Microsoft Aims $500M At Building AI, Cybersecurity In Canada

The investment by Microsoft Canada in Quebec is slated to increase the company’s local cloud infrastructure by 750 percent and expand partnerships that provide training, certifications, and other resources for the area.


Microsoft Wednesday said it is making a major investment in cybersecurity, AI, and other digital technologies aimed at increasing its capabilities in the Canadian province of Quebec.

The new investment, totaling $500 million, will be used to expand Microsoft’s Quebec digital infrastructure footprint, including expanding the company’s hyperscale cloud computing and AI infrastructure.

That investment over the next two years is expected to increase Microsoft’s local cloud infrastructure in Canada by 750 percent, the company said.

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Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft also said the company’s base in Quebec already supports over 1,000 employees, 3,200 partners and substantial cloud infrastructure accounts, and over 57,000 jobs, citing a new report the company commissioned with consultant Ernst & Young.

Those partners generate about $5 billion Canadian, or about $365 billion, in annual revenue.

The new $500-million investment in Quebec comes on top of 300 million Canadian dollars, or about $219 million, that Microsoft already invested in the province over the last three fiscal years, according to Ernst & Young.

Microsoft did not respond to a CRN request for further information.

With its investment, Microsoft expects to expand its computing capacity in Quebec by about 240 percent over the next three years while accelerating the pace of AI innovation. This includes working with industry leaders on multiple initiatives to provide the learning resources, certifications, and other resources to improve the skills needed to advance the local digital economy.

This includes the launch of the Operational Risk Skills Development Centre, a joint project between Microsoft Canada and KPMG Canada to offer French language training in cybersecurity and GenAI skills.

The investment is also slated to help expand the Canadian Tech Talent Accelerator in Quebec, a project of NPower Canada and Microsoft Canada, to provide new digital training and career development opportunities.

It is a fantastic move by Microsoft Canada, said Michael Slater, senior director for Microsoft and cybersecurity sales at Sherweb, a Sherbrooke, Quebec-based cloud services provider and one of the vendor’s biggest channel partners in the world.

“Microsoft Canada has always been one of its most successful subsidiaries,” Slater told CRN. “And Azure is the fastest-growing cloud in Canada. And the way Quebec works, it’s on the forefront of data sovereignty laws, making the investment very important for our ecosystem and that of all its MSPs.”

As a Canadian company itself, Sherweb does a lot of government work directly and with other partners, Slater said.

“Cybersecurity is a big focus,” he said. “We want to see this investment help increase both cybersecurity and AI expertise in Canada.”