Wynne and Kawale seal the deal. (Cisco image)

Published: December 16th, 2013

Networking vendor Cisco Systems is betting on Ontario. Cisco Canada and the Province of Ontario have signed an agreement that could grow Cisco’s employee base in Ontario to over 5,000 by 2024.

The 10-year agreement, announced by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Cisco Canada president Nitin Kawale, is focused on growing Ontario’s status as a leader in technology innovation and researcg and development. The deal sees Cisco is focusing on adding up to 1,700 high tech jobs with a focus on R&D within the first six years, reaching as high as 5,000 Cisco employees in Ontario by 2024.

If fully realized, that would represent an investment of up to $4 billion by Cisco, including $2.2 billion in salaries alone.  The Province of Ontario will provide up to $220 million in support of the total initiative.

“Our plan to create jobs and grow the economy is focused on smart, forward-looking investments that build on Ontario’s strengths,” said Wynne, in a statement. “(This) announcement is about supporting our talented technology workers. Together, we’re going to show the world what Ontario can do.”

Cisco has already been expanding its presence in Ontario, from its investments in university chairs, its Pan Am Games technology infrastructure sponsorship and its Smart + Connected community initiatives. It’s also currently planning for a new and expanded Toronto headquarters.

“(This) marks a significant milestone for Cisco Canada and Province of Ontario.  This announcement builds on our existing partnership and our mutual commitment to drive productivity and create new economic opportunities through innovation,” said Kawale, in a statement. “Together with the Province we will create, high value jobs that will stimulate the economy. This initiative will also ensure that Ontario continues to be a leader in the information and communications technology industry, with a vast talent pool representing the country’s next generation of innovation.”