Ontario Cannabis Store delivery times 'back on track,' finance minister says
Published Monday, November 12, 2018 2:47PM EST
The Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) is “back on track” according to the province’s finance minister, with legal pot now expected to arrive on doorsteps within one to three business days of the order being placed.
The government-run online retail store has been plagued with problems since its launch on Oct. 17, the day marijuana was legalized in Canada. Some customers experienced long wait times for delivery and others had incorrect orders arrive at the door.
Immediately after the online store opened, it received more than 100,000 orders in 24 hours. Within days, customers were warned that deliveries would be delayed up to five days.
However over 1,000 customers complained to Ontario’s Ombudsman that their products arrived several weeks after placing their order, instead of five days, with little to no explanation for the delay.
Finance Minister Vic Fedeli won’t reveal the reasons behind the backlog but admits there were a “few bumps along the road” that he says would happen with the launch of any new business.
“It’s a multimillion dollar business that we opened overnight in a multibillion dollar sector,” Fedeli told reporters at Queen’s Park on Monday.
The OCS has been tight-lipped about the delivery mix-ups but in an email to affected customers last week, apologized for the delays and refunded the $5 delivery charge to anyone who placed an order on Oct. 17 or 18.
Questions over government contract
The government is also facing pressure to reveal the name of the company tasked with distributing millions of dollars worth of legal pot.
The OCS has declined to reveal the location of the GTA-area warehouse, citing security concerns. The retailer and the government have also refused to reveal which company is in charge of filling orders or whether there was a public tender issued for the contract.
“A massive, lucrative contract like this should only be awarded through a tender and competitive bidding process,” NDP Deputy Leader Sara Singh said in the Legislature.
“Was this contract tendered and what private company is running Ontario cannabis warehouse operations in this province?”
Fedeli would only offer that a “private company” is running the warehouse and that the government is “quite happy” with the operation.
Fedeli also hinted that much of the OCS structure was established under the previous liberal government “long before the last election” promising more details on the process in the “near future.”
Interim Liberal Leader John Fraser couldn’t answer questions about whether the Liberal government handed out the contract to the private company, saying he would try to find out.
However, he says the government hasn’t provided a valid reason for why it can’t disclose the name of the company.