Microsoft is expanding its footprint in Canada with multiple new data centers in Quebec.

The company this week announced it will invest US$500 million in expanding its cloud computing and AI infrastructure in Quebec over the next two years.

Microsoft Azure
– Sebastian Moss

Microsoft said the investment will increase the size of the company’s local cloud infrastructure footprint in Canada by 750 percent.

The announcement references future data center locations in L’Ancienne-Lorette, Donnacona, Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, and Lévis, with construction due to start “in the coming months.”

“Today’s announcement builds on the extensive investments Microsoft has made in Quebec and is just the latest example of our deep commitment to this province,” said Chris Barry, president of Microsoft Canada.

“These investments will not only provide Quebec’s private and public sector organizations with more capacity and added resiliency to transform operations but will also enable a trusted and secure foundation to scale solutions faster to market and compete globally, securing Quebec’s future in the digital economy.”

Sustainability and efficiency efforts at the new data centers will include using low-carbon materials during construction, renewable energy, ‘advanced’ cooling, and measures to decrease diesel fuel use during operation.

“Since the beginning, the City of L’Ancienne-Lorette has worked closely with Microsoft. We are pleased that the project is moving forward, which will generate significant economic benefits for the City of L’Ancienne-Lorette and the entire National Capital region,” said Gaétan Pageau, Mayor of L’Ancienne-Lorette

Microsoft has two Canadian Azure regions; one in Toronto, Ontario, and one in Quebec City. Both opened in 2016. Currently, the Quebec region operates with only one availability zone.

Jean-Claude Léveillée, Mayor of Donnacona, added: “The City of Donnacona is proud to welcome Microsoft to its territory and contribute to the expansion of the global giant’s cloud infrastructure in Quebec City. We will benefit from having such a large player in our industrial park, which will have a positive impact on our municipality.”

L’Ancienne-Lorette, Donnacona, and Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures are all west of Quebec City, while Lévis is located south of Quebec City across the St. Lawrence River.

Gilles Lehouillier, Mayor of Lévis, said: “Microsoft’s commitment to establishing itself in Quebec and especially in Lévis in such a large-scale project not only confirms the strength of our economic attractiveness, but also our leading position for foreign investment. This demonstrates Lévis’ ability to attract major players in the technology sector, strengthening our reputation as a technological innovation hub.”