The head of Ontario’s Amazon bid says province won’t offer billions in grants
TORONTO — The man heading up Ontario’s effort to lure Amazon to the province said Thursday that while the province would consider sensible incentives, the bid will not offer billions in subsidies to the tech giant. Providing large taxpayer subsidies to the firm wouldn’t be fair to other companies that have set up shop in Ontario with little or no government assistance, said Ed Clark, who was appointed last week by Premier Kathleen Wynne to head up the Greater Toronto Region’s bid to become the home of Amazon’s new corporate headquarters.
The region’s bid to Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos will highlight other strengths such as the province’s skilled workforce, Clark said, adding that the province would be willing to make other contributions like helping the company secure land.
“There are clearly places in the United States that will, I use the word, bribe, people to come,” he said. “(They) say you just tell us what cheque you want us to write, we will write that cheque. We’re not in that business.”
If that’s what Amazon is looking for, Ontario will not win, said Clark, who retired as an executive with TD Bank in 2014.
“But we have proven people are coming to Toronto right now, and to Ontario, because we’ve just got fantastic people.”
The online retail giant announced earlier this month that it is hunting for a second North American office, saying it would spend $5 billion to build the new headquarters to house as many as 50,000 employees.
The company said it wants to be near a metropolitan area with more than a million people; be able to attract top technical talent; be within 45 minutes of an international airport; have direct access to mass transit; and be able to expand that headquarters to more than 740,000 square metres in the next decade.