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Amazon getting warm welcome as it expands in Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (AP)

Seattle-based online shopping giant Amazon is set for yet another major expansion that will open up new office space and add thousands of more jobs … in Vancouver B.C.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was present Monday morning to announce Amazon’s plans to expand in Vancouver B.C. with a new 416,000-square-foot office building. It will allow the company to add 3,000 new jobs to the city.

“Today’s announcement is a testament to Canada’s highly-skilled, diverse workforce and tremendous potential as an innovation and tech hub,” Trudeau said. “Tech talent and investment are coming to our country in record numbers, and companies like Amazon are bringing even more energy, vision – and thousands of good jobs – to Canada. We are proud to champion these companies, who invest in our talent and the future of our economy, and create new opportunities for Canadians to succeed.”

The new Vancouver office is slated to open in 2022. It will house employees working on cloud computing, machine learning, and e-commerce technology. About 1,000 people already work for Amazon in Vancouver. The company expects to employ 5,000 people there in the near future.

Meanwhile, the company’s home city, Seattle, is en route to passing a new tax targeted at the online company. The employee hours tax, aka a head tax, is expected to cost companies earning more than $20 million annually about 26 cents per hour, per employee. It has yet to pass the city council.

The prime minister’s office notes that Amazon already employs about 4,100 people in Canada, between Vancouver, Toronto, and Ottawa. Prime Minister Trudeau also met with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on “several occasions” over the past year.

Trudeau’s office also points out that Toronto is in the running to become Amazon’s second headquarters. Bezos has been traveling to a variety of cities recently with potential for HQ2.

GeekWire reports that Vancouver B.C. has not only attracted Amazon from Seattle. Microsoft, Zillow, and Tableau also have offices there. Officials at the Monday morning announcement said that they used the new “nerd bird” to get there — a seaplane route between Seattle’s Lake Union and Vancouver. They also said they hope for high-speed rail to further connect the two tech hubs.

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