Employment Law

Canadian engineers let go as Amazon confirms layoffs


Following reports that layoffs were looming at Amazon, the e-commerce giant confirmed that is has reduced its headcount.

In a blog post on Nov. 16, Dave Limp, senior vice-president of Amazon’s Devices and Services organization, said that the company decided to consolidate some teams and programs after “a deep set of reviews.”

“As you know, we continue to face an unusual and uncertain macroeconomic environment. In light of this, we’ve been working over the last few months to further prioritize what matters most to our customers and the business,” Limp said.

“One of the consequences of these decisions is that some roles will no longer be required. It pains me to have to deliver this news as we know we will lose talented Amazonians from the Devices & Services org as a result.”

The announcement comes two days after multiple news outlets, including the The New York Times, reported that Amazon was planning to eliminate approximately 10,000 jobs.

The company didn’t disclose how many employees are affected by the latest round of cuts. Limp added that impacted staff were notified on Nov. 15.

Impact in Canada

While it remains unclear how many Canadian employees at Amazon have been laid off, multiple engineers in B.C. shared on LinkedIn that they had been let go.

In a LinkedIn post on Nov. 15, Burnaby-based software development engineer Hang Hu claimed that the entire skill team hosted by Alexa, Amazon’s voice-controlled assistant device, was also impacted by the cuts.

“Today, the entire Alexa-hosted skill team is impacted by the layoff and I am given 60 days to find another internal or external position,” Hu said. “It’s pretty sad to see Alexa-hosted skill is no longer getting invested.”

In September 2021, the e-commerce giant confirmed in a news release that it employed more than 25,000 Canadians and announced plans to hire 15,000 more.

Major tech layoffs continue

The reduction by Amazon comes after several major North American tech companies announced sweeping layoffs this year.

Meta, Twitter, HootsuiteMicrosoftShopify, and Snap are among those who have substantially reduced their workforces as they continue to monitor market conditions.

• RenoRun laying off 43% of staff amid market uncertainty
• Intel plans thousands of layoffs for October amid PC plummet
• Employment lawyer on mass layoffs in the tech industry
• Layoffs in Canada

Termination agreements for Amazon Canada employees

As part of the layoff announcement, Amazon said that it will help affected staff find new roles within the company.

Those that don’t will be provided “a package that includes a separation payment, transitional benefits, and external job placement support.”

In Canada, non-unionized employees and senior executives at Amazon are owed full severance pay when they lose their jobs due to downsizing or corporate restructuring.

This includes individuals working full-time, part-time, or hourly in Ontario, Alberta, and B.C.

Severance can be as much as 24 months’ pay, depending on a number of factors.

Severance packages in mass layoffs
Severance for technology industry employees
Rights to severance for provincially regulated employees

WATCH: Employment lawyer Lior Samfiru explains why you are still owed severance if you have been downsized on an episode of the Employment Law Show.

Before you accept any severance offer, have an experienced employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP review it and your employment contract.

We can tell you if what you have been provided is fair and how to get proper compensation if it falls short of what you are actually owed.

If you aren’t given the full amount, which happens often, you have been wrongfully dismissed and are entitled to compensation.

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