For Premier Brian Gallant the TD Insurance centre in Saint John is emblematic of the longstanding success of the business services sector in New Brunswick.
In early June, Gallant was on hand with Frank McKenna, Deputy Chair of TD Bank Group, to announce the creation of up to 250 new jobs at the Saint John centre. McKenna was the premier in 1994 when it first opened in the city, one of the first in a contact-centre sector that would become an economic driver in the province more than two decades later.
“It is already a sector that is very important to the New Brunswick economy. [Frank McKenna] knows all about that,” said Gallant. “He was the catalyst in the 1990s. We [now] have 18,000 New Brunswickers that work in the business services sector.”
Premier Gallant’s government has made the continued development of this sector a key priority. From an economic development standpoint, he knows it’s an important job creator. But on a personal level, he also knows why it’s meaningful to so many New Brunswickers.
“I know this first-hand because my sister, my brother and my sister-in-law all work in the business services centre sector,” he said. “They’ve been doing it for quite some time. They enjoy what they do.”
Opportunities NB (ONB) is investing nearly $5-million in the form of payroll rebates toward the creation of the new positions in Saint John. Premier Gallant said it’s tax money well spent.
“It not only contributes to 18,000 jobs. More than $1-billion comes into our province every single year because of this sector,” said Gallant. “That is more than $1-billion that helps grow the economy, helps create economic activity throughout the province.”
Gallant says once all of the jobs are filled, the expansion of the centre will contribute an estimated $15.5-million to the GDP and $669,000 in provincial income taxes annually.
This expansion contributes to a provincial economy that has been growing over the past four years, in terms of GDP and job creation.
The real GDP grew 1.9 per cent in 2017 and the province’s economy is now 5.5 per cent larger than it was in 2014.
Wages and salaries increased by 3.3 per cent in 2017, the second consecutive year of growth greater than three per cent.
The unemployment rate decreased for the fourth consecutive year, falling to 8.1 per cent. The unemployment rate has been under 10 per cent for more than 20 consecutive months.
Gallant says the provincial government is helping to create the conditions that are inspiring companies like TD to invest in the province for the long term.
ONB is a single point of contact for business expansion or relocation, connecting companies to the unmatched opportunities that exist in New Brunswick. ONB has attracted numerous businesses to New Brunswick across several key industries, including Cardinal Path, Dream Payments, Siemens, and S&P Data. The organization also enables homegrown New Brunswick businesses to continue to succeed and grow, including LuminUltra, Apex Industries, Rogers Electric and others.
In addition to creating up to 250 new jobs, which will increase the centre’s workforce to more than 1,000 people, TD is investing $7-million in upgrades to its Saint John facilities on Rothesay Avenue.
“The company has been here several decades, demonstrating their commitment to the area, demonstrating that they have a strong workforce, and also demonstrating that they want to continue to grow here,” said Gallant.
“We are very excited about TD’s continued commitment to Saint John and New Brunswick and we’re very excited about their continued growth in Saint John and New Brunswick.”
This story is sponsored by the Government of New Brunswick.