Amazon said it will be looking to hire 600 technology professionals over the coming years. This is on top of 800 they already employ in Ontario’s capital.
This news comes to addition of many other tech companies like Microsoft, Facebook, and Shopify opening new offices and hiring thousands of new employees combined. Toronto can not build office towers fast enough.
Amazon is hoping to hire professionals in software development, machine learning and cloud computing fields.
Toronto office is one of the 18 tech hubs Amazon has around North America. Toronto was shortlisted down to Top 20 to be on Amazon HQ2 list but unfortunately (or fortunately) lost out to the City of New York and Arglington, Virginia.
Toronto Mayor said he was happy that hundreds of jobs are being created.
Amazon is getting ready to pick its second head office from the list of 20 cities they have shortlisted just few months ago.
Amazon officials have been visiting the 20 different cities and going over various stats for each city. If chosen, the city is bound to receive $5 billion dollars (that’s with a B) and 50,000 jobs. No one is quite sure who will get it though.
Toronto, the only Canadian city chosen, have been vying to be selected but unfortunately unlike its American counterparts is restricted from offering tax incentives.
But it is not gave over just yet, a new study published by Resonance, sees Toronto as #2 city on the list after New York. Their own analysis was based on cultural community fit, quality of life, housing affordability, recreational opportunities, business environments and the availability of talent.
We found out that Amazon officials came to Toronto few weeks ago and stayed for 2 days. They asked questions about health care and the tech sector.
Julia Sakas , Toronto Global representative said:
“They were very interested in hearing more about our tech sector and the benefits that come from our publicly funded health care and education systems. It was a very productive and positive visit, and an opportunity for us to promote the incredible access to highly-skilled, highly-educated, diverse, global talent available to them in the Toronto Region.”
“Mayor was glad to have the opportunity to tell the Toronto Region’s unique story in person to the officials. He told them (Amazon team) there is no other city region in North America that can boast the same talent, the same quality of life, the same vibrancy and economic strength.”
Toronto is competing against cities like Atlanta, Austin, New York and Raleigh, N.C. Toronto is also one of the few cities that has decided not to provide financial incentive for Amazon to come here. Free government health care, open immigration policies and vast tech talent is Toronto’s main selling point.
Amazon just announced that it has narrowed down the list of cities to 20 for their HQ2 location. Just as a reminder, Amazon wants to spend $5 billion dollars in the city, and hire 50,000 employees there. Amazon said it will make their final decision by the end of 2018.
Paddy Power, website that takes wagers on sports but ventures into politics and other topics, gives Atlanta 2-to-1 odds against winning the competition. Philadelphia is at 7-to-1, Boston at 8-to-1 and Toronto at 9-to-1.
Different publications, blogs and mediums have rushed to the internet with their predictions. Cities like Denver, Colorado, and Austin, TX area as well as Chicago were being highlighted as potentials for Amazon’s HQ2.
A lot of naysayers are saying that Canada can never compete with the US on kickbacks aka subsidies that US cities and states can provide to the retail’s giant.
Why Canada has a Chance
However Canada has one thing going that US does not. We do not have Trump north of the border. And this will help Canada tremendously as US giant might want to diversify their assets, and get easier access to more talent.
Mayor Jim Watson of Ottawa on a visit to Seattle said – according to NY Times: “Amazon has something like 9,000 engineering jobs they can’t fill. Our immigration policy is much more liberal. That’s where we have an advantage.”
Canada Can Do It
Quiet a few cities in Canada can satisfy few of Amazon’s demands. Let’s see:
1m people or more – yes
International Airport – yes
Tax Breaks – maybe
Affordable housing – maybe
Attract Good talent – maybe
Size of course matters to Amazon and that is why med population city might be disqualified on a spot – cities like Edmonton, Calgary , Winnipeg and Ottawa. With unemployment already at 0.02% in IT, it would be interesting how mid sized cities can help Amazon to hire 50,000 top notch engineers in those cities.
Location Matters Also
Location matters also – with Seattle being HQ1, why would Amazon open HQ2 within few hundred kilometers away from HQ1. It makes no sense.
Vancouver is just too close to Seattle. No point for Amazon to locate HQ in Vancouver. If it ends in Canada it will be Toronto
Language and ability to attract highly talented staff might prove difficult for Montreal to get Amazon to come there. With governing opposition parties pushing for making French language mandatory for companies with 10 or more employees – it would be interesting to see how Amazon the largest retail ecommerce store would handle that. Also getting highly specialized talent to come to Montreal with their families would prove to be difficult due to salaries / language requirements.
@DenisCoderre Please consider releasing the burden of French on companies. Amazon will not consider Montreal due to language.
No matter how competitive other cities in Canada are. Toronto is where HQ2 will open if it would be open in Canada. Toronto has a vibrant economy and is already considered to be a top place for tech businesses to operate in. With population of around 5m within an hour drive and specialized tech talent – Toronto can rival any US city.