Google has announced plans for significant new expansions in Waterloo, Toronto and Montréal.
At an event in Toronto, the company announced it is constructing new offices in each city, with the aim of accommodating up to 5,000 employees by 2022. Google currently employs 1,500 engineers, sales leaders and AI researchers in Canada, which means it will more than triple in size over the next two years.
In Waterloo Region, the Google campus in downtown Kitchener will expand to include a new tower within Breithaupt Block (a development in the community’s Innovation District), bringing the seated capacity to 3,000, more than doubling Google’s current footprint in the Region’s largest city.
The other big news is that the company will also launch Canada’s very first Google for Startups Accelerator in Waterloo Region. The accelerator will focus on machine learning and artificial intelligence, adding to the area’s robust AI ecosystem.
Finally, Google announced an additional $2.5 million grant for NPower Canada, a charitable organization that launches underserved young adults into meaningful and sustainable careers. The new grant will fund scholarships to help Canadians pursue training in the Python coding language, which is a highly sought-after skillset among tech employers.
" Google has carefully and steadily grown its mandate and presence in Waterloo to become a major, collaborative anchor company in our globally significant tech scene. More importantly, it has strengthened our ecosystem by becoming a magnet for great local and global talent, both in the re-shoring of Canadian expats and attracting new immigrants. "
President & CEO, Waterloo EDC
“In addition, it supports our leading post-secondary experiential learning and co-op programs, startups, scale-ups and broader community education and training initiatives with significant social impact in mind. Google’s growing footprint has boosted Waterloo Region’s dynamic ecosystem. Indeed, a number of local homegrown and Canadian tech companies are thriving here and many ex-Googlers have gone on to start exciting new companies of their own, such as Faire Wholesale—our newest unicorn. I congratulate Google for their Waterloo expansion and, along with my peers in Toronto and Montréal, commend the company’s commitment to the Canadian tech scene with genuine enthusiasm.”
Google originally came to Waterloo when it acquired a small startup with just four employees. Ten years later, the local operation became the company’s Canadian engineering headquarters, spearheading work on Gmail and Stadia. When the existing 150,000 square foot Waterloo facility opened in 2016, it was reportedly their second-largest engineering office outside of their headquarters in Mountain View, California.
Like the other tech leaders located in Waterloo – including OpenText, BlackBerry, Shopify and SAP – and the robust collection of startups and scale-ups, Google has also planted a flag in the area to attract high-quality tech talent in an increasingly competitive global environment.
“The talent pipeline here is world-class quality with better costs, retention rates and collaborative culture than anywhere in North America,” said Steve Woods, Senior Engineering Director at Google Canada, in 2018.
The University of Waterloo, located just five kilometres (three miles) from the planned Google expansion, is Canada’s top technical university. It is home to the country’s leading computer science and engineering programs and has a reputation as one of Silicon Valley’s top talent sources.