Cuts at Great-West Lifeco mean 430 London Life jobs will be slashed

Travis Dolynny/AM980 News

London Life will slash 430 local jobs over the next two years, as part of a move by its parent company to cut 13 per cent of its employees in response to changing technology and customer expectations.

Winnipeg-based Great-West Lifeco announced they’d be eliminating 1,500 jobs throughout Canada on Tuesday morning. During a conference call with analysts, President and CEO Paul Mahon said customers are becoming increasingly cost-sensitive, while also demanding greater digital access to their services.

“To continue to invest and remain competitive, we must be vigilant in managing our costs. This involves everything from process redesign and automation, to looking for ways to optimize our real estate footprint. It also involves adapting our workforce to require the skills needed to drive our business forward, of course — this comes with difficult decisions.”

Great-West Lifeco has around 12,000 employees across Canada. The company will cut 1,500 positions over the next two years through attrition, and by offering early retirement and severance packages.

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The move comes after the company conducted a strategy review a years ago, said Mahon. But here in London, the news came as a surprise to Mayor Matt Brown.

“We’re concerned about the individuals affected, the families affected, everyone who works at London Life as well. These are difficult days for sure,” Brown told AM980.

“On behalf of the City of London, on behalf of all Londoners, our hearts go out to you. We certainly feel that London Life is a significant institution, a significant employer in our community — it has been for well over 100 years — and on this difficult day, those most directly affected need to know that they have our strong support.”

Meanwhile, Mahon said a transformation to the company’s Canadian operations marks a new era that “will result in long-term benefits and strong returns for our customers, advisers, employees, and shareholders.”

“We are confident the changes we are making are the right ones to solidify our leadership position in Canada, and propel our business forward in a rapidly evolving and increasingly competitive marketplace.”

Around 2,000 people work for London Life, making it the city’s ninth largest employer. It was founded in 1874, and offers investment plans, retirement income plans, life insurance, and mortgages.

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