After three months, the labour dispute that closed 40% of Newfoundland & Labrador’s cannabis stores has ended, and not a moment too soon.
The strike was launched by Dominion grocery store employees against the store owner, Loblaw Companies on August 23, 2020. More than 1,400 workers walked off the job, including around 50 employees who staffed 10 cannabis stores located inside Dominion grocery stores, called C-Shops. Unifor, the largest union for private-sector workers, helped workers come to an agreement with Loblaws on November 13 and C-Shops reopened on Friday, nearly three months to the day after the dispute began.
The closure of 10 out of 27 licenced cannabis stores in the province has had repercussions, however. Dominion is the largest cannabis retailer in the province, and with the stores inaccessible to customers, provincial sales numbers dropped dramatically. According to a spokesperson for the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC), online sales were up nearly 60% in the week following the original closures in August, however, Statistics Canada’s retail numbers show a 19.8% decrease for the province in September.
Luckily, the dispute had a positive resolution and C-Shops can reopen. Sales should begin to trend normally after the holiday season.