Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) will open two new fulfilment centres in Hamilton, Ont. and Ajax, Ont., creating 2,500 jobs as the e-commerce behemoth continues to expand its reach in Canada.
The Seattle-based company announced Wednesday that it will open the two new fulfilment centres by 2021, bringing its total fulfilment centres in Ontario to 10. Across Canada, Amazon will operate 16 of these warehouses where goods purchased on its website are stored, picked, packed and eventually shipped to customers.
The company touted the creation of 2,500 full-time jobs with the opening of the two facilities. Approximately 1,500 employees will work at the Hamilton warehouse, working alongside Amazon’s automated robots to pick, pack and ship small items, such as electronics and toys. Another 1,000 employees will work in Ajax assisting in the packing and shipping of larger items, such as bicycles and patio furniture.
"We're thrilled to continue expanding our operations in Ontario with our newest fulfilment centres in Hamilton and Ajax," Sumegha Kumar, Amazon Canada’s director of Canadian Customer Fulfilment Operations, said in a statement.
"We've had great success with the talented workforce in Ontario, and we look forward to creating an additional 2,500 full-time jobs with competitive pay and benefits starting on day one."
Local politicians based in Hamilton and Ajax also offered statements thanking and welcoming Amazon to their communities.
Amazon is currently being investigated by Canada’s Competition Bureau over whether its Canadian marketplace is impacting competition to the detriment of both consumers and companies doing business in Canada. Part of the investigation will look at the ability of third party sellers to succeed on Amazon’s website without using its fulfilment services.
Amazon’s expansion in Canada comes as the company’s business thrives through the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen e-commerce growth explode across the retail sector. Demand for the e-commerce giant has been so high that Amazon had to hire 175,000 people to help pack and ship orders in its warehouses. Amazon said Wednesday that it is seeking to bring 33,000 people for corporate and tech roles in the next few months, marking the largest number of job openings it’s had at one time.
But the e-commerce giant has also been criticized for its treatment of workers through the pandemic. Amazon vice president and engineer Tim Bray quit the company in May, citing “dismay at Amazon firing whistleblowers who were making noise about warehouse employees frightened of COVID-19.”
“At the end of the day, the big problem isn’t the specifics of COVID-19 response,” Bray wrote in a blog post on his personal website.
“It’s that Amazon treats the humans in the warehouses as fungible units of pick-and-pack potential.”
With files from the Associated Press