BlackBerry to close Halifax offices, affecting more than 300 employees

By Bla1ze on 10 Oct 2013 04:39 pm EDT
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While everyone has been expecting the layoffs to continue at BlackBerry and it's hardly news any more, I felt I have to write this announcement up simply because for me, it hits close to home. As part of their ongoing restructuring efforts, it has been announced that BlackBerry will shut down their Halifax, Nova Scotia operations as of January 10th, 2014. The closure of this location affects over 300 employees mostly trained as customer support representatives.

"We know that our employees in the Halifax area have worked hard on behalf of our company and we are grateful for their commitment and contributions," the company said in a statement given to CTV news. "This is difficult news for them and for the Halifax community. However, these changes are necessary in order to refocus our business to drive the company towards profitability and success in a maturing and more competitive mobile industry."

As part of the closure, about 35 workers will be offered continued employment on a work-from-home basis and BlackBerry will repay the Nova Scotia government $2-million for money borrowed as part of agreement wherein BlackBerry would receive $10 million over five years if it kept at least 400 jobs in Nova Scotia at an average salary of at least $60,000 a year. The Halifax operation officially opened in September 2008 but has been in operation since 2006.

Reader comments

BlackBerry to close Halifax offices, affecting more than 300 employees

92 Comments

Hope so. Halifax is a small tech hub, so the chances are good. A lot of talented people there.

Doubtful, these people are in customer support, they aren't programmers, so will have little use to startups or most tech companies. Halifax is a big call center hotspot.

Posted via CB10

Yup it's my hometown and I know a lot of people who work there and I tell you... it ain't easy for them to find a job... it's the reason why I left the city to begin with.. I'm a software engineer and they couldn't hire me there cuz they didn't have a development office there.

Posted via CB10

You speak the truth although their are always call centre technical support positions advertised on a regular basis.

Posted via CB10 from the BlackBerry Z10

It's traditionally a "have-not" region with high unemployment. Salesforce.com laid off 400 workers in this area weeks ago. Thousands have been leaving to find work elsewhere for years. These jobs will be a big loss.

So sad that this is happening. How about the people at the top forfeit some of their pay? They've failed the shareholders, the stakeholders, and the enthusiast community that is really the only reason BB10 has sold AT ALL.

Sucks to hear about this so close to home. Hopefully the laid off people get back on their feet quickly!

Posted via CB10

I wonder if any of these employees were BlackBerry PlayBook support personnel. For some reason, I remember them hiring people in Halifax for PlayBook but I may be wrong.

It adds on to the ones from earlier this week. This round is slated for completion by January 10/14 (might as well say Christmas)

Yea, I saw that but I didn't remember seeing a date on the 400 number. At least some of these guys will have jobs for the holidays. Hopefully some of then get hired by Apple or something. Sucks to see people out of a job when it isn't their fault, especially when others in the same company still have jobs after being the reasons for these people losing theirs

Posted via CB10

Maybe with time and with mike back on board BlackBerry can support and bring back more Canadian jobs eventually . Let's hope so! I do hope that all those impacted bounce back quickly!

Posted via CB10

I see way too many Canadians buying iphones and samsungs. people will be hard on BlackBerry because of this news but it's our fault we don't do a good enough job supporting our companies.

I hope BlackBerry pulls off an apple and makes a comeback

Posted via CB10

Can't really blame Canadians. BB didn't make a phone that people want to have. The BBOS phones had all kinds of limitations. Like rebooting to install an app. Who wants that?

Yes and no. Americans are very supportive of their own. Canadians , on the other hand, have a habit of sneering at theirs when Americans are cheering for theirs

Posted via CB10

Well, this American wants his Canadian phone! I'll buy 2 Z30's. Hope a few people in Halifax do the same.

I've lived both sides of the border. There's a definite *big* difference in patriotism between the two countries. You see it in the media and in public sentiment.

Nowhere did I say "All Canadians act this way". Just saying there's a difference. I've witnessed it many times from both sides of the border.

Well I know a number of fellow Canadians who use BB10, BBOS, iOS and Android. Many have purchased based on what the phone / ecosystem offers as opposed to some notion of nationalism.

I supported RIM by purchasing devices, purchasing shares, purchasing tablets (even recommending to users who in turn purchased RIM tablets!). I didn't have very many of my expectations met through this support...

Posted via CB10

FALSE!!! Most of the smartphones in the u.s are indeed American owned companies except for samsung witch is a Korean company of witch their smartphones are run on Android iOS another American company owned by Google who are guess what?...another American own company. And let's not forget of course Apple and Windows... Yup! You guessed it American owned companies.

Well there are only two American companies who make phones. Motorola and Apple.
If you take Nokia + BlackBerry + LG + HTC + Samsung, yes you get more than 50% market share.

