Ombudsman Paul Dubé has confirmed that his office has received more than 1,000 complaints about the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) since it opened October 17. Most are from customers frustrated with delayed deliveries, billing problems and poor customer service.
“I have informed the OCS that we are seeing a high volume of complaints and we are monitoring their response to these issues,” Mr. Dubé said. “We have assigned a team of staff to triage complaints and resolve them quickly wherever possible, and we are in regular contact with senior officials of the OCS.”
“Our office is uniquely positioned to assist organizations with addressing backlogs and implementing effective complaint processes,” the Ombudsman added. “We can provide feedback, flag emerging trends in complaints, and propose best practices to improve service to the public.”
The most common complaints thus far about the OCS’s first two weeks of operations involve delayed deliveries, poor communication with customers and those seeking to escalate complaints, and orders that were incorrect, cancelled without notice or could not be cancelled.
The Ombudsman is an office of last resort, meaning it does not intervene unless existing complaint avenues have been tried. “As is our normal process, we are monitoring complaint trends and flagging them to the appropriate officials first. We also look for potential systemic issues that could warrant a formal investigation,” Mr. Dubé said. “At the same time, our discussions with OCS reveal that it is working hard to resolve the issues generating these complaints, and if it can alleviate the issues we identify in an effective and timely manner, a formal investigation might not be required.”
The Ombudsman’s office is an independent, impartial office of the Ontario legislature, established in 1975, that resolves and investigates some 21,000 public complaints annually about administrative issues with Ontario government bodies, municipalities, universities and school boards.