THE DOCTOR WILL SEE YOU NOW Pot so hot in Canada that firms are importing workers
It was mid-summer, less than three months before Canada legalized recreational marijuana, and Vic Neufeld had a problem.
The chief executive officer of Aphria Inc. had just hired 50 people to work in the pot producer’s greenhouse in Leamington, Ont., and by the end of the first week all but eight had quit.
“Those are really hot, humid months and working in a greenhouse, as much cooling and airflow as we can provide, is still pretty darn hot in July and August,” Neufeld said.
A lack of qualified local labour forced Aphria to dispose of almost 14,000 cannabis plants in the quarter ended Aug. 31 after they weren’t harvested in time, costing it nearly $1 million. Since then, the company has doubled the staff at its Aphria One greenhouse thanks in part to Canada’s Seasonal Agriculture Worker Program, which has allowed it to hire about 50 temporary workers from the Caribbean and Guatemala with plans to bring in up to
Aphria’s experience underscores the swelling demand for labour in Canada’s cannabis sector, where openings have tripled in the past year to
34 out of every 10,000 job postings, according to employment search engine Indeed.com.
Canada’s licensed producers employed about 2,400 workers at the end of 2017, according to Statistics Canada.
Nurses interact with a doctor on a secure video conference link during a pilot “tele-rounding” project at a hospital in Alberton, P.E.I. Nine physicians are participating in the six-month project.
Jobs at Canadian cannabis growers and retailers have spiked after legalization.