Amazon’s actions in Canada to help customers, communities, and employees affected by COVID-19
March 23, 2020
A roundup of actions Amazon has taken in Canada to reduce the spread of the coronavirus while supporting those directly and indirectly impacted by COVID-19.
As a global company, we’re closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19. In addition to those who are affected by the illness, many more are indirectly dealing with changes in their work, school, and community environments. Read a message from our CEO and founder.
Here are some of the ways Amazon is supporting its customers, communities, and employees during this difficult time.
Serving our customers
We believe our role serving customers and the community during this time is a critical one, and we want to make sure our customers can get the items they need, when they need them. As COVID-19 has spread, we’ve recently seen an increase in people shopping online which has had an impact on how we serve our customers. To serve our customers while also helping to ensure the safety of our associates, we’ve changed our logistics, transportation, supply chain, purchasing, and third-party seller processes to prioritize stocking and delivering items that are a higher priority for our customers. This has resulted in some of our delivery promises being longer than usual. And, we are hiring over 1,000 positions across Canada (over 600 in ON, 300 in BC, 100 in AB) to enable us to provide this vital service to people everywhere, especially to those, like the elderly, who are most vulnerable. March 23, 2020.
Our customers are counting on us like never before. At every level of our company, we’re working to provide the products and services that our customers and communities need as we face a global pandemic. This includes taking a number of important steps to keep prices fair and protect our customers from those looking to exploit the current crisis. Amazon has zero tolerance for price gouging and longstanding policies and systems to prevent this harmful practice. We’re working vigorously to combat price gouging. Read how. March 23, 2020.
Empowering our customers
Globally, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is responding to the needs of businesses and organizations that require tools and support as they deal with the ripple effect of COVID-19. AWS is providing credits that help cover costs, while enabling organizations to quickly stand up and scale their tools and infrastructure to keep businesses running, and speed COVID-19 research projects. At AWS Canada, we’re seeing the same requests for support, particularly across healthcare, education, and government customers as they deal with the growing demand from clients and citizens. We are also actively engaged with our startup ecosystem who are doing research on COVID-19, and deploying our resources to help expedite projects, such as working with Ottawa-based Aetonix who is providing virtual screening services for COVID-19 to a number of hospitals for free. AWS is supportive of the work happening in Canada’s rich AI ecosystem in Montreal, and we are assisting Mila in its current mission to discover antivirals in the fight against COVID-19. Machine learning has a real impact in helping the medical and research community expedite results.
In addition to these efforts, the team at the newly-opened Cloud Innovation Center (CIC) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) is working on a project with Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) in collaboration with other facilities to help identify if someone has COVID-19 based on CT-Scans. The project is done with support from the AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative and is one part of a larger joint endeavor between AWS and UBC to help solve health and wellbeing challenges using the cloud. We will be sharing more details in the coming weeks.
Caring for our employees
We are opening over 1,000 new full and part-time positions across Canada our fulfillment centres and delivery network to meet the surge in demand from people relying on Amazon’s service during this stressful time, particularly those most vulnerable to being out in public. We also know many people have been economically impacted as jobs in areas like hospitality, restaurants, and travel are lost or furloughed as part of this crisis. We want those people to know we welcome them on our teams until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back. In addition to the over 1,000 new roles we’re creating in Canada, we want to recognize our employees who are playing an essential role for people at a time when many of the services that might normally be there to support them are closed. In Canada, we will be adding an additional CDN $2 per hour worked through April from our current rate, depending on the region, $2 USD in the US, £2 per hour in the UK, and approximately €2 per hour in many EU countries. This commitment to increased pay through the end of April represents an investment of over $350 million in increased compensation for hourly employees across Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Read more. March 16, 2020.
In light of ongoing international COVID-19 developments, we now recommend that all global employees who work in a role that can be done from home, do so through the end of March. Every team is different and not all jobs are conducive to working from home. Employees and partners whose work requires their physical presence in their workplace, have access to all of their usual paid and unpaid time-off benefits.
All Amazon employees diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine will receive up to two weeks of pay. This additional pay while away from work is to ensure employees have the time they need to return to good health without the worry of lost income. This is in addition to unlimited unpaid time off for all hourly employees through the end of March. Read more. March 11, 2020.
We are establishing the Amazon Relief Fund, with a $25 million initial contribution, focused on supporting our independent delivery service partners and their drivers, Amazon Flex participants, and seasonal employees under financial distress during this challenging time. We will be offering all of these groups the ability to apply for grants approximately equal to up to two weeks of pay if diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine. Going forward, this fund will support our employees and contractors around the world who face financial hardships from other qualifying events, such as a natural disaster, a federally declared emergency, or an unforeseen personal hardship. Applicants may apply and receive a personal grant from the fund ranging from $400 to $5,000 per person. Read more. March 11, 2020.
We paused our fulfillment centre public tours program, cancelled large events, and changed the majority of our job interviews to virtual interviews rather than in-person interviews, which often require travel. At the same time, we increased our cleaning of all facilities globally, including regular sanitization of all door handles, stairway handrails, elevator buttons, lockers, and touch screens. February 28, 2020.
Supporting our community
We are continuing to pay all hourly staff who work for the service providers that support our offices around the world—from food-service workers to security guards to janitorial staff. March 6, 2020.
We’ve also reached out to, and are helping, our communities around the globe. In China, for example, we leveraged our fulfillment network to donate millions of items—such as medical isolation suits, protective masks, disposable gloves, and other medical supplies—to healthcare professionals in affected cities. We’ll share more updates in days to come.
You can get the latest information about Amazon’s response to COVID-19 by bookmarking this page, and by following @AmazonNews on Twitter.