The Nova Scotia government is making transition payments to IBM Canada as part of the company's takeover of an internal computer system, CBC News has learned.
The payments were not part of last month's announcement of the 10-year data outsourcing deal between the province and IBM Canada.
IBM will open a global data centre. In return, the company will be paid $8 million a year to take over the provincial government's SAP payroll procurement and human resources computer system.
The move affects 75 civil servants, who have until midnight Thursday to decide if they want to stay with the province or follow their jobs to IBM.
CBC has been told that for every worker who stays in government, the province will pay IBM $27,000 for training. It's money to train other people who take the jobs.
IBM will not comment on the matter.
"IBM's practice is not to discuss or disclose proprietary information contained in client agreements," a company spokesperson said in a statement to CBC News.
'This requires an investment' — Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald
Finance Minister Maureen MacDonald said the province is paying IBM transition costs to avoid disruption when the company takes over next spring.
"You want a smooth transition, and the smooth transition costs money. It requires training. It requires, sometimes in the IT sector, help desks," she told CBC News.
"This requires an investment," she added. "There are costs associated with that, and as part of the negotiation we would be contributing to those costs."
MacDonald called it a "very complicated contract" and said it should be considered as a whole package.
"You have to look at what you're trying to accomplish and you also need to understand what the full contract gets you. The full contract gets us 500 jobs," she said.
MacDonald and her department officials refuse to say how much the government is paying IBM in transition costs, or the terms of the deal.
The NDP government is considering a freedom-of-information request to release individual elements of the contract.