Pot store sales data was ‘hijacked’, says Ontario cannabis distributor

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TORONTO – The Ontario Cannabis Store says a data breach involving some of its sales information is being investigated by the Ontario Provincial Police.

TORONTO – The Ontario Cannabis Store says a data breach involving some of its sales information is being investigated by the Ontario Provincial Police.

Daffyd Roderick, a spokesman for the Crown agency responsible for distributing growers’ cannabis to pottery shops across the province, confirmed what he called a data breach on Tuesday evening.

“There were no IT security or systems failures,” he added.

A letter from OCS obtained by The Canadian Press and sent to retailers on May 10 said that “confidential store sales data” was “released to the industry.”

“This data has not been disclosed by the OCS, and we have provided no permission or consent to distribute or use this data outside of our organization,” reads the letter signed by Janet Ihm, vice- OCS President of Wholesale Partnerships and Customer Service.

“The data has been misappropriated, disclosed and distributed illegally. Accordingly, we hope that you will refrain from sharing or using this stolen data in any way.

Following the breach, the SCO said it quickly launched an investigation to identify the source, restricted access to internal data reports, and notified police, who it said will review and investigate the breach. misuse of data.

The Ontario Provincial Police did not immediately confirm whether an investigation had been opened.

The federal privacy commissioner, to whom all breaches must be reported, did not respond to a request for comment.

The takeover comes as the cannabis industry faces growing competition and sales pressures as the number of cannabis stores in Ontario rose to 1,333 from 1,115 at the end of September.

Meanwhile, most major pot growers have yet to report profits, and many have spent the past few years slashing prices to deal with the ever-popular illicit market.

The SCO also encountered some difficulties.

In December, the Auditor General of Ontario said in her annual report that many cannabis products are often out of stock because the OCS inaccurately forecasts inventory levels. These inaccurate predictions are leaving customers empty-handed and licensed producers frustrated, according to the report.

At the time, the OCS said work was underway to use point-of-sale technology to further automate sales reporting, which would improve inventory management and forecasting.

The SCO also faced a breach before. Nearly four years ago, the OCS revealed that information related to about 4,500 of its customers was part of a Canada Post data breach.

The November 1, 2018 breach was linked to someone accessing data, including the names of people who signed for pot deliveries, OCS reference numbers and postal codes, through a Canada Post tracking tool. The OCS said those affected accounted for about 2% of customer orders.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on March 10, 2022.

Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press

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