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Premier David Alward says investing in innovation is a vital part of the government's plan to rebuild New Brunswick's economy. (Sarah Trainor/CBC)

The provincial government is investing up to $750,000 toward an expansion project at Mariner Partners Inc., creating 60 new information and communications technology jobs over three years.

The funding will be provided through a payroll rebate, Premier David Alward announced on Friday.

The new positions — a project manager, architect, business analyst, senior programmer analyst, intermediate programmer analyst, programmer and tester — will be divided among the company's Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton offices.

"Investing in innovation is a vital part of our plan to rebuild New Brunswick's economy and create new opportunities in every region of our province," Alward said in a statement.

Last month, New Democratic Party Leader Dominic Cardy criticized the provincial government's investment in the private sector through payroll rebates after another IT company and rebate recipient — Salesforce Marketing Cloud — announced it was laying off workers.

But Alward contends the NDP fails to see rebate incentives are a low-risk investment.

Rebate program defended

"Perhaps they should look at literally every other jurisdiction, whether it's in North America or around the world — every government uses incentive opportunities to help businesses grow, businesses like Mariner that are created here in New Brunswick, that the owners are committed to New Brunswick and that we see many people working in New Brunswick. And it's a partnership ultimately in seeing people work here at home," he said.

Mariner, one of the largest independently-owned information technology companies in Atlantic Canada with more than 160 professional staff, specializes in business outcomes-based IT solutions.

It helps organizations to innovate, integrate and transform their business and technology systems to better satisfy customer needs while boosting productivity, officials said.

The Mariner Innovations division is expanding to offer its services to the financial service sector, enterprise clients and various levels of government.

'In the case of some recent downsizing by some ICT companies, we've been fortunate in our growth to pick them up. So you know, this retains employment here in the province.'—Craig Storey, Mariner

Craig Storey, the president of Mariner Innovations, said rebates benefits the entire region.

"I think the benefit of developing an ICT ecosystem here is that we're all going to have ebbs and flows," he said.

"In the case of some recent downsizing by some ICT companies, we've been fortunate in our growth to pick them up. So you know, this retains employment here in the province," said Storey, noting some of Mariner's new hires will include former Salesforce workers.

"So this is all about the balance of work and creating greater opportunities here. We can kind of support ourselves through these kind of down cycles. So we've benefitted from that, but I think the region has as well because of that."

Mariner, founded in 2003, has offices across Canada, the United States, Europe and Latin America.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud was in the second year of a five-year, $3.8-million payroll rebate agreement with the provincial government when it announced plans in August to shed 200 jobs — about one-third of them located in New Brunswick.

The company had also eliminated about 100 jobs globally last fall.

Those job cuts came four months after Salesforce announced plans to create 300 new full-time jobs in Fredericton and Saint John with the help of the government's payroll rebate.

Salesforce bought the Fredericton-based Radian6 in March 2011.