Amazon raises Prime membership rates for Canadians for 1st time

Amazon is raising the price of its Prime membership in Canada.

The e-commerce giant’s subscription service, which offers free shipment on many items, access to its Prime Video streaming platform and an array of other benefits, will begin phasing in higher fees for new subscribers immediately.

Existing users will see their price jump starting next month.

Amazon says Prime’s monthly fee will go up $2 to $9.99 per month, while the annual renewal package will increase by $20 to $99 per year.

It’s the first price increase for Prime since Amazon launched the membership for Canadians in January 2013.

The company says it made the call as “Amazon continues to invest heavily in Prime,” with a wider product selection and an introduction earlier this year of free one-day shipping on items in most Canadian cities without a minimum purchase requirement.

LOTR series coming to Prime Video

Prime Video, its answer to streaming competitors Netflix and Crave, has also bolstered its selection of original programming in recent years.

A new Lord of the Rings TV series, set to debut in September, cost Amazon $465 million US for its first season, according to trade publication The Hollywood Reporter, which pegged the entire series to cost more than $1 billion US.

In addition, its acquisition of MGM closed last month, which will expand its library of streaming selections.

Amazon has also expanded its Prime membership to include music, e-books and gaming options.

Existing monthly subscribers will see the price increase on May 13, while annual members will see the jump on renewal.

Front Burner23:26The former worker who pushed for an Amazon union, and won

Last week, a group of current and former Amazon workers in New York’s Staten Island accomplished what some of the biggest unions in the United States could not: they organized Amazon’s first successful union vote in the country. The battle isn’t over yet: in a statement, Amazon said it is weighing whether to file objections. But today, we speak to Chris Smalls, interim president of the newly-formed Amazon Labor Union, about how he sparked a movement that succeeded where others have failed — and where that movement is headed next. 23:26

Amazon introduced its third price increase for US customers in February that boosted the monthly fee to $14.99 US and the annual fee to $139 US.

The company cited rising labor and shipping costs for the first US increase in four years. Last year, Amazon committed to pay raises for tens of thousands of employees in Canada and the US

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