Tag Archives: amazon

Canadian Govt Eyes Regulating Facebook, Other Tech

The Canadian government said it might start regulating social media and other tech companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Twitter in Canada soon.

Minister of Democratic Institutions, Karina Gould, mentioned that she thinks that Canadians are fed up with tech giants and want the government to do something about it.

Gould’s announcement is coincided with many other countries attempts at cracking down on social media.

Recently countries like UK and Australia passed a very stringent laws against social medias. Most of these laws cover how the social media should handle “online harms” and how expeditiously they suppose to take it down. In Australia for example if content is not removed fast enough, Facebook execs could face jail time.

Taylor Owen, an associate professor at McGill, in his interview with The Toronto Star, mentioned that government has to tread carefully as te government starts to introduce new restrictive laws.

“We better get the democratic governance right if we have any hope of pushing back against the autocratic model.”

Taylor Owen, an associate professor at McGill

Mark Zuckerberg is founder and chief executive of Facebook, agrees with the notion in his op-ed in Wall Street Journal.

I believe we need a more active role for governments and regulators. By updating the rules for the Internet, we can preserve what’s best about it — the freedom for people to express themselves and for entrepreneurs to build new things — while also protecting society from broader harms.

From what I’ve learned, I believe we need new regulation in four areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive, Facebook

Spokesman for Google said no matter what they will continue working with the government to “protect Canada’s democratic institutions and election activities.”

After NYC Loses Amazon’s HQ2 – Toronto Tries Again

As you probably have already heard NYC lost its Amazon HQ2 due to much publicized debate in New York City about why a city should subsidize a company with billions of dollars in profits when they can put money to better use to address issues such as shortage of housing and poverty.

Amazon decided to pull out of New York on Thursday last week due to tremendous pressure put by local government. Amazon was supposed to invest billions of dollars and hire 50,000 high-paying mainly tech jobs.

“A number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward.”

Amazon Inc.

This development might help Donald Trump to get reelected in few years as Republicans can paint Democrats as anti-business and not open for business.

Some local companies were not happy with this announcement.

“I’m really upset because I don’t think they realized what they did. And they’re proud of it? They think they did something lovely? They wanted the political gain, they should have done it in a different way. They get put into office for us, not to work for themselves.”

Gianna Cerbone, Restaurant Owner in interview with New York Times

Within hours of Amazon’s announcement that they are pulling out of the city, Toronto Mayor was quick to try to entice them to come to Toronto again.

I remain so proud of the Toronto Region's Amazon HQ2 bid and the opportunities I'm confident it has opened up for our…

Posted by John Tory on Thursday, February 14, 2019

Amazon said in a statement that it did “not intend to reopen the HQ2 search at this time.” Even if they would even consider Toronto, some Toronto residents like John Tokatlidis were not so happy about this idea.

“Never mind Amazon. How are you improving our public transit?For one, why is Dundas West Station and the Up Express/Go Station not connected? It’s also not accessible for some citizens. We need you to prioritize and fix the issues. Homelessness on the rise. You are pushing runaway development to make this your Mega city that you have forgotten your election promises. Get to work Mr Tory, do the job you were elected to do! “

John Tokatlidis, Toronto’s resident in Facebook comment

Amazon’s Fight with Toronto Drivers’ Union

According to The Logic, in-depth reporting publication, Toronto’s Amazon Drivers Union says that Amazon’s anti-union tactics made drivers lose their jobs and made one courier company go bankrupt.

Union says that under existing conditions with Amazon, drivers are powerless to negotiate their working conditions. Amazon says that drivers are not direct employees and are contractors only.

Union, United Food and Commercial Workers Canada (UFCW), is not happy with that explanation and has decided to lodge a complaint with the board. They allege that by denying drivers’ full time employee status and just consider them contractors yet directing all of the work Amazon creates unfair labour practice.

In 2017-2018 one courier company, DEC Fleet Services, used to operate in Mississauga and Scarborough to deliver for Amazon exclusively. They have decided to unionize while delivering for Amazon. Due to unionization the operating costs went up. Soon after the unionization Amazon has cut their usage of the firm and a year later DEC has declared bankruptcy.

Amazon and DEC did not have a fixed contract, meaning that Amazon could end its contract for any reason. Amazon denies that DEC’s drivers are Amazon’s employees.

DEC’s president Sandy Montgomery said that with working for Amazon:

“I saw a ton of low-margin, major-effort work. Everybody wants free delivery; everybody wants cheap. On the other hand, they want to earn top dollar. It’s a challenging line of work.”

DEC’s president Sandy Montgomery

Another company All Canadian Courier, has decided to unionized. They wanted the more senior drivers to select their own routes and schedule while working for Amazon.

