Railways helped found the town of Smiths Falls and perhaps that’s why the town has proven to be among the most resilient in Lanark County. This blue collar town has had its ups and downs when its comes to its labour force, suffering devastating job losses but it always finds a way to bounce back. The closing of the Hershey Chocolate plant and the Rideau Regional Centre dealt traumatic blows to the local economy in 2007, but the emergence of the cannabis industry, following the legalization of marijuana in Canada, brought many jobs back to the community of just over 9,000 residents.
First it was Tweed that moved into Smiths Falls, taking over the abandoned Hershey plant, and becoming one of Canada’s first marijuana manufacturing facilities. A few years later, Canopy Growth took over the facility and at its peak the company provided employment to about 1500 people, but fast forward to 2023 and everything that was old may become new again. Canopy Growth is in the midst of downsizing and has closed its largest plant in the town. While the company still has about 500 employees in Smiths Falls it is divesting itself of assets and recently sold the plant back to Hershey at a cost of more than $54-million, after Canopy invested millions of dollars to modernize the former chocolate factory.
Hershey isn’t showing its cards yet, but its hoped its history in the town and its knowledge of the local labour force will result in a return to chocolate production in the small Eastern Ontario town. We have included some statistical information in our community profile for the town of Smiths Falls.
To see Labour Market Data on Smith Falls check out our latest Labour Market Bulletin