Canadian cannabis producers quadruple hiring in a year

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It’s good to be in a booming new business ― and in the case of Canadian cannabis, maybe more so for employees than employers, for now.

Cannabis producers haven’t yet turned a profit, but employment in the legal cannabis trade quadrupled between the 2017-18 fiscal year and 2018-19, according to new data from Statistics Canada. That was the period during which cannabis was legalized.

There were 9,200 people employed in cannabis production, StatCan said, up from 2,630 a year earlier.

That number measures employment at cannabis producers licenced by Health Canada, and it doesn’t include jobs in other parts of the cannabis industry, such as retail. About 60 per cent of the jobs at producers involve cultivation, harvesting, processing, manufacturing and administration, StatCan said.

Cannabis firms are investing in new production, meaning they are seeing rising costs, the data showed. Investment spending jumped to $233 million, from $46 million a year earlier. 

But with revenue rising, losses are narrowing: Producers lost $166 million in the most recent fiscal year, down from a loss of $234 million the year before. 

“Producers registered losses in all years reported,” StatCan noted.

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