Skip to Main Content

Is Legalization Creating More Jobs?

In this new era of legal, recreational cannabis, it’s expected that consumption will rise. A positive side effect of this is a booming cannabis-related jobs market, and Canada’s cannabis workforce is growing.

Job-hunting website Indeed has released figures showing that searches for employment related to the cannabis industry are up four-fold compared to last year’s figures; in 2017, they accounted for six out of every 10,000 searches. The latest data indicates that this number has risen to 26.

Crucially, it’s not only the interest that has increased, it’s employers looking to expand. Help-wanted ads related to the cannabis industry have increased three-fold compared to last year, with 25 of every 10,000 new jobs on the site looking for production assistants, quality assurance operatives, and budtenders.

Although cannabis-related jobs are still a niche aspect of the Canadian labour market, it’s a sector that is growing rapidly. Prospects in the sector were steadily rising in the run to October 17, with the market’s growth potential becoming apparent. Searches for cannabis-related work spiked in January of this year, which aligned with news reports of rising stock prices of Canadian cannabis firms. On the back of this, there was a 50% hike in cannabis job postings between April and May.

Ontario Leading the Way for Job Seekers

Of all the advertisements in Canada, over half were for jobs based in Ontario, which is home to some of the industry’s major players. The indications are that hiring plans have been aggressive across a wide range of job types, but the main demands have been for workers to grow cannabis and sell it.

In addition to these jobs, the number of roles for production assistants, maintenance technicians, shippers and receivers, and executive assistants are also expanding. The demand for workers in medical cannabis has also been on the rise, with a clamour for nurses and patient educators.

An interesting point that licensed retailers and producers should take note of is the terminology used. Indeed says that last year, as many job seekers searched for the word ‘marijuana’ as did ‘cannabis’, but in 2018, the latter outnumbered it by a ratio of five to one.

Demand High in Saskatchewan

Ontario may be at the forefront of expansion, but Saskatchewan is not far behind. A recent investigation found that licensed retail stores, producers, warehouses, and distribution centres would hire around 700 people this fall. Tweed Grasslands alone will hire 25 people across each of its retail stores in Humboldt, Melville, Fort Qu’Appelle, Meadow Lake, and Corman Park.

This is just for starters. Andrew MacCorquodale, managing director with Canada’s largest cannabis company Canopy Growth, which owns Tweed Grasslands, estimates that Tweed’s growing operation would provide employment to more than 80 people by the close of 2018.

It’s not the only big company looking to hire. Aurora Cannabis has recently advertised for a project manager, a regulatory affairs associate, and a medical marketing coordinator along with cultivation and manufacturing assistants in Saskatchewan.

High Tide, an accessory wholesaler based in Alberta, has predicted that between five and ten wholesale companies applied for permits to broker cannabis shipments, with each employing a minimum of six people.

The signs are good for the employment market in the cannabis industry. It’s the early days of legalization, but if cannabis sales are to seriously challenge those of alcohol, as discussed in this issue’s Trends article, then Canada is well on its way to building a sustainable industry; good news for those seeking work and employers.