Employment Law

BlackBerry: Severance Packages

A photo of a laptop with code moving across the screen. (Photo: Markus Spiske / Unsplash)

BlackBerry is a Canadian multinational company known for its expertise in software and mobile communications.

Formerly known as Research In Motion (RIM), the company rebranded as BlackBerry in 2013. While BlackBerry initially gained prominence for its popular line of smartphones, it has since transitioned into a software and services company.

BlackBerry offers a wide range of services, including secure communication solutions, endpoint security, enterprise mobility management, and embedded systems. Their software platforms focus on areas such as cybersecurity, secure communication, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The iconic software company has several offices and over 1,600 employees in Canada. Office locations include Waterloo (their headquarters), Ottawa and Mississauga. They have a significant presence in the U.S. and other countries around the world.

Regarding employment, BlackBerry has various job types within the company. They employ professionals in software development, cybersecurity, sales, marketing, customer support, project management, and research, among other fields. They hire individuals with expertise in areas such as software engineering, data science, mobile app development, network security, and enterprise software.

BlackBerry was founded in 1984 in Waterloo, Ontario by Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, BlackBerry gained popularity for its wireless handheld devices and became a leader in the smartphone market. The company’s success peaked in the mid-2000s when it held a significant market share, but faced tough competition from other smartphone makers after the introduction of touchscreen devices like the iPhone.

Recent layoffs at BlackBerry

  • February 2024: BlackBerry announced that it has cut approximately 200 jobs, with plans to reduce its headcount further.
  • May 2023: BlackBerry completes the sale of over 32,000 patents and applications, generating $170 million in cash.
  • February 2016: The tech company fired 200 people in Waterloo and Florida as it remains focused on “driving efficiencies” across its workforce.
  • August 2013: BlackBerry is cutting 100 jobs in Waterloo as part of its previously announced transformation plan.

Severance pay for BlackBerry employees

In Canada, non-unionized employees at BlackBerry may get up to 24 months of severance pay when they are fired or laid off from their job. This applies to individuals working in any capacity—full-time, part-time, or hourly—in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia.

Severance is the compensation provided to non-unionized workers in Canada by their employer when they are terminated without cause.

Even if an employee is fired for cause, they may still be eligible for full severance pay. This is due to the high standards required to legally justify for-cause dismissal.

Severance for provincially regulated employees
Severance pay by company
• Federally regulated employees and severance pay
Severance packages in mass layoffs

The right to severance pay is consistent regardless of economic conditions, company downsizing, business closures, or significant public health events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

WATCH: Employment lawyer Lior Samfiru explains everything you need to know about severance pay on an episode of the Employment Law Show.

The employment lawyers at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP have represented tens of thousands of employees over the years in severance package negotiations.

We have successfully secured much larger amounts for countless individuals employed across a variety of positions, from entry level jobs to executives.

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How to properly calculate severance pay

There is a general belief that severance is one week’s pay, two weeks’ pay, or a week for every year of service an employee has with a company.

The reality is that severance for non-unionized employees in Canada is calculated using a variety of factors, including age, length of service, position, bonuses, benefits, your employment contract, and your ability to find new work.

• Severance Pay in Ontario
• Alberta severance packages
• Understanding severance in B.C.
Layoffs in Canada

Before accepting a severance offer, double-check the amount using our firm’s free Severance Pay Calculator. It has helped millions of Canadians determine their entitlements.

If your employer’s offer falls short of what our Severance Pay Calculator says you are owed, it’s very likely that you have been wrongfully dismissed and should contact an experienced employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.

Don’t sign on the dotted line!

Do not accept any severance offer, termination papers, or exit agreement that you receive. Once you sign back these documents, you eliminate your ability to negotiate additional severance pay.

Non-unionized employees in Canada have up to two years from the date of their dismissal to pursue proper severance pay. An employer’s deadline to sign back a severance offer is not legally enforceable or binding.

Generally speaking, if an employee does not receive the proper amount of severance pay when they lose their job, they may be considered to have been wrongfully dismissed. An employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP can analyze your situation and explain how much compensation you may be owed.

Talk to an employment lawyer

The experienced employment law team at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP has helped tens of thousands of non-unionized individuals across the country. In addition to severance package negotiations, our team has experience securing solutions for the following employment matters:


Our lawyers in Ontario, Alberta, and B.C. stand ready to help you solve your workplace issues.

If you are a non-unionized employee who needs help with an employment issue, contact us or call 1-855-821-5900 to get the advice you need, and the compensation you deserve.

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Our employment lawyers in Ontario, Alberta, and B.C. are ready to provide you with the advice you need and the compensation you deserve

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Disclaimer: The materials above are provided as general information about the rights of non-unionized employees in Canada. It is not specific to any one company and should not be read as suggesting any improper conduct on the part of any specific employer, or a relationship between Samfiru Tumarkin LLP and a specific employer.

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