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Co-op and Cannabis
Guest blog by Connor Plante, Co-op Affairs Commissioner
The legalization of the recreational use of cannabis in Canada on October 17 has vastly expanded the number of jobs available in the industry. This also means that openings will exist for University of Waterloo Co-op students to work in the legal cannabis industry. While this has the potential to provide students with some great new opportunities, there are also some risks associated with working in the industry that everyone should be aware of before considering whether or not a Co-op job in this industry is something that would interest them.
Over the past few months, I have been working on behalf of Feds with the Co-operative Education Department through a Cannabis Working Group to ensure the interests of students are represented in their cannabis industry job guidelines.
Our first priority on this issue is making sure Co-op job postings in the cannabis industry are only from legitimate employers. If an employer is in the producer category, they will be verified with Health Canada that they are a licensed producer; and if they are in the distributor category, they will be verified to ensure they are either owned by, or licensed by, the provincial government.
A second priority for Feds is to have the potential risks associated with working in the cannabis industry available to students so they can make an informed decision before accepting such a Co-op job. On this end, all job postings on Waterloo Works that are related to the cannabis industry have a disclaimer posted as a ‘special job requirement’ that notify you of the potential future employability and international mobility risks after working in the industry. A big one to keep in mind is travelling to the United States, as there have been many news stories of Canadians being turned away at the border because they work in the cannabis industry.
Ultimately, it is always up to each individual student to make their own choice on what type of Co-op job they are comfortable taking, but we have strived to ensure you will have the appropriate information available to make this decision.
With legalization still being very new in our country, the situation will continue to change over time and Feds is committed to staying actively engaged with the Co-op Department to address any issues that may come up in regards to cannabis Co-op jobs.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns!