Amazon to hire 2,500 people for 2 new fulfilment centres in southern Ontario

Amazon is opening two new fulfilment centres about an hour east and west of Toronto, a move that will result in the hiring of 2,500 people.

Centres will be in Ajax and Hamilton

Amazon is opening two new fulfilment centres in the Toronto area next year. (The Associated Press)

Amazon is opening two new fulfilment centres just east and west of Toronto, a move that will result in the hiring of 2,500 people.

The Seattle-based e-commerce company announced on Wednesday that it will open a fulfilment centre in Ajax, Ont., which is about 50 kilometres east of Toronto, next year. At the same time, it will open another centre in Hamilton, Ont., about 70 km southwest of Canada's biggest city.

Both are slated to open in 2021.

Amazon currently employs 21,000 people in Canada.

"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," Sumegha Kumar, Amazon Canada's customer fulfilment operations director, said in a release.

Fulfilment centres are where the company processes orders for local communities, before dispatching them to customers in the area. It's anticipated that the Hamilton site will employ about 1,500 people, while Ajax will have about 1,000 full-time workers.

The new centres will mean the company has 10 in Ontario alone, and 16 across Canada.

Hiring spree around the world

In addition to the fulfilment centres, the company says it is also adding three new delivery stations in and around Toronto that process and dispatch the so-called "last mile" of deliveries. The new stations will be in Stoney Creek, near Hamilton, and in Scarborough and Vaughan, which are east and north of Toronto.

The new jobs come against the backdrop of criticism of the company for some of its labour practices, including health and safety concerns amid COVID-19. An Amazon executive recently resigned in protest of the firings of three workers who blew the whistle about outbreaks. And some Amazon workers who work in existing Canadian distribution centres shared similar concerns with the CBC in a recent story.

In the release, the company boasted that it has an "industry-leading workplace" and trumpeted that the jobs will pay competitive hourly wages and have comprehensive benefits, a group RRSP plan, and stock-based compensation right from the start.

The company is also facing a probe from Canada's Competition Bureau as to whether or not it gives preferential placement to its own products, to the detriment of consumers and third-party vendors who sell on its platform.

The moves to beef up its Canadian workforce are part of a larger hiring spree at the company. The U.S. parent said Wednesday it plans to hire 33,000 technology and office staff across the U.S. in the coming months, on top of the 175,000 people it has hired at its distribution centres since the pandemic began, to keep up with booming demand for online deliveries.

The company's workforce recently topped one million people around the world, making Amazon the second biggest private employer in the world, behind Walmart.

With files from The Associated Press


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