Olds Mayor Michael Muzychka says he isn’t surprised to hear about the recent layoffs by Sundial Growers.
Sundial’s flagship production facility is located in Olds, and there is a second facility in Rocky View.
Last summer, Sundial was set to become the biggest employer in the Town of Olds, but that milestone may be in question now as the company has made some “organizational changes.”
“This has resulted in the reduction of staff positions at our Alberta operations of less than 10 per cent of our workforce,” the company said in a recent statement.
“We have heard a few concerns, but with the economic news surrounding the cannabis industry this isn’t overly surprising,” said Muzychka.
The mayor believes the move by the company doesn’t help the town, however there are still hundreds of jobs associated with Sundial in Olds.
Muzychka said the hope is these adjustments help the company deal with the fiscal pressure that all cannabis companies are facing.
As with any reduction, there will be some trickle down effects, the mayor added.
“We have confidence that Sundial will be able to weather this situation and continue to be a major player in our economy.”
The company did not clarify how many people were laid off.
During Sundial’s first harvest in November 2018, the cannabis company had about 90 employees. That number reached over 400 around May 2019 and was expected to exceed 500 workers in July last year – making the private cannabis company the biggest employer in Olds.
“We are doing this partially in response to challenging industry conditions, largely because of regulatory delays that have resulted in fewer than anticipated stores across the country,” the company said.
“This, in turn, has generated lower than expected sales for all players. The organizational changes will have no impact on the quality of our products.”
The move will help the company stay “agile.”
“As part of our commitment to long-term sustainable growth, it is important we remain agile in responding to the evolving cannabis market conditions by controlling costs to balance supply and demand.”
On Jan. 30, the company also announced changes to its executive team and at the board level.
Torsten Kuenzlen has resigned as the company’s chief executive officer and will step down as a director, effective immediately, to pursue other interests.
Zach George, currently a member of Sundial’s board, has been appointed CEO and will continue as a director.
Brian Harriman, Sundial’s chief operating officer, will be leaving the company. His portfolio will be transitioned to Andrew Stordeur, who is currently president of Sundial’s Canadian operations.
Ted Hellard has stepped down from his role as executive chairman, but will continue to serve on the board, and as chair of the mergers and acquisitions committee.
The company has begun construction of its next purpose-built facility in Merritt, B.C.