Amazon and Microsoft are Expanding in Vancouver

Both companies made announcements this week, and Amazon is adding 1,000 jobs in British Columbia's largest city.
 
 

Two of the biggest companies in the Seattle area (and, well, the world) are adding jobs north of the border. Microsoft and Amazon both announced this week that they’d be creating new jobs in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Amazon’s expansion in Vancouver is fairly substantial. Don’t call it HQ2, but the e-commerce giant is doubling its workforce in British Columbia’s largest city to 2,000 by 2020, Premier John Horgan announced.

Along with Alexandre Gagnon, Amazon’s vice-president for Canada and Mexico, Horgan made the announcement in downtown Vancouver, where Amazon will lease a 50,000 square foot building.

As for Microsoft, the Bellevue-based company is adding 50 new jobs in the “mixed reality market,” Brad Smith, president, announced Wednesday.

Microsoft also announced two new education partnerships in British Columbia: a partnership with the British Columbia Institute and Technology (to design curriculum for mixed reality) and a plan to pilot a new Microsoft Philanthropies program (TEALS) helping high schools build and grow computer science programs.

Smith recently discussed building a high-tech corridor between Seattle and Vancouver because of the need for talent, and is offering $1 million of Microsoft’s money to encourage joint projects between the University of Washington and the University of British Columbia.

Microsoft also announced last year that it would open a 750-person research operation in Vancouver, in part to get around tight restrictions in the United States on providing visas to foreign workers, an issue where uncertainty and restrictiveness has been amplified during the Trump administration.

Additional problems connecting Seattle and Vancouver include transportation between the two cities, and efforts are underway to improve that, as are additional efforts to improve the flow of people through the U.S.-Canada border.

Smith has also said he is working to complete a feasibility study for a high-speed railway to connect the cities in less than one hour.

Read more on Brad Smith’s thoughts for building a better “Cascadia” corridor in our August 2017 issue.

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