We are witnessing a resurgent local manufacturing sector sparked from Federal cannabis legalization. The growth of this industry has created a burgeoning cannabis job market all across Canada, including right here in Simcoe County, but filling this job market can be sticky. Weed puns aside, big cannabis business requires a workforce with particular qualifications and skill sets.
This means Canadian Colleges and Universities need to include more cannabis programming. And they have. This began to happen nearly a year ago for Loyalist College, when the college launched an eight-month Cannabis Applied Science (CSGS) post-graduate certificate program. That new program was the first of its kind in Canada.
The program at Loyalist allowed students to learn about cannabis product development, process optimization, and quality control. These students were some of the first to learn about lab techniques for the extraction and analysis of cannabis. Loyalist’s post-graduate students recently toured the new state-of-the-art MediPharm Labs facility in Barrie to see firsthand the type of workplace they could soon be joining.
Cannabis Applied Science post-graduate students tour MediPharm Labs in Barrie
Local Barrie resident Keith Strachan is the Co-Founder & President of MediPharm Labs. Strachan says the company feels responsible for helping the next generation of the cannabis industry. “As Canada’s leader in the extraction and purification of cannabis, we see it as our responsibility as a good corporate citizen to help educate the next generation of the cannabis industry. Sharing our expertise and donating product for cannabis studies has direct benefit as we hire graduates, as well as helping to elevate the sector in general. We’re proud that Canada is the nation that’s leading the global cannabis industry.”
MediPharm Labs is actually Barrie’s first publicly traded company to be headquartered in the city. They employ over 100 researchers, scientists, engineers, technicians and professionals in their new 70,000 square foot, $10 million dollar facility.
There are a number of jobs for those interested in the production side of cannabis. For students wanting to stay closer to home, Georgian College teamed up with Georgian Bay Biomed in Collingwood. The company touts itself as a“highly advanced, automated, and science-driven cannabis production company.” Georgian Bay Biomed, currently under construction in Collingwood, partnered with the Centre for Applied Research and Innovation at Georgian College and Georgian College’s Workforce Development Centre.
Georgian College Partners with Collingwood Facility
The company says it will give students a hands-on approach to research design, implementation, and reporting. The company’s statement reads; “Students are able to further develop critical skills that are highly sought-after in a variety of industries and become a crucial component in our talent pipeline.”
Overwhelming need for qualified professionals in booming cannabis production industry.
Niagara College has a program that trains students interested in the biology and cultural practices of cannabis production.
Seneca College just introduced a one-year graduate certificate program at York, a first of its kind in Ontario. They hope to fill the growing demand for cannabis regulation and quality assurance experts. The program deals with the regulatory standards cannabis producers face, which are governed by the Access to Cannabis for Medical Regulations. The job market here is in cannabis regulation or quality assurance in medical or cannabis production organizations.
New Science of Cannabis program launches
Cannabis programs at the University level are popping up as well. McMaster University Continuing Education opened enrollment this Spring for its new Science of Cannabis program. The program looks at the scientific study of cannabis and its therapeutic applications, risks and harms.
“This program really takes advantage of a lot of faculty expertise,” said
Dr. James MacKillop. Students are going to have first-hand exposure to all different avenues of cannabis research that are being pursued within our centres,” said MacKillop in a media release. The first course, Fundamentals of Cannabis Science, will start this May 2019
Local Cannabis Jobs
Does the workforce match the demand? A quick job search shows an incredible number of Cannabis jobs in Canada. Locally, there a number of new companies hiring.
Jobs at Stayner’s Peace Naturals:
Stayner’s Peace Naturals is rapidly expanding and adding jobs in almost every department. Peace Naturals is a Health Canada Licensed Producer
Jobs at Georgian Bay Biomed in Collingwood: Slated to open in 2019. There are no current job listings posted on the their official website but the company plans to employ close to 100 people.
Jobs at MediPharms in Barrie: Awarded Canadian Cannabis Start-up of the Year, MediPharm Labs in Barrie is recognized as a global leader in purified cannabis concentrates. The company has invested $10 million dollars into the 70,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility.
Jobs at MedReleaf in Bradford: MedReleaf Bradford is a 28,000 kg per annum cultivation facility, featuring a high-volume CO2 extraction facility.
A Growing Global Market
Canada is leading the way on global cannabis legalization. A new market research report says Canada’s large licensed producers are “building out infrastructure for the domestic and export market, developing business opportunities across the Atlantic, and buying up cannabis companies in the United States.”
Earlier this year, MediPharm Labs became the very first (extraction only) licensed producer to begin Global export. Smith Falls based Canopy Growth planted the seeds for expansion into the South this month. The Canadian company released details about its U.S. expansion as the company reached a deal to buy the rights to acquire the U.S.’s Acreage Holdings for $3.4 billion.
Legal Cannabis spending is expected to top $57 billion in less than 10 years time, according to Arcview Market Research.