VANCOUVER -- Microsoft is increasing its Vancouver workforce by more than 40 per cent this year, the company announced Wednesday.

Microsoft said it's adding more than 500 technical jobs in the city in 2021, bringing the number of employees to about 1,700 locally and more than 3,700 across the country.

The new positions will be focused on building applications for Office, Azure, OneDrive and more.

“Microsoft is committed to helping Canada emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever. Our deep cloud and talent investments, combined with our widespread skilling efforts, will help organizations of all types and sizes accelerate their digital transformation,” Microsoft Canada president Kevin Peesker said in a news release.

The tech company also announced a new data innovation centre in Toronto.

B.C. Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon hailed the announcement as good news for the province's economic recover, and said it "further establishes the Lower Mainland as a growing hub for technology and innovation."

"This investment aligns with our government’s commitment to skill development and good-paying jobs for hard-working British Columbians," Kahlon said in a statement.