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A DoorDash food delivery worker in downtown Toronto checks his mobile phone, on Jan. 23 2020.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

DoorDash Inc. is ramping up its hiring in Toronto, the latest in a string of announcements by U.S. tech companies expanding north of the border.

The San Francisco-based restaurant and e-commerce delivery company announced on Wednesday that it will hire at least 50 developers at a new product engineering office, and plans to double its work force in Toronto to roughly 200 people total by the end of this year.

DoorDash is just the latest in a slew of tech companies to expand their presence in Canada recently: Reddit Inc., Netflix Inc. , Pinterest Inc. , Wayfair Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. have all ramped up hiring in Toronto this year, while Microsoft Corp. and Inc. are both expanding significantly in Vancouver. Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd. also opened Toronto offices recently for its video-sharing app TikTok. Last year, Alphabet Inc.’s Google unit said it planned to triple its Canadian work force over three years.

“We’re really excited about the talent market in Toronto,” DoorDash co-founder and chief technology officer Andy Fang said in an interview. For the foreseeable future, the DoorDash’s Canadian team will be focused on boosting DoorDash’s presence in the Canadian market. “Over the next couple of years, we definitely do see a path to this becoming a talent hub for product engineering in general.”

As competition for Canadian tech talent has been growing, so have concerns for homegrown tech companies.

“If a large foreign firm opens an office in Toronto, that increases demand, but supply is still maxed out,” said Dana O’Born, director of strategic initiatives at the Council of Canadian Innovators.

DoorDash, which went public on the New York Stock Exchange in December, already provides delivery services to more than 30,000 restaurants in Canada, which have seen increased takeout activity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Services such as DoorDash, SkipTheDishes and UberEats have also come under growing scrutiny during the pandemic, however, as some restaurateurs have said the commissions they charge make it difficult to profit from delivery. DoorDash is looking to expand a no-commission service called Storefront, that charges 2.9-per-cent card processing fees for orders processed through a restaurant’s own site, with a delivery fee charged to customers. The company wants to expand that service aggressively in Canada, Mr. Fang said. And it wants to increase membership in its subscription product, which charges a monthly fee to customers for free deliveries above a $12 order threshold.

DoorDash also provides delivery logistics for retailers in Canada, such as Toys R Us and Bed Bath and Beyond, and is hoping to develop that side of the business as well.

“We’re really excited to continue to expand DoorDash to fulfill deliveries beyond restaurant food,” Mr. Fang said. “The tech talent market in Toronto has been very vibrant for a while. We are excited to tap into that to help grow the site.”

In addition to companies hiring their own staff here, others such as Calgary-based MobSquad and San Francisco-based Terminal, have launched operations to outsource work for U.S. tech firms to Canada-based engineers – giving those companies access to cheaper labour and to tax credits available to employers with staff in Canada.

”Canadian companies would love to hire as many qualified people as they can – in technical jobs, and at the executive level,” Ms. O’Born said. “In many cases, the lack of qualified talent is one of the major growth constraints.”

The increased demand – and shortage of tech talent – is a problem worldwide, said Angela Mondou, president and CEO of Canadian industry association Technation. She says she believes Canada should continue to provide accelerated visas for skilled workers and increase immigration. And she said educational institutions should consider accelerated credentialing to train new tech talent in the skills they need.

“The pace of hiring for all tech is exponential,” Ms. Mondou said. “Every pipeline of talent that we can tap into will be critical.”

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