With a population of less than 1,000, 80 new jobs could be a significant boon to both on-reserve employment and to the local economy.
Nipissing First Nation’s (NFN) recently announced cannabis cultivation and processing facility is set to bring more than 80 new jobs to the region, reports the owner of the land on which the facility is set to be built.
Natalie Payette-Chevrier owns the lot where the approximately 30,000 sq. ft. facility will be built by Golden Harvest Organics, Inc. (GHO).
“She will be the first female First Nation entrepreneur in the country to take on a project of this size and scope,” GHO chief operating officer Adam Allard told BayToday.
Security is a high priority for the facility. The property will be surrounded by eight foot-tall barbed-wire fences equipped with a detection system, finger scanners and key cards for every door, a secure vault to stash already-processed cannabis and background checks for members of the Board of Directors and staff.
Those interested in working at the facility, however, will have to be patient. Although construction has started, there is significant work to be done before the facility is completed and job applications won’t be accepted before summer 2020. Applications will be be open to all.
Allard said the facility will provide the necessary training for many positions, although others will require prior knowledge of the cannabis field. The company has yet to specify the positions that will be available, although these are likely to include positions involving cultivation and security.
“We have standard operating procedures that people will need to be familiar with, and background checks, there will be a whole process for that,” he said. “Some positions, obviously, will need special education, but other positions not necessarily,” he added.
With a population of less than 1,000 (per 2016 Census Aboriginal Community Portrait data), 80 new jobs could be a significant boon to both on-reserve employment and to the local economy.
The construction has the solid support of NFN Chief Scott McLeod. “I am very happy to see this project breaking ground in our community,” said McLeod.
“Natalie and Doug Chevrier, as proprietors of this business, continue to demonstrate what you can achieve through hard work, commitment and doing things the right way. They are leaders in entrepreneurship in Nipissing First Nation and I am proud to extend the council’s support for this business.”
Since federal cannabis legalization came into force, the first nation has created its own set of cannabis laws, protesting provincial legislation, called for amendments to the federal Cannabis Act to maintain jurisdiction of on-reserve cannabis retail laws, and recently opened its first licensed pot shop.
Allard said the project has the support of the community, and Payette-Chevrier concurred. “I’m so proud of our committed team and Board of Directors, who clearly see this vision and have not stopped working over these two years,” she said.
“We’re able to bring more than 80 jobs to our community and build a sustainable business that will support the economic growth throughout this region,” she added.
Construction on the facility is expected to be completed by January 2021.
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Written by Emma Spears