Grow Opportunity

Niagara College plans commercial cannabis course

Sept. 19, 2017, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. – Canada’s first post-secondary course for the production of commercial cannabis will welcome its first students next September.

September 19, 2017  By Dave Harrison

Al Unwin Sept. 19

Niagara College will launch a Graduate Certificate program in Commercial Cannabis Production in 2018. The school is responding to a need for skilled graduates who are knowledgeable in the complex regulations and requirements of an emerging industry.

The program, which was approved by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development over the summer, will prepare graduates to work in the licensed production of cannabis, which is used as a therapeutic drug (marijuana), fibre (hemp) and as a source for seed oil (hempseed).

“We’re a pre-emptive college, and one of our key strengths is our ability to anticipate and respond to emerging industries, trends and labour-market needs,” said Niagara College president Dan Patterson.



“The Commercial Cannabis Production program reflects the College’s mandate to develop responsive applied learning programs that address industry needs – much like our Commercial Beekeeping, Culinary Innovation, Renewable Energy Technician and other programs.”

The production of cannabis is a very highly regulated process, with very strict government regulations. Niagara College’s program will conform to all regulations and requirements, including providing a separate and highly secure learning environment/growing facility.

“Driven by legislative changes in Canada and abroad, there is a growing labour market need, and education will be a key component of the success of this emerging industry,” said Al Unwin, associate dean of Niagara College’s School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies.

“This program will produce graduates who are skilled and knowledgeable Greenhouse and Controlled Environment Technicians who are also trained in all of the procedures, requirements, regulations and standards for this industry.”

Click here for a video report.

The program is a one-year post-grad program open to students with a diploma or degree from an accredited college or university in agribusiness, agricultural sciences, environmental science/resource studies, horticulture or natural sciences, or an acceptable combination of education and experience.

“There is a tremendous demand for knowledgeable, skilled workers in this highly technical industry,” said Roger Ferrreira, CEO of Beleave, Inc., in Hamilton, ON. “Niagara College having the vision to fill this knowledge gap is commendable.”

The program will be located at the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus, which is home to the College’s other agri-business programs, facilities and research projects. The initial intake for the program is scheduled for Fall 2018. Click here for further program and application information.


Currently celebrating its 50th year as a College of Applied Arts and Technology, NC is a leader in applied education and a key contributor to the economies of Niagara and Ontario. A regional college with global reach, NC offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs. Visit

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