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High Times Ahead – What You Need to Know About Hiring in the Canadian Cannabis Industry

March 6th, 2018

By Phil Frappier, Toronto Cannabis Recruiter 

It’s time to inhale and accept the fact that the cannabis industry is happening. The Green Rush is in full bloom and here to stay. With the Federal Government on track to legalize marijuana by this July, Canada is in a prime position to lead the world and dominate the industry.

Just How Big Will the Canadian Cannabis Industry Become?

Open for business

“Canada’s recreational pot sales forecast to reach $6-billion by 2021, surpassing the $1.3-billion estimate for the mature medical-marijuana market,” says Peter Shier in the Globe and Mail.

With so much potential, you’d have to be high to not consider getting into the industry now. Many companies and experienced professionals are scrambling to position themselves in this lucrative industry.

There Will Be Winner and Losers – Attract and Retain the Best Talent Now

Like any other industry, there will be winners and losers, but the key for organizations is attracting and retaining the best talent. Currently there are 90 Licensed Producers and, of those, 40 also have a license to sell in Canada (some licensed producers are not licensed for sale) – and it’s estimated that will grow to over 200 to meet initial demand.

Even with some stigma surrounding the industry, and while it may be awkward to explain to your parents you’re going to work in the weed industry, it’s not stopping Bay Street executives, and everyone else, from exploring the vast opportunities available. Top executives from banking, manufacturing, agriculture, pharma and the CPG industry are populating the boardrooms.

Competition Over Talent Ahead for the Cannabis Industry

Currently, there is no shortage of interest from prospective candidates. Companies are receiving hundreds and even thousands of applications for roles they are looking to fill.

However, as the hiring spree for cannabis companies continues, there will soon be, if not already, a tug of war over talent. Your organization’s ability to identify, hire, and retain top talent will provide you with a huge competitive advantage that could leave the competition up in smoke.

The Challenges of Hiring in the Canadian Cannabis Industry

Hiring within the industry doesn’t come without its challenges. Canadian executives are traditionally risk-averse when it comes to their hiring practices, and they want to find a person doing the exact job that they are looking to fill.

But how do you find people with a proven track record in such a nascent industry?

There is a large swath of transferable skills. At its core, cannabis is simply a production and distribution business. And there is no shortage of professionals with experience in this area. The only difference is the product.

Stay tuned for more articles discussing the importance of cultural fit and skills to be successful in the cannabis industry. In the meantime, check out Things to Look for When Hiring for Your Cannabis Business.


IQ PARTNERS is an Executive Search & Recruitment firm supporting clients across the country. We help companies hire better, hire less & retain more. We have specialist teams of recruiters in Technology (IT), Accounting and Finance, Consumer Goods, eCommerce and Retail, Financial Services and Insurance, Startup, B2B and Industrial, Operations and HR, Professional Services and Legal, Media, Digital and Marketing, Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences, Emerging Technology and Telecom, and  Sales. IQ PARTNERS has its head office in Toronto and operates internationally via Aravati Global Search Network. Click here to view current job openings and to register with us.

Phil Frappier

Phil is a VP of Client Services with a focus in Technology, Digital Media, Telecom, and Cannabis recruitment. With over 12 years of executive search and recruitment experience, he has successfully delivered on hundreds of senior level searches in these areas.

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