Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), recently announced plans to open an infrastructure Region in Alberta, Canada, in late 2023/early 2024. The new AWS Canada West (Calgary) Region will consist of three Availability Zones (AZs) at launch and join the existing AWS Canada (Central) Region in Montreal, which also consists of three Availability Zones. Globally, AWS has 81 Availability Zones across 25 geographic regions, with plans to launch 27 more Availability Zones and nine more AWS Regions in Australia, Canada, India, Indonesia, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates.
The upcoming AWS Canada West (Calgary) Region will enable even more developers, startups, and enterprises, as well as government, education, and nonprofit organizations, to run their applications and serve end users from data centers located in Canada. AWS also released an economic impact study (EIS) estimating that the company’s spending on construction and the operation of the new AWS Canada West (Calgary) Region and existing AWS Canada (Central) Region in Montreal will together create more than 5,000 new jobs with an estimated investment of over $17 billion (CA$21 billion) in the local economies by 2037. Both infrastructure Regions will add an estimated $31.6 billion (CA$39 billion) to Canada’s GDP over the same time period.
“Our infrastructure in Canada has allowed customers to transform the way businesses, educational institutions, and government agencies serve their stakeholders. With another AWS Region in Canada, customers will see even lower latency for emerging solutions like 5G-enabled applications and machine learning at the edge, and it will strengthen their ability to architect their regional infrastructure for even greater fault tolerance, resiliency, and availability,” said Prasad Kalyanaraman, Vice President of Infrastructure Services at AWS. “We are excited to build world-class infrastructure to help organizations reinvent how they deliver customer solutions and fuel economic growth.”
“This major investment from AWS again demonstrates that Alberta is establishing itself as a dominant player in digital technology and innovation. This multibillion-dollar data center project in our province underscores the work being done by Invest Alberta to create jobs and diversify the economy,” said Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. “I look forward to working with AWS on this project and seeing how it will strengthen Alberta’s information technology and communication sector.”
In the newly announced AWS Canada West (Calgary) Region, AWS plans to invest over $3 billion (CA$4 billion) by 2037, which includes capital expenditures on the construction of data centers, operational expenses such as ongoing utilities and facility costs, and purchases of goods and services from regional businesses. The EIS also estimates that the new AWS Region will bring direct and indirect economic benefits like new employment and sales for the data center supply chain and related sectors in Canada. In total, investment in the new AWS Canada West (Calgary) Region is estimated to create more than 950 new full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs in Canada.
Investing in Canada’s Future
In addition to the AWS Canada (Central) Region in Montreal, AWS has launched five Amazon CloudFront edge locations in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. Amazon CloudFront is a highly secure and programmable content delivery network (CDN) that accelerates the delivery of data, videos, applications, and APIs to users worldwide with low latency and high transfer speeds. Amazon opened tech hubs in Toronto and Vancouver for developers, engineers, sales, marketing, and business development professionals to help local customers and partners, and opened the AWS Thinkbox office in Winnipeg focused on the development of solutions and services for the creative industry.
In March 2021, Amazon Games launched a new development studio in Montreal, and Amazon currently has 17 fulfillment centers, six sortation centers, and 35 delivery stations across the country. Amazon employs more than 39,500 full-time and part-time employees, and the company has announced plans to create thousands of additional jobs in the country across its operations network and teams including AWS, Amazon Ads, Amazon Games, Alexa, and Prime Video.
Upskilling Canada’s Workforce
AWS continues to invest in upskilling developers, students, and the next generation of IT leaders in Canada through programs like AWS re/Start, AWS Academy, and AWS Educate, and since 2013, has helped train more than 100,000 individuals with cloud computing skills. These AWS Education Programs help learners of all backgrounds and experiences prepare for careers in the cloud. From college courses to full-time training programs and self-paced learning content, AWS Education Programs offer access to the skills needed to begin a career in cloud computing. With the support of Calgary Economic Development’s Edge Up 2.0 program, AWS and Mount Royal University have teamed up to bring the AWS re/Start program to Calgary in early 2022. The AWS re/Start job skills training program will prepare individuals for entry level roles in cloud computing and connect them to potential employers as part of Amazon’s commitment to help 29 million people around the world grow their tech skills with free cloud computing training by 2025.
Commitment to Sustainability
Amazon is committed to running its business in an environmentally friendly way and has committed to reach net zero carbon across all business operations by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement, as part of The Climate Pledge. A key component of this commitment is powering Amazon’s global infrastructure with 100% renewable energy, and the company is now on a path to achieve this milestone by 2025, five years ahead of the initial 2030 target. In April 2021, Amazon announced its first renewable energy project in Canada—an 80 megawatt (MW) solar project in the County of Newell in Alberta. Once complete, the project will contribute an estimated 195,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable energy to the grid, which is enough energy to power more than 18,000 Canadian homes for a year. In June 2021, Amazon announced its second and largest renewable energy project in Canada—a 375 MW solar farm in Vulcan, Alberta. When it comes online next year, the project will bring Amazon’s capacity in Canada to more than 1 million MWhs, which is enough to power more than 100,000 Canadian homes for a year. These projects will contribute to powering Amazon’s global infrastructure.