However that has not been allowed due to a clause in Amazon’s agreement: “Amazon has specific operational and or other requirements that are beyond the control of the company and are a requirement of maintaining the business. These requirements are subject to change without notice and are as determined by the customer. “

The union has since rejected that wording.

Toronto loses Amazon HQ2, but gains 600 tech jobs

Amazon said it will be looking to hire 600 technology professionals over the coming years. This is on top of 800 they already employ in Ontario’s capital.

This news comes to addition of many other tech companies like Microsoft, Facebook, and Shopify opening new offices and hiring thousands of new employees combined. Toronto can not build office towers fast enough.

Amazon is hoping to hire professionals in software development, machine learning and cloud computing fields.

Toronto office is one of the 18 tech hubs Amazon has around North America. Toronto was shortlisted down to Top 20 to be on Amazon HQ2 list but unfortunately (or fortunately) lost out to the City of New York and Arglington, Virginia.

Toronto Mayor said he was happy that hundreds of jobs are being created.

New NAFTA increases online shopping duty free for Canadians

After months of negotiations Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau have finally come to an agreement and there is much to be celebrated about this new deal when it comes to Canadian online shopping.

Canadian online shoppers will be pleased that now they will be able to ship more goods into Canada without paying duties as new agreement increased the minimum cross-border purchase price for duties and taxes, known as deminimis threshold. We wrote in an article not so long ago pushing for this change in increase to duties exemptions. I guess Trump and Trudeau have listened to our rumblings.

Canada’s deminimis threshold was $20 since the 80s and have not been updated since. That means that anything you ship into Canada over $20 must incur a duty and a tax unless the product is exempt.

Under the new NAFTA or the new name of NAFTA, USMCA, these thresholds will be increased. Canada has agreed to increase deminimus to $40 for tax purposes (ie GST/HST) and $150 for duty purchases.

Canadian retail was not pleased with the change as they say hundreds and possible thousands of retail jobs will now be lost.

Mexico has also upped its deminimis to $100 US or about $130 Canadian while US has decided to decrease their deminimis from $800 to $100 US.

So Canada has now officially the largest duty free exemption in North America. Sounds like a win for Canadian consumers. Time to load up that www.amazon.com.

Amazon to Hire 600 in Ottawa

Amazon announced this week that they will be building a new sorting warehouse facility in Ottawa about 1 million sq ft, and will require 600 employees to operate it.

On your first day of work at Amazon you will eligible for nice hourly wages, medical / vision / dental coverage, a group RRSP, stock options, and performance-based bonuses.

Director of Amazon Operations in Canada , Glenn Sommerville, said

“Ontario continues to be a great place for Amazon to do business and we look forward to adding a fulfillment centre in the National Capital Region. Our ability to expand in Ontario and create more than 600 new jobs is the result of two things: incredible customers and an outstanding workforce. Amazon is committed to providing great opportunities for employment and creating a positive economic impact for the region.”

Amazon warehouse is set to open in few years, but they will be starting the hiring process soon to hire associates to “pick, pack, and ship large items like household decor, sporting equipment and gardening tools.”

You can watch video about what it’s like to work at Amazon warehouse below

Amazon has about 6,000 employees in Canada, and has announced opening of a big office in Vancouver recently as well.

Newly elected Ontario provincial Premier, Doug Ford, was pleased with the news as well

“We applaud Amazon for making this investment and, we look forward to doing our part to help other top employers create and protect good jobs in our province. Ontario is open for business.”

 

Toronto Places Second for Amazon HQ2, New Study Says

Amazon is getting ready to pick its second head office from the list of 20 cities they have shortlisted just few months ago.

Amazon officials have been visiting the 20 different cities and going over various stats for each city. If chosen, the city is bound to receive $5 billion dollars (that’s with a B) and 50,000 jobs. No one is quite sure who will get it though.

Toronto, the only Canadian city chosen, have been vying to be selected but unfortunately unlike its American counterparts is restricted from offering tax incentives.

But it is not gave over just yet, a new study published by Resonance, sees Toronto as #2 city on the list after New York. Their own analysis was based on cultural community fit, quality of life, housing affordability, recreational opportunities, business environments and the availability of talent.

However the report warned that even though Toronto is #2 on the list there are other factors that could be in play

“Canadian cities like Toronto, a place that scored very well in our analysis and has both the people and the land… are prohibited from offering the tax incentives that U.S. cities can.

Amazon’s announcement last week that they will be expanding their team in Vancouver to around 5,000 employees also makes it less likely that they would choose another Canadian city for HQ2.”

I guess we will have to wait and see.