Nanaimo-based cannabis producer Tilray has announced it will shut down its Nanaimo operations.
A written statement sent by Berrin Noorata, Tilray chief corporate affairs officer, on Wednesday, Sept. 15, said that “with the recent business combination with Aphria, Tilray is making changes to optimize operational efficiencies.”
The statement noted that Tilray will concentrate its B.C. cultivation in the Broken Coast facility in the Cowichan Valley and its international production and manufacturing in Portugal and Germany.
“By focusing local cultivation and manufacturing at the remaining sites across Canada, Tilray will be able to operate more efficiently, save costs, and deliver the highest-quality products to its patients and consumers all while driving growth and shareholder value,” the statement said.
The Nanaimo facility’s closure will happen in phases and will be complete by spring 2022. The company said it will work with employees “interested in transitioning and seeking opportunities at our nearby facility at Broken Coast.”
Mayor Leonard Krog issued a statement on behalf of city council expressing disappointment upon learning Tilray will be closing its cultivation facility and offices in Nanaimo.
“While it is my understanding that Tilray plans to close its facility in phases … we are mindful that employees and others will be seriously impacted by the closures,” Krog said. “However, I am confident that given our demand for industrial lands, Nanaimo will welcome a new and significant employer soon.”
Kim Smythe, Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce CEO, said the announcement was a shock, but said that sort of thing happens in “a dynamic industry fraught with change and takeovers and mergers.”
He said he thinks Tilray staff will be able to find suitable job opportunities in a time of worker shortages.
“I think it will be easy to absorb them into the economy because the shortages that we’re seeing are cross-sector, cross-industry…” Smythe said. “Its a fairly big change in the labour market here in Nanaimo, but I’m confident that it will sort itself out and all jobs will be replaced by others.”
Tilray’s and Aphria’s other Canadian production facilities are in Leamington, Ont. and London, Ont.