Microsoft expanding Canadian presence with cloud hub, data centre, 500 hires in Vancouver

Microsoft Canada Vancouver office

Microsoft has announced plans to grow its Canadian footprint, with plans to hire for 500 technical roles for a new cloud hub in Vancouver and open a new Toronto data centre.

The Azure Edge Zone cloud hub in Vancouver will serve Microsoft Azure customers in the area. The Vancouver hub will complement Microsoft’s existing Canadian Azure locations and enable the company’s Western Canadian healthcare and public sector customers to address data residency and compliance requirements. Microsoft’s Data Innovation Centre of Excellence in Toronto will provide data analytics and local engineering expertise to the company’s Canadian customers.

“Microsoft is committed to helping Canada emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever.”

“Microsoft is committed to helping Canada emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever,” said Kevin Peesker, president of Microsoft Canada. “Our deep cloud and talent investments, combined with our widespread skilling efforts, will help organizations of all types and sizes accelerate their digital transformation.”

Through its planned hires, Microsoft Vancouver aims to grow the company’s presence in Vancouver to 1,700. Microsoft currently employs approximately 3,200 people across Canada. The new additions will be on Microsoft’s Intelligent Communications, Office, Azure, OneDrive, web experiences, and mixed reality teams.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told The Canadian Press that Microsoft decided to expand its presence in Canada in part to take advantage of the country’s level of human capital, which he characterized as “huge,” while also highlighting the strength of Canadian artificial intelligence (AI) expertise.

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This week, Microsoft Canada also announced plans to add eight more post-secondary schools to its Canada Skills Program, which the company launched last fall.

The program aims to help students acquire in-demand cloud, data and AI skills and Microsoft certifications alongside their education, “enhancing their employability as they enter the job market.” The move will bring the program to a total of 20 schools across six provinces.

The organization has added New Brunswick Community College, Georgian College, Collège La Cité, McMaster University, DeGroote School of Business, University of Toronto, School of Continuing Studies, University of Waterloo, LaSalle College Vancouver, and Red River College to the initiative. Since the program’s launch six months ago, over 20,000 students have participated.

For young tech workers entering the workforce, Nadella highlighted the importance of soft skills and the ability to collaborate with others. “When you think about work, of course, you are hired because of the skills you have, the core capability that you bring to a job, but to get anything meaningfully done, you have to work in teams,” said Nadella during a presentation announcing the move.

Peesker called building a talent pipeline equipped with cloud, data and AI skills “key to strengthening Canada’s innovation economy, adding that the pandemic “has made these needs more acute than ever.”

Photo courtesy of Microsoft

Josh Scott

Josh Scott

Josh is a BetaKit staff writer who loves to tell Canadian business and tech stories. His coverage is more complete than his moustache.