A massive cannabis production facility that was supposed to employ 146 people in St. John’s will not be going ahead after Canopy Growth pulled the plug on a number of production facilities across Canada.
Jordan Sinclair, vice-president of communications with Canopy Growth, says the company first began reviewing its production facilities across Canada in March, when two sites were closed, and the conversation shifted to other facilities across the country.
“We looked at the numbers, we looked at projections, and these five sites we closed (Wednesday) are just not sustainable,” said Sinclair.
“Based on the market dynamic and based on some of the other production sites that we have, we’re capable of meeting the need without these five sites. That includes the site in St. John’s. Even though it’s just been licensed recently, we’re confident we’re not going to need it in the long term. That forced our hand.”
The company is also closing facilities in Fredericton, N.B., Bowmanville, Ont., and Edmonton, as well as its outdoor production sites in Saskatchewan.
Sinclair says the closure of the facility in St. John’s was not influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s separate. It’s a separate decision, more based on the long-term need of what production assets we had across the country,” said Sinclair.
The $55-million, 155,000-square-foot production facility’s contract included a $40-million tax remittance from the provincial government, meaning the company would save a certain amount of tax on sales once the facility was up and running.
Sinclair says $1.9 million of the $40-million remittance had been claimed to date, but the money will be paid back to the provincial treasury.
Sinclair says there’s no reversing the decision.
“For Canopy Growth, it’s the end of the road for that production facility,” he said.
Of the 146 jobs expected at the facility, 14 had been hired to date. Those 14 employees received layoff notices on Wednesday. Sinclair says the decision only affects the production facility, not the six Tweed retail locations throughout the province.