July 22, 2020
On April 7, 2020, the Ontario government made an emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to support the cannabis retail sector through the COVID-19 pandemic, temporarily allowing authorized cannabis retail stores to offer delivery and curbside pick-up.
This emergency order is expiring with the end of Ontario’s Declaration of Emergency on July 24. Authorized cannabis stores will no longer be permitted to offer delivery or curbside pick-up effective 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, July 23.
Although retailers may continue to offer “click and collect” services for the sale of cannabis, accessories and items related to cannabis, customers will be required to pick up all purchases in-store.
Retailers who have participated in a cannabis delivery program are advised that with the ending of the cannabis Emergency Order enabling delivery, they are still expected to maintain and retain all delivery records for a minimum of three years, in accordance with Standard 8.1.
On April 7, 2020, the AGCO published an information bulletin advising that, for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic service interruptions, it was providing the following guidance to Standard 1.1.1.: As a cannabis licensee, you must obtain a criminal background check for employees as part of the hiring process as soon as is practicable.
This temporary guidance will remain in place for the time being and is unaffected by the ending of the cannabis Emergency Order on July 24, 2020.
The April 7, 2020, AGCO information bulletin also announced the amendment of Standard 8.2, requiring full cannabis inventory counts on a monthly basis, rather than on a weekly basis, as was previously required.
This amendment will remain in place for the time being and is unaffected by the end of the cannabis Emergency Order on July 24, 2020.
Regulatory Reporting Requirements
The AGCO’s April 7, 2020, information bulletin also announced several amendments to its regulatory reporting requirements as a way to reduce burden for retailers. These amendments will remain in place for the time being, with one exception.
On July 24, when the cannabis Emergency Order ends, the previous requirement for monthly reporting of inter-store cannabis transfers will be reinstated for operators with more than one store.
The AGCO will continue to work closely with the Government of Ontario to find ways of supporting the sectors we regulate.