SQDC to shut down one of its Montreal outlets amid labour dispute


The Quebec government-owned cannabis retailer, SQDC, has announced that it will close one of its Montreal stores on March 2, 2024. The decision comes after months of strikes by the store’s employees, who are demanding better wages and working conditions.

The first store closure in Quebec’s cannabis history

The SQDC, which stands for Société québécoise du cannabis, is a state-owned corporation that has the mandate to sell cannabis in Quebec, with a focus on public health and safety. Since the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada in 2018, the SQDC has opened 98 stores across the province, making it one of the largest cannabis retailers in the country.

However, the SQDC has also faced challenges, such as product shortages, competition from the black market, and labour disputes. In May 2023, 24 of its stores were hit by strikes, as the employees, who are represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), rejected the employer’s offer and voted for an unlimited strike mandate. The main issues of contention are the wages, which are lower than the industry average, and the working conditions, which are described as stressful and precarious by the union.

The SQDC has maintained that its offer is fair and reasonable, and that it cannot afford to pay more, given its social mission and the competitive nature of the market. The SQDC has also said that it respects the right of its employees to strike, but that it expects them to respect the law and the customers.


The strike has affected the operations and the sales of the SQDC, which reported a plateau in its growth for the first time in its 2022-2023 fiscal year. The SQDC had total sales of $601.9 million and 106,526 kg of cannabis in the 2022-2023 fiscal year, which compared with $600.5 million and 106,448 kg the year earlier. The SQDC also saw its profits increase, totalling $94.9 million for the last fiscal year compared with $75.7 million the year before.

The SQDC has now decided to close one of its Montreal stores, located on Plaza Saint-Hubert, which has 11 employees. The store will cease its operations on March 2, 2024, and the employees will receive their termination notices on March 23, 2024. This will be the first store closure in Quebec’s cannabis history.

The union denounces the store closure as a retaliation

The union representing the SQDC employees has denounced the store closure as a retaliation and a pressure tactic by the employer. The union president, David Clément, told the Canadian Press that he believes the store closure was a way for the SQDC to punish the employees for exercising their right to strike. He also said that the store closure was a loss for the community and the customers, who will have to travel further to access legal cannabis.

Clément said that the union is ready to resume negotiations with the SQDC, but that it will not accept any concessions or cuts. He said that the union wants a fair and equitable agreement that reflects the value and the skills of the workers, who have been essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. He also said that the union will continue to mobilize and fight for its demands, and that it will not be intimidated by the store closure.

The customers react to the store closure with mixed feelings

The customers of the SQDC store on Plaza Saint-Hubert have reacted to the news of the store closure with mixed feelings. Some customers expressed their support and solidarity with the workers, saying that they deserve better pay and respect. They also said that they will miss the store, which was convenient and friendly.

Other customers expressed their frustration and disappointment with the store closure, saying that they will have to find another source of cannabis, either online or from another store. They also said that they do not understand why the workers are striking, since they already have a good job and benefits. They also said that they hope that the strike will end soon, and that the SQDC will reopen the store or open a new one nearby.

The SQDC has said that it will try to minimize the impact of the store closure on its customers, and that it will redirect them to other stores or to its online platform. The SQDC has also said that it will continue to monitor the situation and the demand, and that it will evaluate the possibility of opening new stores in the future.

By Benjamin Parker

Benjamin Parker is a seasoned senior content writer specializing in the CBD niche at CBD Strains Only. With a wealth of experience and expertise in the field, Benjamin is dedicated to providing readers with comprehensive and insightful content on all things CBD-related. His in-depth knowledge and passion for the benefits of CBD shine through in his articles, offering readers a deeper understanding of the industry and its potential for promoting health and wellness.

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