When Amazon opened a fulfillment centre in Balzac (a small hamlet north of Calgary), it was the first of its kind in the province. However, a second centre, almost twice the size of Balzac’s, will open in the Edmonton metro region. This will create “more than 600 full-time jobs with opportunities for career training and development” when the 1,000,000-square-foot facility opens in Leduc Country in 2020.
Tanni Doblanko, Leduc County’s mayor, saw the expansion as a boon for the community. “We couldn’t be more proud that Amazon has selected Leduc County as the location of its newest fulfillment centre in Canada,” she said. “Amazon’s expansion will create well-paying, stable jobs for our citizens and help diversify and strengthen our local economy, the long-term sustainability of our region and our community-at-large. Leduc County is an ideal location for world-class businesses to set up or expand their operations, as evidenced by the fact Fortune 500 companies such as Amazon want to invest here.”
Amazon frequently makes headlines for controversial reasons, most notably for their treatment of workers. Employees have complained about unrealistic quotas, prison-level security, temperatures that reach 43 degrees Celsius, being fired after sustaining on-the-job injuries, and many more factors that might have people thinking twice about a job with the retail juggernaut. Workers in Amazon’s European warehouses walked off the job during Prime Day and Black Friday in 2018 to protest working conditions.
In an expose of Amazon for The Guardian in 2013, Carole Cadwalldr stated that the company “deliberately sites” its distribution centres in areas with “high unemployment and low economic opportunities,” and receives grants from the governments of those areas for doing so.