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CHANGES TO OCS PRIVACY POLICY COULD MEAN CUSTOMER DATA STORED OUTSIDE OF CANADA

The Ontario Cannabis Store is making a change to its privacy policy that could potentially result in customers' personal information being stored outside of Canada. Effective August 17, 2023, the OCS says it is making this change in privacy policy in response to consumer demands. To meet those demands, it says it will consider new technology platforms, including those that may store their data outside of Canada. In a public post, the online cannabis retailer says that any new technology platforms they may adopt will maintain a high level of security and will be offered by service providers that are required to adhere to laws that protect personal information. Any new technology platforms that OCS may adopt will maintain a high level of security and will be offered by service providers that are required to adhere to laws that protect personal information.


A representative with the OCS confirms with StratCann that under this change, customer personal information may be stored in countries such as the United States. Until then, OCS assures the public that all personal information collected from customers before the policy change will continue to be stored in Canada. "Since legalization, our customers have asked us to improve their online shopping experience on OCS.ca", says Amanda Winton, Manager of Communications and Strategic Engagement with the OCS.


"Assessing new technology platforms will allow the OCS to make enhancements to OCS.ca informed by customer feedback that supports continuous improvement and to keep up with industry best practices. Any new technology platforms that OCS may adopt will maintain a high level of security and will be offered by service providers that are required to adhere to laws that protect personal information", she adds.


OCS will continue to meet legal, privacy and security requirements and standards. This is done by employing organizational, contractual, technical and physical security measures to protect personal information. This includes ensuring that each country where data may be securely stored is assessed and the appropriate data security measures are in place. The OCS has previously affirmed their commitment to keeping such data in Canada. Its privacy policy currently includes the statement: All personal information collected from customers before the policy change will continue to be stored in Canada.


In 2018, Canada's Privacy Commissioner cautioned consumers against purchasing from retailers who stored their personal data outside the country. Shopify, the eCommerce platform currently providing backend services for the OCS online cannabis store, also provides these services for several other provincial online stores. In 2022, Cannabis N. L. informed consumers who bought cannabis from Newfoundlands online cannabis store that Shopify, which hosts the website, would be transferring consumer data from servers in Canada to servers in the United States as of July 31, 2022.

Shopify did not respond to a request for comment for the StratCann article we have linked below.

The personal information of cannabis users is very sensitive. For example, some countries may deny entry to individuals if they know they have purchased cannabis, even lawfully, noted a report from the Privacy Commissioner in 2018. Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation chief marketing officer Peter Murphy told CBC that the company was notified of the transfer by Shopify in 2021.

https://stratcann.com/news/changes-to-ocs-privacy-policy-could-mean-data-customer-stored-outside-of-canada/

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