Amazon won’t confirm how many Canadians impacted by forthcoming 9,000 employee layoffs

Amazon logo on phone
Worldwide cuts will impact AWS, PXT, advertising, and Twitch teams.

Amazon’s CEO Andy Jassy issued an update today that called for the e-commerce and cloud giant to eliminate about 9,000 more positions over the next few weeks. The layoffs will “mostly” take place in AWS, PXT, advertising and Twitch.

“This was a difficult decision, but one that we think is best for the company long term,” Jassy wrote.

Jassy said that for several years leading up to 2023, most of Amazon’s businesses have added a significant amount of staff, which made sense given what was happening in the economy as a whole.

Amazon currently has some 22,604 positions in Canada according to its LinkedIn page. Globally, the company has roughly 1.5 million employees.

“However, given the uncertain economy in which we reside, and the uncertainty that exists in the near future, we have chosen to be more streamlined in our costs and headcount,” Jassy wrote.

Initial business re-evaluations led the Seattle-headquartered Amazon to shed 18,000 positions, which the company first announced in January. The second phase of the firm’s planning is now resulting in the aforementioned additional 9,000 layoffs.

Of those layoffs, at presstime, it remained uncertain as to how many positions in Canada might be impacted; an Amazon Canada spokesperson declined a request for comment from BetaKit, adding, “we don’t have any additional detail to share at this time.”

Amazon currently has some 22,604 positions in Canada according to its LinkedIn page. Globally, the company has roughly 1.5 million employees.

The New York Times reported that the layoffs would amount to roughly three percent of the company’s workforce.

As to why these layoffs weren’t announced with the first round, Jassy wrote that not all of Amazon’s teams had completed their annual planning analysis last fall. “Rather than rush through these assessments without the appropriate diligence, we chose to share these decisions as we’ve made them so people had the information as soon as possible,” Jassy noted.

Once it’s been determined which roles are to be impacted in mid-to-late April, the company will inform the impacted employees. Employee packages will include a separation payment, transitional health insurance benefits, and external job placement support.

“The overriding tenet of our annual planning this year was to be leaner while doing so in a way that enables us to still invest robustly in the key long-term customer experiences that we believe can meaningfully improve customers’ lives and Amazon as a whole,” Jassy wrote.

Over at Amazon’s streaming platform Twitch, new CEO Dan Clancy announced that 400 jobs would be cut. Clancy’s announcement came shortly after former Twitch CEO and co-founder Emmett Shear tendered his resignation after 16 years with the company.

After announcing the previous cuts in January, Amazon also paused construction on what was described as a “sprawling second headquarters” near Washington.

The layoffs at Amazon follow its previous commitment to Canada of hiring 1,800 tech and corporate roles by the end of 2021 (as part of a broader 3,500-employee commitment). At that time, the company confirmed it had about 25,000 Canadian employees across its fulfillment centres, corporate offices, development centres, and other facilities. Amazon has locations in British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, and Québec.

“In a remarkable turn for a company long touting its job creation, Amazon will have eliminated 27,000 positions in recent months, or 9 percent of its roughly 300,000-person corporate work force,” The Globe and Mail reported.

Amazon AWS, which launched with its central region in Canada in 2016, recently announced a second Canadian region for Alberta in 2023 or early 2024. It’s not certain if and how the layoffs announcement will impact the opening of that region.

At presstime, Amazon shares had dropped more than two percent during trading.

The US retail giant is the latest major tech company to put in place mass staff cuts as it trims roles amid the macroeconomic downturn.

Like Amazon, Meta has also made a series of broad reductions across its organization—including an announced 10,000 employee reduction last week—calling into question its prior Canadian hiring goals. Twitter’s mass job cuts hit its Canadian offices, which saw top levels of its team let go.

Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, also announced in early February that it would reduce its staff by 12,000 people globally, while in recent weeks, Salesforce, Microsoft, and others have all cut their global workforces.

Feature image courtesy Unsplash.

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel's reporting and writing on technology has appeared in, Canadian Business, Report on Business Magazine, Canada's National Observer, The Globe and Mail, and the National Post, among many others. He lives off-grid in Nova Scotia.

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