December 11, 2018

A data breach caused the information of 4,500 Ontario Cannabis Store customers to be viewed through the Canada Post delivery tracking tool on Nov. 1, according to the postal service.

The 4,500 orders account for two per cent of the total customer orders. Names, postal codes, delivery dates and OCS reference numbers, as well as Canada Post tracking numbers, were all viewed by an individual on this date, leaving many customers of the postal service unsettled.

Delivery address, payment information and the contents of the order were not accessed, according to the OCS, but many are still disappointed that this information was so easily accessible.

“I don’t think it’s right that somebody can freely view this information at all. Canadian citizens should be able to trust their government,” said Bo Battler of Kitchener, Ont. “I know most people I have talked to said they were not going to order for that exact reason — especially with there being more affordable and more convenient private options out there. I wouldn’t be too happy if my personal information was viewed for purchasing a product that is now classified as legal, especially after hearing stories of Canadian citizens having issues at the Canada/U.S. border.”

With Ontarians only able to order cannabis through the OCS website, many people are looking toward other purchasing options.

“It’s taboo enough to buy weed, but to do it online is even worse. I couldn’t imagine having my information hacked and looked at,” said Elisha Loucks of Kitchener, Ont. “It is such an invasion of privacy and, what’s worse, we don’t know the purpose of the privacy breach to begin with. Who now knows my identity and address? What are they going to do with it?”

Canada Post commented on the breach, stating that, “As a result, important fixes have been put in place by both organizations to prevent any further unauthorized access to customer information.” Canada Post will be working closely with the OCS to investigate and take immediate action, according to a letter from CEO Patrick Ford.

The controversy only added to the chaos that ensued following the legalization of marijuana. With shipment times being extended from one or two business days to weeks for some customers, legalization has had a shaky start. Delivery time has improved, but with many Canada Post employees still on strike, many people are still disappointed in the turnaround time.

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