On July 15, 2011, several workers showed up to work as usual at IQT Solutions, only to be told that their employer had unexpectedly shut down its Canadian operations: three call centres, one in Ontario and two in Quebec. About 1,200 IQT employees were suddenly unemployed with no final paycheque, vacation pay or notice of termination.
IQT Solutions is a United States-based call centre that offers customer support services to a variety of companies in North America and Europe.
According to news coverage that developed after the shutdown, it was revealed that the City of Nashville, Tennessee, had granted IQT a US$1.6-million incentive to build a new 60,000-square-foot call centre and headquarters there to employ 900 locally. One of the conditions of receiving the grant was for IQT to explain to Nashville officials its business strategy in Canada. I guess instead of explaining their strategy to ensure the award of the grant they just decided to get rid of the “obstacle”. In addition to the abrupt shutdown of their Canadian operations, IQT Canada said they filed bankruptcy papers. However, a records search by government officials revealed no official filing of bankruptcy.
Due to the media coverage and social media attention on Facebook and Twitter, the City of Nashville has chosen to withdraw its $1.6 million promise to fund IQT Solutions’ new operation in Tennessee.
Both provincial labour ministries (Ontario and Quebec) are currently helping IQT’s former employees, investigating the circumstances and trying to recover the unpaid wages and grants paid out.
To find out more and to know what the Ministry of Labour can do, read my latest Slaw post.