In October 2018, Canada became the first G7 country to federally legalize the use of recreational cannabis. Since then, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s Ontario Cannabis Policy Council (OCPC) has sought to make timely and evidence-based recommendations to inform government decision-making.
The Council has played a critical role in advancing thought leadership and driving public policy through ongoing engagement with senior government officials:
- Advancing thought leadership. We have reached an estimated 165 million readers in over 300 stories in print, digital, radio and TV across Ontario and Canada over the last year.
- Driving public policy. Through its advocacy and policy work, the Council has had a measurable impact on government policy by:
- Making delivery and curbside pick-up permanent for retailers in Ontario;
- Enabling retailers to enter into agreements with LPs for the sale of data for BI purposes;
- Reversing the federal government’s course on white labelling and in-house products, and;
- Avoiding sweeping action on store clustering from the province and municipalities
Leveraging a variety of public affairs strategies and tactics, the Council has met with Ministers and senior officials from The Competition Bureau of Canada; Ontario Cannabis Store; Ministry of Finance; Ministry of the Attorney General; Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario; and Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
2022-2023 priorities include:
- Implementing the recommendations outlined in Ontario’s Auditor General’s report with specific emphasis on OCS pricing, markups, and transparency around product listing /delisting.
- Championing common-sense reforms to help support the sector’s growth. Be it the structure of the federal excise tax or payment terms for licenced producers provincially, there is an urgent need for change within the current cannabis retail distribution model.
- Advocating for the necessary structural reforms to make Ontario’s cannabis sector more competitive against the illicit market – which still accounts for approximately half of all cannabis consumed in Ontario – including allowing a direct commercial relationship between LPs and retailers.
The Council is co-chaired by Daniel Safayeni, Vice President of Policy, Ontario Chamber of Commerce, and Nathan Mison, CEO, Diplomat Consulting.
Founding members of the Council include:
- Trevor Fencott, CEO, Fire & Flower Inc.
- TBD, Tilray
- Eric Foster, Partner, Dentons Canada LLP
- Mike Dixon, Director, Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility, University of Guelph
- Andrew Stordeur, President, Sundial Growers Inc.
- Michael Nituda, Partner, BFL Canada Risk and Insurance Services Inc.
- Afshin Mousavian, CEO, RCU – Responsible Cannabis Use
- Janet Ecker, President, Kilwaughter Consulting
- Pamela Jeffery, Founder and CEO, The Pamela Jeffery Group
- Dave Paterson, Chief Commercial Officer, Indiva
- Fern Glowinsky, President & CEO, Merrco Payments Inc.
- Shahbaaz Kara-Virani, Canadian Sales Leader, Dutchie
- Katie De Silva, VP of Operations, Kanalink
- Ian C. Grady, Director of Government Relations, Weedmaps
- Marc Nantel, Vice President, Research & External Relations, Niagara College
- Adam Coates, Chief Revenue Officer, Decibel Cannabis
- Nathan Mison, CEO, Diplomat Consulting
- Benny Presman, Founder & President, Weed Me Inc.
For more information on how to join the Council, please contact Daniel Safayeni, Vice President of Policy, Ontario Chamber of Commerce.