UPDATE: Great West Life cutting jobs

Great-West Lifeco says it will cut 1,500 positions over the next two years in response to changing technology and customer expectations.

The cuts are equal to 13 per cent of the Winnipeg-based company’s 12,000 employees in Canada.

"We expect that the number of positions impacted will be distributed proportionately across our locations in Canada.

For Toronto that would mean approximately 175 positions. However, we expect the total number of employees impacted will depend on voluntary attrition and growth in our business."

It appears, the majority of the cuts will be in Winnipeg and London, with nearly 450 jobs being lost in those two cities.

Great-West says the job cuts are part of a transformation of its business as it faces heightened competition.

The company is aiming to reduce costs by consolidating real estate, improving its processes and updating information systems.

Great-West hasn’t yet revealed where or when the jobs will be cut but says it will reduce its temporary workforce, offer a voluntary retirement program and a severance program.

It expects to lower its annual costs by about $200 million, before taxes, by the end of March 2019. But the initiative’s costs will reduce its earnings in this year’s second quarter by $127 million after tax, or 13 cents per share.