Finance Minister Vic Fedeli faced questions at Queen’s Park on Monday about the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) and the delays on customer orders.
It’s been almost a month since the federal legalization of recreational cannabis across the country and in Ontario it’s been a rocky roll out, with customers complaining about delivery delays, incorrect orders and order cancellation issues.
Fedeli says some kinks are being worked out and that the OCS claims they are “back on track.”
“We’re in uncharted waters. We have a business that we haven’t been in, in 100 years and we had 100,000 orders on the very first night,” he told the media.
“All of that backlog has now been taken care of and we’re back to normal. So when you order from the Ontario Cannabis Store we’ll be back to what we (were) always look for, our normal delivery of one to three days.”
Despite Fedeli’s claims, the OCS website still currently shows a delivery window of three to five days.
In the weeks following legalization, Ontario’s Ombudsman said his office received over a thousand complaints about the OCS since it opened online on Oct. 17.
And then last week, the OCS emailed customers about a data breach which saw someone access the information of 4,500 customers across the province.
When asked about the breach, Fedeli said it is a Canada Post issue.
“That’s an issue from Canada Post and I’ve been assured from the Ontario Cannabis Store that they have been dealing with Canada Post on that Canada Post breach,” he said.
The OCS has also blamed producers licensed by Health Canada for what it calls a labelling mix-up that delayed delivery of some products.
In an email to affected customers this week, Patrick Ford, the chief executive officer of the Ontario Cannabis Store said the province’s only legal outlet for recreational pot had put in place unspecified measures to prevent a recurrence. Ford also promised packages would leave the store’s distribution centre on the weekend.
“The OCS sincerely apologizes for how long you have had to wait for your order,” Ford said in the email. “As a small gesture of our appreciation for your patience we are providing you with a refund of the $5 shipping fee you paid.”
According to the email, the promised shipping refund applies only to people who ordered affected products from the online store on Oct. 17 — the day recreational pot became legal in Canada — or Oct. 18, but not to those who ordered in the ensuing days, had their payments accepted, but also didn’t receive their purchased product because of the mix-up.
Currently in Ontario, recreational marijuana can only be purchased through the OCS website. The private sale of cannabis across the province is expected to begin some time next year.
With files from The Canadian Press