SAINT JOHN (GNB) – Air Canada is expanding its business services centre in Saint John, creating up to 227 full-time jobs over the next five years with support from the provincial government.

“New Brunswick’s multi-year economic growth plan focuses our efforts on creating job opportunities across the province in a variety of sectors, including the growing business services centre sector,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “It is great to see a business like Air Canada invest and grow in New Brunswick because we have such a strong workforce to offer. The business services centre industry employs thousands of New Brunswickers and offers interesting career opportunities for New Brunswickers.”

The airline’s Saint John centre currently has 273 employees. The new jobs are expected to be for business service agents.

“Since its opening in 1996, our contact centre in Saint John has provided excellent service to our customers, both English and French, due to the quality of the workforce in New Brunswick,” said Kevin C. Howlett, Air Canada’s senior vice-president of regional markets and government relations. “We are pleased to increase even further our presence and offer more job opportunities, contributing to the local economy with the support of Opportunities NB and the provincial government.”

It is estimated that the creation of up to 227 new jobs would contribute $33.3 million to the province’s GDP over five years and generate $3.5 million in provincial taxes over that same period.

To support the creation of these new jobs, Air Canada is eligible for an investment of up to $1.5 million from Opportunities NB, which is a corporation that seeks to attract and support opportunities to grow the economy and create jobs. It provides support services for businesses across the province.

The funding comes in the form of payroll rebates, which are performance based and disbursed annually to a company only when it has created and maintained the jobs during the year of the claim. The company must provide proof of salary levels and employment.

Air Canada is the country’s largest domestic and international airline, serving more than 200 airports on six continents. It is one of the 20 largest airlines in the world and, in 2016, served nearly 45 million customers.

The province’s business services centre sector employs 18,000 people and contributes an estimated $1 billion to the province’s GDP annually.