Pierre Fortin
Partner | CPA, CA | Management consulting

In addition to the economic aspects, the legalization of cannabis has raised a number of challenges for municipalities since coming into effect.

Ottawa may legislate and Quebec may regulate the sale and distribution, but it’s municipalities that have to manage the local problems.

Municipalities are responsible for services to citizens, such as cannabis selling zones, business permits and building codes. Internally, they have to ensure the implementation of bylaws on the consumption of cannabis in public, impaired driving and workers’ safety, the topic of this article.

Does the municipality have employee policies? Does it have the right tools? Does it have what it needs to inform its employees and raise awareness?

Action rather than reaction

So far, so good… but should the municipality be waiting for the first incidents before introducing an efficient internal policy? Most large municipalities have been proactive, like Montréal, that has trained its police officers to identify signs of impaired faculties. What about small- and medium-sized municipalities? Simply adding a sentence on cannabis in the drug and alcohol policy is probably not enough.

For example, winter is coming and snow removal will result in considerable snow removal equipment moving about on the streets. In the short term, to avoid dangerous situations for citizens, it’s essential to identify high-risk jobs to ensure there is appropriate support to apply a policy on the use of cannabis by municipal employees. Consider the private sector, where some businesses have introduced efficient policies, including, among others, zero tolerance provisions.

Some municipalities have decided to set up special commissions to survey the population about the impacts of cannabis legislation on municipal services.

It’s too soon to know what the consequences will be and have accurate data on the impact of cannabis on our daily lives and, more specifically, high-risk jobs. Nevertheless, it’s up to municipalities to anticipate, prevent and act before something happens.

There are a number of organizations that can support your initiative, such as the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety or CLSC health professionals. Our management consultants can help you get training and inform your teams and managers.

20 Nov 2018  |  Written by :

Pierre Fortin is a partner at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. He is your expert in Management...

See the profile

Next article

Business leaders have already shared their entrepreneurial vision with our President and CEO, Emilio B. Imbriglio, in exclusive interviews.

Always relevant, their comments deserve our attention. We will present them to you in the coming weeks.

In these videos, John Marcovecchio, now CEO of Magil Construction, discusses several topics, including the importance of leadership, public-private partnerships (PPPs), business leader’s vision and acquisition strategies.


It’s very important as a leader to get to know the people that work with you.


Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton is proud to present these high-level meetings filmed in an unusual and spectacular location: outside, on the roof of Place Ville Marie.

To find out more, view these short videos.


On acquisition


On talent management


On parallels between poker & business


On public sector projects

Next article

Louise Martel
Partner | B.A.A, C.R.I.A. | Human resources consulting

How can I find the employees I need? How can I attract the best talent? Thousands of entrepreneurs like yourself are asking themselves the same questions.

Employers are under pressure because of the labour shortage. There are currently some 11,000 vacancies to be filled in Quebec according to Canadian Federation of Independent Business 2018 second quarter data.

In this context, you need to stand out from other employers and, now more than ever, you need to adopt recruiting best practices. Here are six key tips for a successful process.

1. Work on your employer brand

First, you need to position yourself as an employer of choice and project this image in the community. The more you’re talked about, the more candidate attention you’ll garner.

We suggest having an efficient social media presence. You can post job offers, of course, but remember to publish interesting articles on a regular basis, showcase your successes and the development opportunities you offer, talk about social events you are involved in and the organizations you support, etc.

Here are the main aspects you should pay special attention to:

  • Corporate values and culture;
  • Work environment—it should be pleasant and energizing;
  • Team spirit and approaches to engaging staff;
  • Advancement challenges and possibilities;
  • Global compensation and other benefits;
  • Working conditions (flexible hours, option to work offsite, etc.);
  • Support (training, coaching, mentoring, etc.);
  • Quality of the management team;
  • Work tools;
  • Entity’s social involvement.

Your current and former employees are your best ambassadors to promote your employer brand. Make sure you maintain excellent relationships with them (to stay in touch with former employees, hold a “former employee day” each year for example).

We recommend an exit interview with employees who are leaving. This will help you pinpoint areas that may need adjustments. This is also a good opportunity to express your recognition for their work.

2. Be in enticement mode

In the current context, it’s no longer a case of candidates selling themselves, you have to entice them.

How you greet the candidate for the first meeting will be key. The meeting should be more of a discussion than an interview and take place in a relaxed atmosphere. Take the time to talk about the entity, its culture and how it works, so the candidate will feel that you have a dynamic organization.

Today’s candidates are looking for challenges. You have to prove that what you offer is up to their expectations. However, be open and transparent: don’t make promises you can’t keep. If your organization is facing certain challenges, it’s to your benefit to talk about them and how you plan to address them.

