Bargain basement rates

Vancouver pitches itself to Amazon as 'Walmart of tech workers'

Bargain basement rates
The downtown and Lions Gate Bridge are enveloped in morning fog in Vancouver, in this view from nearby Cypress Mountain in 2013. REUTERS/Andy Clark


VANCOUVER – While several cities are keen to become the host city for Amazon’s second headquarters, Vancouver got into hot water recently over its pitch.

In a 50-page bid proposal, the city boasted that its tech workers have the “lowest wages of all North American tech hubs,” according to the National Post.

“Great, we’re now the Walmart of tech workers in North America — cheapest prices ever,” said Andrew Yan, director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University. “That’s a great place to start selling yourself.”

Unlike other cities, Vancouver  was not prepared to offer tax incentives to Amazon, so it needed to draw attention to other enticements to create a “best-value proposition,” according to James Raymond, manager of research and analysis at the Vancouver Economic Commission.

“We are the lowest-cost tech hub in North America, and it would have been a huge error not to include one of our strongest economic arguments in the proposal.”

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