BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) shed as much as 2,202 jobs in Ontario during a six-month period from October 2013 to March 2014, according to documents CBC News obtained from a freedom of information request. The documents obtained by CBC News portray the company as being in freefall with many layoffs coming in the six months after it announced plans to lay off 4,500 employees and posted a quarterly loss of $965 million at the end of September 2013.
Majority of job cuts in Waterloo
In an interview in Kitchener, Andrew MacLeod, then BlackBerry’s managing director for North America, told CBC Radio One host Craig Norris, “When you’re going through a restructuring like this, it’s going to be in all facets of the company at all levels of the company.”
The interview was done before the devastating earnings report in 2013.
At the time, the Waterloo-based company did not reveal when or where those cuts were made. However, notices of termination of employment the company filed with the Ontario Ministry of Labour reveal that around half of those positions were cut in Mississauga, Ottawa, and Waterloo.
The majority of the job cuts were from BlackBerry’s Waterloo headquarters. On October 28, 2013, the Canadian company listed 5,461 total salaried employees in Waterloo, and according to the documents, this number dropped to 3,847 by March 2014.
The numbers further dropped to 3,660 employees in Waterloo on including the planned layoffs scheduled for March 14. Hence, a total decrease of 33% in just six months, the report says. Over the six-month period, 182 jobs were cut from Ottawa and 157 jobs from the offices in Mississauga.
No more mass termination from BlackBerry
BlackBerry notes in the March 14 filing that it was expecting another possible layoff of more than 10% of its Ontario workforce. That would have triggered another mass termination notice after that date. But according to the ministry, no further mass termination notices were issued up to February 2016 when CBC filed an access to information request. This means that unless the Waterloo-based company decides to release the numbers, any additional layoffs were smaller in number and cannot be accounted for publicly.
Notices of termination must be filed by employers with the ministry any time more than 50 employees are laid off in a four-week period. Also employers must give an eight weeks’ notice whenever more than 50 employees are laid off, but if employers pay employees, then that can be waived, which the BlackBerry said that it did, offering a minimum of 16 weeks’ pay.