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November 3, 2003
For immediate release

Call Centre to Open in Souris

Development and Technology

A customer contact centre which will initially employ 16 people will open in Souris this fall. The number of employees is expected to rise to 35 by the third year of operation. Support for the new centre was announced today by Mike Currie, Minister of Development and Technology, the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Member of Parliament for Cardigan and Joe O'Keefe, Mayor for the Town of Souris.

The centre is owned by Advantage Communications of Charlottetown and will be housed in the newly renovated Matthew and MacLean Building on Main Street. The company plans to have the centre in full operation by December 1. The centre will handle inbound calls and offer customers technical support services.

"We have worked very hard to provide this stable, year-round employment for the Town of Souris. We have identified a number of people who are interested in this type of work and are pleased to be able to support them in their efforts to become fully trained, capable employees," said Minister Currie.

"The Government of Canada is committed to helping Canadians get the skills they need to keep up with the changing demands of the job market," said Mr. MacAulay, on behalf of the Honourable Jane Stewart, Minister of Human Resources Development. "Call centres now account for half of Prince Edward island's information technology sector jobs. I am very pleased that Souris will now benefit from the full-time, year-round employment opportunities the new centre will bring to the area."

The provincial government's Employment Development Agency and Human Resources Development Canada coordinated two successful training sessions to assist with labour force development in the Souris area. Thirty-nine individuals graduated from the training program which is accredited by the Innovation and Technology Association of Prince Edward Island (ITAP).

Al Fogarty, the CEO of Advantage Communications says the move to Souris is an exciting one for his company. "We are confident that the Souris area will be a good move for us as we continue to grow our company, and we are pleased to be able to offer the community year-round employment in a high tech industry."

The Town of Souris provided assistance in the form of rental abatement for the new centre. Souris Mayor Joe O'Keefe says the company is a welcome addition to the community. "We know that this company brings with it the solid foundation of their CEO, Al Fogarty, who grew up, was educated and worked in Eastern Kings. He knows the area, knows the people and will be welcomed. We look forward to working with Advantage Communications and having them as part of our community," said Mayor O'Keefe.

Technology PEI Inc. provided a conditional, non-repayable contribution of $210 thousand to assist with employment creation, estimated to be 35 by year three, and training, capital costs and leasehold improvements. The Canada/Prince Edward Island Labour Market Development Agreement, co-managed by Human Resources Development Canada and the provincial Department of Development and Technology, will provide participant wage subsidies of up to $82,560 to help hire the initial 16 eligible individuals who provide customer and technical support services.

Technology PEI is the Government of Prince Edward Island's lead agency in the development, adoption and use of information technologies in business and community in the province.

Media Contact: Ann Thurlow
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