While cities across North America, including Vancouver, are vying to become the home for Amazon's second headquarters, the company has just added to what is already a significant presence in B.C.
Today (November 3) Amazon announced the opening of a second corporate office in Vancouver. The tech giant has secured 150,000 square feet of space at 402 Dunsmuir Street that will accommodate an expected 1,000 new employees.
Amazon already employs 1,800 people across the province, with more than 1,000 in Vancouver and a significant number at "fulfillment centres" in Delta and New Westminster.
"We're still hiring," said Amazon's Alexandre Gagnon during a briefing at its downtown offices at 510 West Georgia Street.
Gagnon, vice president for Amazon Canada and Mexico, said that about 90 percent of the staff at the existing Vancouver office are software engineers, and that the company is one of the largest employers of software engineers in Canada.
At the news conference, Premier John Horgan talked about the continuing need for affordable housing, transit, and investments in postsecondary education, which he said his government promised to address and would continue to work on.
MP Carla Qualtrough, federal minister for public services and procurement, said Canada's immigration system makes the country an appealing place for companies to set up offices. "It's great that global leaders like Amazon see Vancouver is a place to invest," she said.
In addition to the new corporate space, Jesse Dougherty, general manager of Amazon's Vancouver operations, announced a $25,000 donation to B.C.'s First Nations Technology Council (FNTC). The money will be used to purchase laptops for Indigenous students.
The donation is only the first step in a partnership, the Vancouver-born and B.C.-raised Dougherty explained. Amazon will continue to support FNTC with mentoring and coaching.
FNTC executive director Denise Williams said technology "has the power to be an equalizer" and that the council is working to ensure that "all 203 First Nations communities in B.C." get equal access to digital technology.More