Canada has been waiting for a boom in jobs within the cannabis industry for a long time. However that may never come because most people who tried those jobs aren’t so thrilled with them.
One of the big parts of recreational cannabis legalization was more jobs—the industry was supposed to create thousands of jobs, but it didn’t.
Well, it did create lots of jobs, just not the kind most people thought it would. Also, the jobs that are out there are not appealing to Canadians at all.
Namely, one of the biggest cannabis producers in Canada, Aphria, is having trouble retaining its employees. And they are not the only cannabis producer faced with this problem.
The greenhouse effect
Industry insiders believe that this problem won’t be isolated to Aphria, but rather to all producers that are heavily reliant on greenhouses.
The real reason for that is that employees can’t work in the conditions created by the greenhouse. Greenhouses are known to produce high amounts of heat within.
So, if the work is somewhat less than what they thought, the employees leave.
Vic Neufeld, CEO of Aphria, said that locals working in their Leamington facility are very hard to retain.
This happens to be one of the reasons why Aphria lost a crop of over 14,000 plants this summer.
“We hired 52 bodies on a Monday — by Saturday, we had eight left,” said Neufeld. “The locals have never worked in that environment.”
Aphria hired a lot of locals this summer for low-level jobs the company said were being paid competitive compensation rates in the agricultural sector.
However, we now know that the lack of that same labor caused the company to make a huge loss in the production department.
Neufeld said that the company had to fight for the right to be included in the Agricultural Worker Program.
This will serve as a way to “import” workers from other nations with warmer climates. Theoretically, those workers won’t have any issues working in greenhouses.
That means that because Canadians are used to cold weather and can’t really work in greenhouses, people from Spanish-speaking countries are likely to be brought in to help.
Why are Canadians leaving those jobs?
From what information I managed to collect on the internet, there are 3 reasons why Canadians are quitting these jobs:
- Low wages
- Poor conditions
- No unionization
I’ve talked to a source that requested not to disclose his name as he was previously a part of the cannabis industry and wishes to work there, just not for Aphria.
From our conversation I’ve concluded that my source is college educated and doesn’t have much work experience.
My source said that the company he worked for, Aphria, firstly didn’t offer working conditions. He went as far as to call them inhumane.
I haven’t visited their greenhouse facility, but the concept of a greenhouse is familiar to me. Greenhouses create a hot, humid environment that is often very stinky.
Throw in weed in that combination, and you could see how this is quickly approaching inhumane conditions.
Secondly, wages were much lower than what most people thought they would be in a booming industry.
The average salary of a greenhouse employee in Canada is $22,425 per year or $11.50/hour.
“They should pay a good wage and keep the jobs in country. The producers are just low-balling the employees into quitting, and then they bring over Mexicans and other foreigners to do the work. This is honestly ridiculous…”
Jobs in other departments such as sales, customer service, retail and such are just now starting to grow in demand.
Lastly, the employees working these jobs are not unionized in Canada. Unions make a difference both at work and in the quality of life because they bring a sense of security.
Canada’s unionized workers earned $5.28/hour more than non-union workers, and women earn a significant $7.10/hour more when being a part of a union.
So, until there’s more position versatility, unionization, and better conditions for the workers, Canadians will have a tough time entering the cannabis industry.
On the other hand, if they don’t fight for their own jobs, the foreigners are more than ready to take over in the meantime.