Green Organic Dutchman shelves large Quebec facility, lays off staff

The Green Organic Dutchman (TGOD) is the latest large Canadian cannabis firm to shelve one of its greenhouses and lay off staff, continuing a trend that has seen significant facility postponements and workforce reductions across the nation’s marijuana industry.

TGOD temporarily laid off most employees at its facility in Valleyfield, Quebec, as it moves to centralize cultivation at its smaller operation in Ancaster, Ontario, the company said in a news release.

The layoffs affected about 30 employees, a company spokesman told Marijuana Business Daily.

Salaried TGOD employees have also taken temporary salary reductions of 20%, according to the release.

The spokesman said “a few” TGOD executives, including CEO Brian Athaide, also took a 30% temporary salary reduction.

The first phase of the Valleyfield Campus is complete and the second and third construction phases are “largely completed,” according to an investor presentation on the company’s website dated January 2020.

Together, the three phases would have had a production capacity of 130,000 kilograms (286,600 pounds) of cannabis. The fourth phase would have added another 55,000 kilograms.

The company had designed the facility to be 1.3 million square feet in size.

Canadian marijuana producers – including Aurora CannabisCanopy Growth and Hexo – have shelved large cultivation facilities after years of construction.

Earlier this week, New Brunswick-based Organigram said it expects layoffs and corresponding production decreases as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, Canadian cannabis producers were laying off staff even before COVID-19 hit Canada in earnest.

Layoffs were announced earlier this month at Vancouver, British Columbia-based cannabis producer Zenabis, as well as at Canopy Growth, which closed two B.C. greenhouses and terminated about 500 workers.

In early February, Aurora Cannabis disclosed that it had eliminated about 500 full-time positions to save costs.

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