At the SQDC outlet in Montreal’s Rosemont neighbourhood, workers have voted for a strike mandate, saying they want better wages, paid holidays, and bonuses.
- They’re paid $14 per hour, which is just above the provincial minimum of $12.50, though they get enrolled in a retirement program and receive benefits available to other Quebec Crown employees.
- While $14 is a standard wage for retail work, SQDC employees say they require far more training than regular retail workers (the 20-hour SQDC onboarding course is the longest cannabis retail worker training in the country), and bear the responsibility of determining whether or not customers are impaired.
- The SQDC was developed as a disconnected offshoot of provincial Crown wine-and-spirits agency the Société des Alcools du Québec. Ahead of legalization last year, the union representing SAQ employees fought hard against the SQDC being split into a separate agency, calling the tactic “a form of union busting.”
- SAQ employees are paid $20.46 per hour; the unionized SQDC employees hope they can get their pay up to $18 through pressure tactics. The union notes SQDC executive salaries are comparable with those at the SAQ.
La Presse—In French
- The SQDC reported $71M in sales in its first year ($57M in-store, $14M online), alongside losses of $4.9M representing “non-recurring startup costs.” Government revenues from the SQDC’s consumption and excise taxes added up to roughly $29.7M. The SQDC expects to make $20M profit next year.
SQDC, MJ Biz Daily, Montreal Gazette, Bloomberg
- Quebec premier François Legault expressed sympathy for Gatineau residents who’ve complained about odours emitted by Hexo’s production facility in rural Masson-Angers—which produces roughly one third of all REC sold in Quebec. Legault suggested he might tighten regulations on cannabis production sites. “We are looking right now in two or three different ministries to have rules put in place that ensure there is no negative impact on neighbours,” Legault said.
- The Ontario Cannabis Store is inking supply agreements with new suppliers and brands—including Seth Rogen’s Canopy subsidiary Houseplant.