And the fact that most of those phones use the Android OS license does not make them more American. It is a licence, not a joint venture or anything.

Or do you consider Lenovo an American company because they run Windows? Or Huawei an American company because they run Android? Or maybe Rolls Royce is Canadian because it runs on QNX?

Apple shouldn't even be called an American company. Their products are made outside of the US and their cash is kept outside of the US so they avoid paying taxes. What a wonderful American company.

I know lots of people that buy iPhones and have no idea what either an iPhone or a Blackberry can do but they seem to know that Blackberry sucks. It's pure vanity is some cases

Posted via CB10

Great post !

Forget the Z10 Launch with the lackluster 10.0 OS,
BlackBerry today with the 10.2 OS in thé Z30, Q10, Z10 and Q5 are great productive phones vs the rest. Chris UMI did a great write today on the S4.

Let's support à great phone made in Canada and Mexico vs overseas.
Maybe Laz with the Canadian Govt can start the next Canadian mobile. Chapter.

Posted via CB10

It's nice that the employees will be kept on until after Christmas and that they are given enough notice to dust off the resume, but I could use some good news today concerning BBRY.

Paulmike, Canadians are sell outs to take overs. No wonder it makes it hard for Companies to make a go at Canadian Business because of the lack of loyalty. Looks like you joined that club too.

Posted via CB10

Sad day for the Halifax operation. Hope you guys find work soon! Thanks for the great BlackBerry products you guys have introduced us too!

Posted via the best phone ever. The white Z10.

Just one of them is good enough, two is one too many, we need one leader to rule with an iron fist, not a committee.

A camel is a horse designed by a committee.

What next a cat is a mouse designated by committee? LMAFO

Posted via CB10 from BB Z10 (My stable: 8310, 8520, 9900, Z10)

I always got excellent t-support help when my call ended up just just up the road in Bedford. Their service will be missed.

Old news I posted this this morning :)

Just kidding

But the good news is blackberry is paying back the millions the Canadian Gov't gave as grants. What a nice Canadian company blackberry is. Too bad the American mobile and auto industry are all dogs and don't pay back loans when they're posting record profits

Posted via CB10

Can you back this up? That statement is a little harsh to say the least.

Posted via CB10

This sounds a lot like you're talking out your ass. Both GM and Chrysler paid back their borrowed money. And Ford never took any money.

The banks on the other hand... that went to ceo's and big heads to pay for their huge extravagant vacation.

Posted via CB10

I live near the blackberry building and it's a real blow here. It was a point of pride to have BlackBerry here and it will be hard for these people to find jobs like that around here. Halifax is no Waterloo

Posted via CB10

I hope they all find jobs. The problems with BlackBerry had nothing to do with their talent and everything to do with poor choices from the executives.

Posted via CB10

I worked at the Bedford office for a co-op last summer in the Partner Technical Support department. Now truth be told, I hated every minute of that job, too many angry customers who thought that their personal device was the most important in the world, but I definitely developed a new respect for BlackBerry (RIM at the time). I've also been a long time fan of their products so I wished nothing but the best.

Sad to here about the office closing down...a lot of those people especially doing customer support may have a hard time finding jobs out here without any specialized server/development skills.

Having said that, I started a new job out here and have been catching the bus for a couple months. In general here's the device breakdown that I see: 60-70% iphones, 25% android 5% rest. I'm yet to see someone using a bb10 device. The few blackberries i've seen are bolds (9900 or 97xx series) or curves. It's honestly disappointing to see the lack of love for blackberry out here.

Hoping for the best but it's hard to be optimistic when nearly all the negative press that has leak turns out to be true.

Anyways..sorry for the long first post. Love Crackberry and look forward to being a regular participant on here.

Q10...Where my fingers dwell

Because abandoning BlackBerry for netflix and instagram on another platform is so much more important than the livelihoods of these and many other employees of BlackBerry. Way to go clowns! So stupid, hope you enjoy your golden iphones and all that other s h i t you've gone and wasted money on to basically support the crappy companies who managed to sell to the idiot masses instead of making actually smart products. Nope, everybody wants samsung's consumer fodder and to feel "cool" by having an apple product. So stupid.

Posted via CB10

The salary might be 60K with a few hundred hours of overtime. But customer support is extremely draining work but nobody gives them any respect.

Posted via CB10 from the BlackBerry Z10

This is really sad news. I'm not sure why more Canadian aren't support their companies (well at least BlackBerry). I would overstand if they were still selling OS6 in 2013 due to no innovation, no BB10, etc... then yeah switch devices already, but BB10 is a great device. It's a young OS with tons of potential. I mean look at the difference between OS 10.0 and10.2, night and day!! All the best to the people involved/affected, keep your head up and keep pushing forward!

