The conciliation meeting between Quebec's government-owned cannabis retailer (SQDC) and its union of striking employees did not lead to a resolution.

An indefinite strike by members of the CUPE-FTQ union has been affecting 22 branches of the Crown corporation for nearly five months.

The two parties met for several hours last Friday -- the first time since July 15 -- which raised hopes.

According to David Clément, president of the affected CUPE branch, the meeting was "respectful" and "constructive." The SQDC gave a positive assessment, stating the meeting took place in a "cordial and open atmosphere."

However, the union says that an appeal to the Quebec Treasury Board cut discussions short, alleging the board did not provide the SQCD adequate means to conclude the negotiations.

The SQDC denies that this is the case.


Wages are currently the primary issue in dispute.

SQDC workers earn $17.12 an hour when they're hired. The union is demanding this number be raised to at least $20, pointing out that entry-level workers at the Quebec-owned SAQs make $21.50 an hour.

CUPE intends to take its case to the provincial Treasury Board, arguing it is responsible for the impasse.

"What we want is for the Quebec government to give us the recognition we deserve. We are a few steps away, possibly, from having an agreement in principle and putting an end to a five-month conflict. So, we're going to go directly to the Treasure Board to try to convince them to give mandates to the SQDC," said Clément.

For the moment, no other meeting date has been set, according to the union and the SQDC.

"The process is still underway before the Ministry of Labour conciliator and we are still open to continuing discussions with CUPE representatives," said SQDC management.

About half of the retailer's branches have unionized employees.

The SQDC has already reached an agreement with the other union organization that represents a smaller number of its employees, the FEESP-CSN.

This report was first published in French by The Canadian Press on Oct. 11, 2022.