OCS published its Social Impact Report

| David Brown

The Ontario Cannabis Store’s (OCS) Social Responsibility Strategy has distributed and invested over three-quarters of a million dollars and provided more than two dozen equity and access grants in its first three years of operation. 

The results of the program were shared in the OCS’ new Social Impact Report, published on April 26, to highlight the progress of the program since its launch in 2021. The agency’s first multi-year Social Responsibility Strategy is scheduled to run from 2021-2024. 

In April 2023, the OCS also launched its Social Impact Fund, which is dedicated to funding community projects and research initiatives that resonate with one of OCS’s three key pillars of social responsibility. Those pillars are

  • Sustainability: Establishing a Foundation for Sustainability.
  • Inclusion: Supporting a Diverse & Inclusive Industry.
  • Knowledge: Advancing Cannabis Knowledge & Promoting Responsible Consumption.

The OCS also launched its “Good All Around” social impact platform in 2023, with a goal of connecting Ontarians to the benefits and contributions of the legal cannabis framework.

Through these programs, the OCS has distributed $500,000 in funds to six organizations through the Social Impact Fund, $319,000 towards supporting Black-led initiatives, and $60 million back into the marketplace through OCS’s new fixed markup pricing structure and margin reduction.

The provincial agency also distributed 18 grants worth $56,500 to enhance the presence and participation of Black, Indigenous, and people of colour-owned cannabis businesses at industry events, mitigating cost and other participation barriers. It also provided another eight grants to increase industry event presence and participation of small Ontario-based cannabis businesses totalling $14,800. 

In addition, it provided an 8% wholesale rate adjustment on all cannabis products sold to authorized cannabis stores operating on First Nation reserves, and estimates it saved the industry around $10 million due to OCS’s insurance policy revision in 2022 to allow for easier access to the marketplace.

The OCS also provided 31 CannSell training vouchers prioritizing individuals who identify with equity-deserving and 2SLGBTQ+ groups. CannSell is a training program approved for legally authorized cannabis retailers in Ontario.

“The OCS has a mission to enable Canada’s largest and most vibrant cannabis marketplace through great customer experiences – including promoting safe access to legal cannabis, educating on responsible consumption, and fostering a legal industry that reflects the population it serves,” says OCS president and CEO David Lobo.

“The Social Impact Report isn’t just a reflection of what we have achieved; it is a testament to our entire team’s commitment to environmental sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and improving cannabis literacy through education.”

The report also notes that the OCS has partnered with Climate Smart and initiated a Life Cycle Assessment. Climate Smart training focuses on how to understand, measure, and reduce emissions. According to the report, a Life Cycle Assessment is a scientific methodology used to analyze the environmental impacts associated with all the life cycle stages of a product.

The OCS’ Life Cycle Assessment is based on a standard unit of 3.5 grams of dried cannabis, looking at the overall carbon footprint from seed to sale. 

In 2024, OCS is developing its next Social Responsibility Strategy (2025–28).

The full report can be read here