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Rogers Communications Inc. RCI-B-T says it is repatriating about 300 former Shaw Communications Inc. SJR-B-T customer service agents to Canada.

Rogers closed its $20-billion takeover of Shaw in early April after two years and several regulatory hurdles.

The 300 customer care and technical support agents, currently serving Shaw customers, are based in call centres in Central America. Rogers says it will relocate the equivalent number of jobs to Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia, with the customer care agents transitioned by July and the technical agents by the third quarter.

Rogers says it will also hire 1,000 additional customer service agents across the country.

As part of its agreement with Ottawa, Rogers must create 3,000 new jobs in Western Canada within five years and maintain those jobs for 10 years. The 300 repatriated jobs will count toward this total, as will the portion of the 1,000 new customer service agents based in Western Canada.

Sarah Schmidt, a spokesperson for Rogers, said the job repatriation is part of the company’s 2020 commitment to having its entire customer support team in Canada. Since then, all of Rogers’ customer service jobs have been located in Canada.

At the time of Rogers’ 2020 commitment, general trade union Unifor called on BCE Inc.’s Bell Canada BCE-T to make the same commitment. According to its 2022 annual report, “BCE depends on call centre and technical support services provided by a number of external suppliers and outsourcers, some of which are located in foreign countries.”

Telus Corp. T-T uses subsidiary Telus International, its information technology and global customer service arm, for its own customer service jobs.

Canadian companies across many industries have long relied on outsourced labour and temporary foreign workers to serve their customers. New technologies are advancing automation of some of these jobs. Last year, food franchise Freshii came under fire for adopting a “virtual cashier” system, where customers in Canada would connect through a live video to a worker in Nicaragua.

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