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Workers at medical marijuana clinic in Toronto join union, believed to be first for such workers in Canada

Jurisdiction: - All
Sector: - Health Care

The workers at a medical marijuana clinic in Toronto, the Canna Clinic on Broadview Avenue, have voted to join Unifor, making them the first medical marijuana workers in Canada to unionize, according to an announcement today by the union.

Unifor states that 40 employees at the clinic are now members of the union and that they will now begin to negotiate a first collective agreement at the clinic. The staff includes reception, production and packaging and retail staff, as well as supervisors.

Canna has four other clinics in Toronto, as well as clinics in Vancouver. The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries estimated in 2016 that there were at least 350 medical marijuana dispensaries in Canada (see National Post Article, "Avalanche' of pot dispensaries popping up across Canada is leaving some cities without an answer", April 24, 2016).

Jerry Dias, the Unifor National President, commented, "This is a fast-growing industry, and with the advent of legalization, it is important that the workers have a voice and representation as the sector evolves over the coming years".

Unifor Organizing Director John Aman said, "These workers turned to Unifor because they want to build careers in the industry, which is expected to grow rapidly with legalization next year and are seeking help for fair working conditions."

According a Financial Post article on December 16, 2016 ("Number of Canadians buying legal medical marijuana triples in just one year"), nearly 100,000 Canadians had obtained prescriptions and registered to buy cannabis with one of the growers licensed by Health Canada as of September 2016, up from 30,537 people registered in September 2015.

Photo Credit: Neeta Lind