country as the company moves to consolidate its two operations by eliminating duplication.

The company plans to issue only one yellow phonebook in each city, but the Canpages online directory will live on, said staff.

Staff at the Canpages headquarters in Burnaby, just east of Vancouver, were still picking up the phone Wednesday morning but no one at the company was willing to talk publicly. Nobody was answering the phone at the Victoria office, which is closed.

One former employee from Ontario told CBC News he and hundreds of others were called to meetings Tuesday and let go. He estimated hundreds of employees were terminated, mostly in the sales departments and many in offices in B.C. and Alberta.

Several companies were already using social networking sites such as Twitter to recruit laid-off sales staff from Canpages.

One company in Toronto says it will hire up to 10 people immediately, as there is a demand for sales people with an expertise in local advertising.