TORONTO - Thomson Reuters unveiled plans Friday to create 400 jobs in Canada over the next two years by establishing a new technology centre in Toronto, a move the company credited to the region's pool of tech talent.
Hiring is set to begin in December, with the potential for up to 1,500 jobs, said Thomson Reuters' president and CEO Jim Smith. The centre will focus on "emerging skills" such as cognitive computing, artificial intelligence and data-visualization, he said.
"These jobs that we're bringing here, these will be software engineering jobs, they'll be data science jobs, and this will be a place where we build software-enabled tools and products that we use around the world in all of our businesses," Smith said.
"What we're looking for here are the skills that are helping technology reshape the way all of us work and live each and every day."
The prime minister, premier and Toronto mayor were all on hand for the announcement Friday, with Justin Trudeau touting the company's commitment as one that required no government funding or tax incentives. All that is being provided by the federal government is help to ensure smooth immigration for Thomson Reuters' top employees, including Smith.
"This was about smoothing red tape processes that we were happy to do for Thomson Reuters, but indeed we're happy to do in general to draw in top-notch global companies who are creating great jobs for Canadians," he said.
Thomson Reuters chose to locate the centre in Toronto, in order to access the technology workers within the region, Smith said.
"What we found in the Toronto-Waterloo corridor is a very rich vein of talent: 200,000 high-tech workers, a network of 16 universities, graduating 4,500 high-tech enabled people each and every year, an incredibly diverse community and an established network of public-private partnerships that can come up with things like Communitech, (business incubator) DMZ, and (medical research and technology hub) MaRS."
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne credited her government's policies for creating the conditions that attracted Thomson Reuters.
"Thomson Reuters came, looked at what was happening here in Ontario, saw the talent, saw the ecosystem and saw the opportunity to expand their operations here," she said.
The provincial government has spent much effort and money fostering the innovation sector in the Toronto-Waterloo corridor.
Thomson Reuters originated in Canada and owned a national chain of newspapers before it diversified and evolved into an information services provider to the financial, legal and other professional communities.
It also owns Reuters, one of the world's largest news organizations — which was acquired by Thomson Corp. in 2007. The Thomson family, through its private holdings, continues to be majority owner of The Globe and Mail but the publicly traded company Thomson Reuters no longer owns newspapers.
The company — which has about 52,000 employees around the world — currently has its principal executive office in New York City but retains a corporate headquarters in Toronto. It currently has about 1,200 positions in Canada.