Computing technology giant Microsoft has started building its new Canadian headquarters in downtown Toronto, with plans to invest $570 million CAD (US$441 million) over the next four years.
Much of the money earmarked for Canada will be used to hire new staff, renovate offices, and expand the Montreal-based artificial intelligence lab that Microsoft launched last year.
The new headquarters, under construction in CIBC Square in central Toronto, will be inaugurated in September 2020.
“By relocating our headquarters to downtown Toronto, we will be able to better serve our customers and attract top talent to continue to drive innovation and growth for our Canadian customers and our large partner ecosystem,” stated Microsoft Canada President Kevin Peesker in a press release.
Microsoft, which currently has 2,300 employees in Canada, will add 500 people to the payroll in the coming years. The US company has been present in Canada since 1985, runs two data centers (Toronto and Quebec), and an innovation hub in Vancouver.
Moreover, it has 14,000 partners, who sell, service, or deploy its products, such as the Windows operating system and Azure cloud service. Over the next two years, Microsoft says, the technology ecosystem it is building will account for 60,000 jobs in the country.
The Redmond, Washington-based company has also unveiled plans to invest $10 million CAD into Cascadia Innovation Corridor over the next five years, an initiative formed in collaboration between Washington and British Columbia to create new economic opportunities.
Microsoft has also donated more than $178 million CAD in cash and software services to Canadian non-profits, in addition to supporting more than 5,700 startups.