Here's what the other OCSs think of the Ontario Cannabis Store — their new acronym mate

The province has chosen the name Ontario Cannabis Stores (OSC) for the places that will sell pot once it's legalized. Only problem is a handful of other Ontario businesses, organizations and schools share that acronym.

'I'm not too happy about it but I don't think there's a whole lot I could probably do,' says business owner

What do these three things have in common? The acronym OCS. A handful of Ontario businesses, organizations and schools share the same acronym as the newly announced Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) including the Ontario Crane Service and the Ontario Council of Shooters. (Anthony Bolante/Reuters, Simon Dawson/Reuters, Shutterstock)

There's been much bickering about how bland and boring the logo is for the recently announced Ontario Cannabis Store, called the OCS for short.

But a handful of Ontario businesses, organizations and schools are facing a far more complex problem — they now share an acronym with the new shops that will sell pot provincially once it's legalized.

From crane salesmen to Christian schools, here's what fellow OSC-ers think about their new acronym mate.

Ontario's pot stores will be called the Ontario Cannabis Store or OCS. Only problem is a handful of other Ontario businesses and organizations already share the OCS acronym. The CBC's Haydn Watters tracked them down to see what they think. 3:34

Ontario Crane Service

The Hamilton-based company, owned by Don Paton, sells and services cranes throughout the province. He's been using the OCS acronym for 17 years.

Not sure what to do: "I'm not too happy about it but I don't think there's a whole lot I could probably do. I don't know legally. I don't think you can trademark letters like that," he said. "I can't afford to fight the government in a lawsuit so it is what it is."

Construction workers use a crane to build a new apartment building in downtown Hamilton. The Ontario Crane Service is based in the city, selling and servicing cranes around the province. They've been using the acronym OCS for 17 years. (Kelly Bennett/CBC)

He's worried it will cause confusion: "We typically go by our whole name ... but OCS is what stands out and people have referred to us as that," he said. Paton doesn't plan to partake in the cannabis store's services. 

"You don't want to have your business associated like that with the government."

No connection between cannabis sales and cranes: "Most people that are looking for [marijuana] aren't going to be interested in getting their cranes serviced ... maybe the odd one."

Ontario Council of Shooters

The council represents the sport of shooting in Ontario, with members including trapshooting, rifle and skeet shooting sport associations. The council's Jennie Marsh didn't know her OCS shared an acronym until CBC pointed it out.

She's not too worried: "Personally, it doesn't really matter to me," she said, laughing. "I guess it would matter to some folks."

On the agenda at next meeting: "We won't have a meeting for about another six or seven weeks," she said. But she assures: "I'll bring it up."

The name and logo for Ontario's provincially-run pot store were unveiled last Friday. It shares an acronym with a handful of other groups around the province. (LCBO)

Ontario Construction Secretariat

The secretariat, which acts as a bridge between trade unions and construction industry contractors, is likely the best known OCS in the province right now — their acronym is used in news articles and trade publications, even their logo has the acronym in it.

A bit worried about Google: "One of our mandates is to provide information to our stakeholders so it's great we're the top Google search right now," said Katherine Jacobs, director of research. "That is a little bit of a concern that we might lose that status."

First thoughts: "Don't they check on that before they make those decisions?"

Connections between cannabis and construction: "We were actually created under legislation which actually makes the exact same acronym kind of humourous," she said. Jacobs said there has also been lots of talk about what happens when pot is legalized and how it will be managed on construction sites, so it's a topic of interest.

Oakville Christian School

Janice Wood is director of admission at the school, located between Toronto and Hamilton. She doesn't think sharing the acronym will have a negative impact.

It's all about the search engine traffic: "I see it as 'well, there's going to be a lot of people googling OCS' and therefore potentially anybody interested in Christian school will also Google us," she said. Wood said the school already has a strong online presence but this might bolster it.

Several Ontario schools, including Oakville Christian School (pictured here), share the OCS acronym. Others include Orillia Christian School, north of Barrie, Ont., and Senator O'Connor College School in Toronto. (Google Maps)

A sense of humour: "We think it's pretty funny since that we're a Christian school," she said, laughing. "I don't think anybody is overly worried about it. I just think that it's in some cases unfortunate."

Wood said if they could change it, they would probably try to but thinks the direct association will pass with time.

How do you tell the kids?: "It's going to be legalized. There's going to be a lot of conversation about it. So I think they'll think it's also pretty funny. I mean, some will think, I suppose, it's pretty cool."

About the Author

Haydn Watters

Haydn Watters is a Toronto-based journalist. He has worked for CBC News and CBC Radio in Halifax, Yellowknife, Ottawa and Toronto, with stints at the politics bureau and the entertainment unit. He also ran an experimental one-person pop-up bureau for the CBC in Barrie, Ont.

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