Smartphone company BlackBerry cutting 200 staff in Waterloo, Florida

TORONTO – BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB) is laying off 200 employees in Canada and the U.S.

The company said in a statement that 200 employees have been impacted in Waterloo, Ont., and Sunrise, Fla.

BlackBerry would not specify what departments were most affected or how many employees in each office would be losing their jobs, but it appears to be 125 Canadian positions and 75 American ones.

A worker adjustment and retraining notification posted on the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s website said the company plans to lay off 75 employees at its Sunrise office.

Those layoffs began Thursday and will continue until Feb. 26, according to the notice.

Meanwhile, in Waterloo, BlackBerry appears to have ended its relationship with Gary Klassen, its director of architecture and innovation.

“My husband has walked out of BlackBerry for the last time,” his wife, Jenn Klassen, wrote in a Facebook post. “Gary you’ve been a wonderful example of integrity, faithfulness and patience working there but I’m glad you’re out.”

Gary’s social media accounts have yet to reflect the change in employment.

BlackBerry would not say whether Klassen quit or was let go.

“We can confirm that Gary Klassen has left BlackBerry. The company is grateful for his many contributions during his tenure and we wish him the best in his future endeavours.”

BlackBerry has slashed thousands of jobs from its workforce in recent years in an effort to cut costs.

The company had 6,225 full-time employees as of Feb. 28, 2015, according to its most recent annual filing.

Three years before, the company had approximately 16,500 full-time employees, according to its 2012 annual filing. By 2014, BlackBerry employed just more than 8,000 full-time workers.

“As BlackBerry continues to execute its turnaround plan, we remain focused on driving efficiencies across our global workforce,” BlackBerry said in a statement.

“This means finding new ways to enable us to capitalize on growth opportunities, while driving toward sustainable profitability across all platforms of our business.”

Despite the cutbacks, the company said it is “actively recruiting in those areas of our business that will drive growth.”

BlackBerry has been focused on a turnaround strategy that has included cost reductions, launching new software services and forging new relationships with corporate customers and wireless carries.

In December, BlackBerry reported a loss of $89 million in its fiscal third quarter. The smartphone company posted an adjusted loss of three cents a share for the period, much better than the 15-cent loss expect by analysts on average.

The company reports its fourth quarter earnings April 1.