Ontario is prepping ‘Plan B’ for cannabis deliveries as Canada Post labour dispute continues


Ontario is getting ready to move to its top secret “Plan B” for cannabis deliveries if Canada Post labour woes continue, Finance Minister Vic Fedeli says as complaints mount from customers.

Two days of rotating strikes have impacted Toronto and are delaying shipments to cannabis aficionados, with critics warning the holdups are driving people to illegal dealers, something that marijuana legalization was supposed to eliminate.

Ontario Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli speaks to reporters at Queen's Park, in Toronto on Sept. 24, 2018. Fedeli is preparing to step in if labour action at Canada Post continues to interrupt cannabis deliveries.
Ontario Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli speaks to reporters at Queen’s Park, in Toronto on Sept. 24, 2018. Fedeli is preparing to step in if labour action at Canada Post continues to interrupt cannabis deliveries.  (Christopher Katsarov / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

“We’re continuing to use Canada Post through the rotating strikes and if they go to a general strike we’ll go into Plan B,” Fedeli told reporters Thursday.

“But we are encouraging the federal government to continue working with Canada Post to bring this to a resolution…there’s a tremendous amount at stake here for all online services across the country.”

The finance minister refused to say what alternative arrangements have been made for deliveries as the online Ontario Cannabis Store — the only legal source of marijuana in the province — continues to be swamped by orders since sales began last Wednesday.

The admission prompted criticisms from opposition parties that the Progressive Conservative government was not ready for legalization.

“The Conservatives said they had a plan in the event of a labour dispute and it was all secretive…and now we’re in this situation where people aren’t getting their cannabis. It’s coming late or they’re not getting it at all,” said New Democrat MPP Kevin Yarde (Brampton North).

“This is definitely something that is concerning, because if you can’t get your cannabis what are you gonna do? You’re going to go to the black market….The government needs to come forward and tell us what are their plans?”

Green Leader Mike Schreiner, the MPP for Guelph, said it was naïve for Premier Doug Ford’s government, which won’t allow brick-and-mortar stores to open until April 1, to expect one online retailer could satisfy the heavy demand.

“We knew, clearly, it was going to be a challenge. The reality is they should have been prepared.”

Rob Ferguson is a Toronto-based reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robferguson1





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