Talent database launched after Canada’s cannabis sector sheds 30% of workforce

A cannabis staffing agency in Toronto has launched a public database to connect displaced marijuana professionals with prospective employers.

The initiative comes as struggling marijuana firms eliminated an estimated 2,700 positions in Canada over the past nine months – including 910 after the COVID-19 pandemic started – according to the Cannabis At Work employment agency.

That’s about 30% of the industry’s workforce.

Cannabis At Work launched the open source database, Cannabis Talent Help List, to help connect growing businesses with cannabis professionals looking to secure new employment.

“The Cannabis Talent Help List is a resource for employers in the cannabis sector to access great talent that is on the market and actively looking for work,” CEO Alison McMahon said via email.

“There is more great cannabis talent on the job market than ever before and knowing that many people are out of work, we wanted to serve the industry by making it easy for those employers that are hiring to access great team members – it’s win-win.”

The list contained almost 250 names as of May 13.

Despite broad layoffs, experts note the burgeoning sector is still growing quickly.

That means businesses will need to hire a broad range of workers.

CIBC Capital Markets, the investment banking subsidiary of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, forecasts adult-use cannabis sales will double this year to 2.5 billion Canadian dollars ($1.8 billion).

McMahon noted the industry was in the midst of a market correction when COVID-19 hit.

“Jobs were already being shed and the pandemic has fast tracked more job loss,” she said.

Growing pains – mostly at large producers who grew too far and too fast – resulted in significant job losses.

Formerly high-flying companies – including Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis and Sundial Growers – have discharged hundreds of employees in recent months as net cumulative losses extended into the billions of dollars.

In some cases, the poor financial performance of the businesses has already cost the respective CEOs their jobs.

The Cannabis Talent Help List can be found here.

Matt Lamers is Marijuana Business Daily’s international editor, based near Toronto. He can be reached at mattl@mjbizdaily.com.