Posted via CB10

This is sad to hear...I have dealt with the office on many calls and everyone was great. They were very knowledgeable and always came to a solution.

One person who stuck out was guy named Chris. Any company in the area should hire this guy in a heartbeat. Good luck guys!

Posted via CB10

And the hits just keep on coming. What a shame. Unfortunately this is what happens when you have incompetence in leadership. Good job Thorsten!! You couldn't sell an umbrella in a rainstorm and now even more average working people feel the pain while you pocket millions!!

Posted via CB10

BlackBerry has to slash costs. It's a harsh reality. It's way to big for a company that has much lower revenue and margins.

I just hope restructuring gives them a fresh profitable future.

Posted via CB10

Sorry to see people loose their jobs but don't place blame on Canadians for not buying a product designed and manufactured in their country.

I'm American, last time I checked Canada is a capitalistic country with a free market. People can buy whatever device they want.

The blame for BlackBerry's fall from grace is squarely on their leadership and developers not in consumers for choosing a different product.

I don't think it's that simple. It wasn't just that they bought other phones. It was that they had to run around and argue with BlackBerry fans on how much better their phone was. I didn't care so much that they didn't buy BlackBerry but that they would talk so poorly about the company. I never once told someone to buy a BlackBerry but I sure got told how horrible they are even though I was obviously happy with it. And people up here try to tell me that I need to cheer for the maple laughs in the playoffs just because they're Canadian, what a joke. I am really disappointed in this country right now.

Posted via CB10

My heart goes out to those people. Even though we knew the cuts were coming, it still doesn't hurt any less when they happen. I wish them all the best of luck.

This is what employees will read once they get their pink slips from BlackBerry, sorry BlackBerry - Fairfax: "Dear sucker, Merry Fucking Christmas to you pathetic looser! Oh yeah and while we are at it, Happy Goddamn New Year too! Good luck paying your mortgage, your bills and feeding your family! Not!" courtesy of Thorsten Heins Ketchup, The 55 Million Dollar Man oh yeah and a middle finger from the Cryptkeeper aka Pringle Watsahisname!

Welcome to the new BlackBerry with it's motto "Keep Moving In The Unemployment Line"!

Posted via CB10

I don't get this attitude. Nobody has a right to a job. Don't expect anything to be handed to you. Go out and hustle.

Posted via CB10

Totally agree with albertaslim on this one. That's life and the writing was on the wall long time ago. How many people on crackberry were saying this company or that (insert competitor here) should go out of business. Do you think of those employees? Motorola and Apple are hiring in Waterloo so those people with skills I'm sure will get a good paying job.

Yeah, you actually do have that right. If I were you I'd go back and take a look at something called the social contract, which is the basis for virtually every modern Western democracy. Read a little bit of Rousseau, Locke and John Stuart Mill...

Yeah, shelter, food, clothing, healthcare, education and employment are the basic rights of any citizen living in a democracy, it is what separates us from our primitive ancestors and the state of nature, without those you might as well return to the cave. They don't come for free and you have your own obligations to fulfil as a citizen in return, but they are there...

Besides much better people than I agreed on these rights, among them, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who wanted to enshrine them in a new bill of rights, just before his death...

Think for yourself, don't let Fox News or Sun TV news, tea baggers or anyother numbnuts do the thinking for you...

Posted via CB10

This sux! I keep thinking, 55Milllion! Geez, WTF? Disgusting, obscene. This Crap really irks me! Sorry for the folks in Halifax and Waterloo.

Many reasons RIM fell from grace. Biggest downfall was not seeing what consumers wanted sooner. Second big reason was a delay in execution of good products. I switched to android because my bold died and I didn't want another clunky java device and bb10 was being delayed. But once it came out I went back and people think I am nuts for ditching my s2. But because they took too long to bring out bb10 people have moved on and won't bother to try a bb10 device to see how good it is.

Posted via CB10

Sad that Thor sure has a nice parachute, but yet important people that help out us customers out are getting screwed!

Finger flicking good! Z10

restructuring is must ,but my support to all those employees who have worked hard for so many years for BB.

Personally I think blackberry will go bust by the end of next year but will see what happens I will be sticking with BlackBerry 10 devices in the near future tho

Posted via CB10

This is what happens when people are stupid and buy crapple and spydroid. This is the world you live in.

I left RIM's BES/Enterprise escalation team Halifax last January. Having tested BB10, I didn't leave for fear of it failing. I left for other reasons, and honestly thought BB10 would save them. I'm doing every thing I can to land some their enterprise folks in good spots. They have a wide skill set in IT that can be used in Admin and support positions very frequently.

My friends and family are directly affected by this, and if I didn't leave for my own selfish reasons, this could be me affected too. Anyone in Halifax who sees a resume from one of them come across their table would be wise to hire them.

Posted via CB10