3. Be flexible

Don’t consider that all of your selection criteria are set in stone. Instead, consider assessing candidates who stand out for their development potential and ability to integrate well in your organization’s culture.

4. Act quickly

Candidates looking for jobs often have several offers. If you find that a candidate seems promising, make an offer quickly or you run the risk of losing the person to another organization. Generally, make sure your recruiting process is as flexible and fast as possible.

5. Develop resources internally

As an employer of choice, you must have a solid competency development and succession planning program. The ideal candidate to fill a key position may already be working for you!

Most employees are looking for opportunities to progress. You should support them, offer training, coaching and mentoring. Target employees who seem the most apt to be promoted to strategic positions so you can give them the necessary development support.

6. Get help

That said, finding the real gem is no easy task. We recommend that you call on human resource and recruiting specialists, like those at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. We offer a full range of human resource services. We can help you position yourself as a particularly appealing employer and find candidates who will fit in perfectly in your organization.

13 Nov 2018  |  Written by :

Louise Martel is a partner at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. She is your expert in human resources...

See the profile

Next article

Pierre Fortin
Partner | CPA, CA | Management consulting

The digital economy is an important source of potential growth for Québec companies, which nevertheless face many challenges.

Some companies are successful in taking advantage of the productivity gains and access to new markets offered by the new technologies. This evolving economy is nevertheless a source of concern for several Quebec businesses which must now compete with new businesses in their markets.

These structural changes have major impacts on the province’s municipalities, especially with regard to fluctuations in property tax income and regulations.

E-Commerce – Major developments for Quebec retailers

Data published in the past few months confirm that Quebecers are shopping more and more online and mainly on U.S. retailers’ sites. A recent study by the CEFRIO on e-commerce trends in Quebec revealed that 58% of Quebecers made online purchases during 2017 and 58% of these purchases were made on the Amazon website.

This increase in online sales is jeopardizing the traditional retail business model. Across Canada, e-commerce sales in the retail sector increased by more than 72% between 2012 and 2016. During this period, the most significant increases in online sales market shares were found in construction and gardening materials (+358%), home furniture and accessories (+282%), clothing items and accessories (+273%) and sports, leisure, music and library items (+206%).

Well established retail giants such as Sears or Jacob (women’s clothing) have already succumbed to these changes, which are also affecting chains traditionally seen as leaders in their field like Toys’R’Us. Other changes can be expected in the coming years, especially in sectors where e-commerce is less present now. For example, the growth of online car sales could force car dealers to review their business model, and grocery stores will be feeling increased competition from their online counterparts.

These disruptions are already having an impact on the province’s municipalities. Shopping centre stores are changing, reducing the leased surface area and turning to online sales platforms. In the near future, this will reduce the municipal tax base while their financial needs for delivering their services to the population will not be reduced. A reshaping of tax income sources can be expected to ensure municipalities’ financial longevity.

New digital players outside municipal regulations framework

The presence of new players from the digital economy is also upsetting the traditional regulatory framework of Quebec municipalities.

Airbnb, the largest housing service in the world, owns no rooms, and is now present in all of the province’s municipalities. In addition to taking market shares from traditional hoteliers, Airbnb is having a major impact in certain municipal territories. Apartments that had been traditionally occupied by residents are now being transformed into tourist dwellings. Income from lodging taxes, which support municipalities’ economic development, could be affected. Furthermore, displeased citizens are requiring regulatory changes to put an end to the continuous coming and going of tourists.

Another case that has been well publicized in recent years: the emergence of Uber in the taxi sector has caused quite a headache for political decision-makers. Regulatory changes had to be adopted in light of the growth of this business model.

Other digital players will emerge in the coming years and will definitely upset the usual business model. Municipalities will have to remain vigilant and become more flexible to deal with these disturbances quickly.

Municipal administration transformation opportunities

Digital changes are nevertheless generating interesting opportunities for Quebec municipalities. The new technological tools available make it possible to embrace the notion of a smart city, which can enhance the quality of citizens’ lives. Platforms like Facebook, among others, enable municipalities to increase stakeholders’ commitments, in particular by making it easier to share information and consult on a variety of topics.

Professional support by knowledgeable experts

When you are faced with these changes brought on by the digital economy, our experts can support you with:

  • Strategic planning: our experts can help you carry out your municipality’s strategic plan to determine which tangible actions will make it easier for your municipality to adapt to the new digital era.
  • Financial framework: our experts can help establish a long-term financial framework (forecasting revenues and expenses) that will better prepare you for the fluctuating sources of property tax income in the coming years.
  • Citizen participation: our experts can help design tools that will enhance the commitment of the stakeholders on your territory.

12 Nov 2018  |  Written by :

Pierre Fortin is a partner at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. He is your expert in Management...

See the profile