Google is Making Major Moves in Canada

Published on February 8, 2020

Google is planning on joining the tech boom in Canada by heavily expanding their presence in the country. They are setting up a foothold with the construction of new offices and headquarters that would allow the company to triple their workforce.

Google’s Growth Plans in Canada

Google’s expansion in Canada is occurring in three cities: Toronto, Montreal, and Kitchener. They will be moving into larger offices in both Toronto and Montreal, a move which will allow them to continue to “to tap into some of the best talent in the world.”

Google is also reportedly doubling the size of their R&D headquarters in Kitchener, which is the epicenter of the Waterloo tech region. In addition to the massive overhaul to their HQ, Google will be setting up a start-up accelerator in the city. By creating a mentor-ship and investment firm for start-ups, Google is finding yet another way to maximize their grip on the booming tech region.

The expansion in the Montreal and Toronto-Waterloo areas are particularly noteworthy after Google’s growth in Manhattan, NYC. With plans to double their workforce in the New York offices and triple their presence in Canada, Google looks to be setting themselves up to take over the Northeast.

Toronto-Waterloo: The New Silicon Valley

Canada’s Toronto-Waterloo corridor has become fertile grounds for the tech industry. In recent years, the area has grown to become the second largest tech cluster in North America, just behind Silicon Valley. There are three key factors in the rapid growth of the budding innovation cluster.

First, it comes down to the old adage, “location, location, location.” The Toronto-Waterloo corridor connects the country’s largest research and innovation hub of Waterloo to the country’s largest city of Toronto.

Second, there is a rich pool of talent to hire from. Toronto’s University system and the country’s immigration policies have fostered an environment in which skill-sets are honed and entrepreneurial spirits are nurtured. By having promising candidates from all over the world available for hire, tech companies can lay a solid foundation and grow quickly.

Third, the area is ripe with money and opportunity. There are reportedly 81 innovation hubs and start up accelerators in the Toronto-Waterloo area alone. Along with the 92 funders in the area, promising tech start-ups can hope to hit the ground running with solid backing. With that climate already in place, Google is looking to make a big impact with their own accelerator.

Tech Restrictions in Canada Could Make Things Tricky

What remains to be seen is the impact that new government legislation will have on Tech. In 2019, legislation passed that would see the Canadian government go hard on Big Tech and tax foreign companies more heavily.

Google could be affected by the proposed increase in tax on foreign companies’ Canadian revenue. The company historically has not released information on their income from the Canadian market specifically. The only information released is from a third-party, which states that Google is responsible for “$16-$23 billion in economic activity for over 500,000 businesses in Canada.” That vague statement will surely not satisfy Canadian tax authorities.

Google could also face difficulties when facing the country’s new digital charter. The charter focuses primarily on citizen’s personal data and how companies use it. It seems like the biggest hurdle Google will be faced with in their expansion is increasing their transparency.

Exciting Times in the Toronto-Waterloo Gold Rush

Google is looking to make sure that they are key players in the tech boom occurring in Canada. Their expansion shows that they are looking to work on new projects themselves, while their accelerator shows they want to become a part of the industry’s growth as a whole.

What will come of these new projects? Only Google knows.

Justin Shamlou is a Senior Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Miami, he covers international news, consumer brands, tech, art/entertainment, and events. Justin started his career covering the electronic music industry, working as the Miami correspondent for Magnetic Mag and US Editor for Data Transmission.

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