Nearly 2 years later, Ontario's promised $120M OpenText grant unspent

More than 18 months after the Ontario government announced a $120 million grant to OpenText to create 1,200 jobs in the province, none of the money has been paid out and it seems that none of the promised jobs have yet been created.

OpenText has six offices in Ontario, including its world headquarters

Over a year-and-a-half after the Ontario government announced a $120 million grant to Waterloo's OpenText to create 1,200 jobs in the province, none of the money has been paid out and it seems that none of the promised jobs have yet been created.

Premier Kathleen Wynne made the announcement in Waterloo Region in April of 2014, and specified at the time the money would be disbursed over a seven-year period. The grant announcement came on April 25, just a few days before the Liberal government was preparing to table its annual budget on May 1. The next day, NDP leader Andrea Horwath announced she wouldn't support the budget, triggering a provincial election.

During the 2014 election campaign, Wynne touted a $2.5 billion fund that would provide grants for corporations to create jobs over 10 years. But both Horwath and then-PC leader Tim Hudak said that, if elected, they wouldn't provide large amounts of money to private companies. Wynne and the Liberals won a majority in the June election.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, pictured with then-Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak, and provincial NDP leader Andrea Horwath. (Canadian Press)

A year later in June, 2015, CBC Kitchener-Waterloo reported that OpenText was planning to cut 425 jobs worldwide, or five per cent of its workforce of 8,500. At the time, a spokesman for Ontario Minister of Economic Development told CBC News that OpenText would have to replace any jobs lost in province in and then add another 1,200 to access government funding.The spokesman also confirmed that the funding would roll out from 2015 to 2021, a six-year period.

OpenText creates enterprise software and technologies for businesses. The funding promised by the government would help the company conduct research and development work on cloud computing. 

Questions over jobs remain

Premier Kathleen Wynne and Finance Minister Charles Sousa are seen in the legislature on May 1, 2014 unveiling a proposed budget. NDP leader Andrea Horwath announced the next day she wouldn't support the budget, triggering a provincial election. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Now, a year and a half since the province first announced the funds for OpenText, and over six months since the company has announced layoffs, none of the promised provincial funding has been paid out.

The Ontario government says it is waiting for OpenText to finish layoffs, and expects to receive a definite statement in "early 2016" according to Jessica Hume, a spokeswoman for the Minister of Economic Development. 

"OpenText is still proceeding with their project to invest up to $2 billion of key R&D work into cloud computing, which is expected to create 1,200 jobs in Ontario over the next six years," said Hume, in an email to CBC News.

In an email to CBC News, OpenText says it has finished layoffs, but wouldn't provide any other details to CBC. 

"In relation to our previously announced global-restructuring program (September 2015), we are now complete with the people actions. We remain 100% committed to creating jobs in Ontario and fulfilling our commitments to the Ontario government over the length of the agreement," wrote company spokeswoman Kasey Holman.

Holman added that Waterloo, Ont. remains the company's worldwide headquarters. Holman would not expand on any timelines for hiring new employees in the province, or at which office those jobs might be created.

OpenText has offices in Ontario in Kingston, Ottawa, Waterloo, Peterborough, Richmond Hill and Toronto. 


  • An earlier version of this story stated that Jessica Hume is a spokeswoman for the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development. In fact, she is a spokeswoman for Brad Duguid, the Ontario Minister of Economic Development.
    Jan 12, 2016 11:18 AM ET


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