Google Unveils Plans for Three New Canadian Offices

The tech giant is expanding its presence in Canada by investing in training, opening an accelerator, and hiring 3,500 employees.

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Analysis

  • Google is opening three new offices in Canada, based in Toronto, Waterloo, and Montreal.
  • Google is also opening a brand new Google for Startups Accelerator, based out of Waterloo.
  • NPower Canada, a tech-training hub, is receiving a $2.5 million grant from Google.org.
  • Google also announced plans to boost its employee count to 5,000 in Canada, which would represent 3,500 new hires.
  • Research company Public First states that Google search and ads are supporting $1.7 billion in additional exports for the Canadian economy.

Need to Know

Google is no stranger to Canada. The tech giant has invested in tech hubs around the country, helped Canadians get access to digital skills, and supported the transition and education of people into STEM

Most of this support has come through partnerships in the past: Canada Learning Code, MaRS, Actua, Vector Institute, MILA, and the University of Waterloo, among others.

But now Google is staking a claim with three new offices (of which the new locations in Toronto and Montreal will replace current spaces), building a Startup Accelerator in tech-laden Waterloo, and donating a healthy $2.5 million to nonprofit training organization for youth, NPower. 

It’s unsurprising that Google would consider a stronger presence in Canada as Toronto, Waterloo, and Montreal are some of the biggest tech hubs outside of Silicon Valley, especially when it comes to AI talent.

“There is extraordinary momentum up here. You put against that the extraordinary, homegrown talent, the openness of the Canadian market and the strength that we have,” said Ruth Porat, the senior vice-president and chief financial officer at Google, in an interview with The Canadian Press. “We are excited to bring it together as one announcement that really underscores how we are looking at the Canadian market.”

At the start of Google’s presence in Canada in 2001, they had one lone employee. Currently, Google employs around 1,500 employees, with a plan to expand to 5,000 with the opening of these three offices by 2022. 

Google also highlighted its reported economic impact on Canada’s economy: in 2019, Google’s search and advertising tools helped provide an estimated $16-23 billion in economic activity for over 500,000 businesses in Canada.

“The open web allows any size company or individual creator in Canada to become a global business and reach customers,” says Porat. “Canada’s digital economy is now bigger than its forestry, mining and gas industries, and the transition to digital reflects incredible momentum for Canadian businesses leveraging data and online technologies.”

Toronto’s Mayor, John Tory, says, “Today’s announcement by Google means more jobs and more investment in our city – this is good news for Toronto and Canada. We are the fastest growing city in North America with one of the fastest-growing tech and innovation sectors. I am proud that Google recognizes the importance of continuing to grow its presence here and in nearby Waterloo. These investments will ensure Google continues to contribute to our ongoing success story.”

Independent estimates suggest that the Android developer ecosystem is supporting almost 200,000 jobs right now across Canada, and $650 million in revenue. The newly announced three-month accelerator program based in Kitchener-Waterloo for high potential Seed to Series A startups is only going to build on that.

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