All Sobeys-owned pharmacies functional again after computer problems


Almost a week since a computer problem disrupted services at Sobeys-owned pharmacies across the country, the company said Friday its pharmacies are fully operational again.

“We are happy to let our customers know that all our stores across the country are open and serving customers and our pharmacy locations are once again fully operational,” spokesperson Sarah Dawson said in an email to CBC News on Friday.

Dawson said despite some ongoing challenges, the company’s network is “flowing very well.” She did not specify what those challenges were.

Last weekend, store staff said they were unable to access their computers, but they could refill some prescriptions if customers presented empty bottles.

On Monday, parent company Empire said the company was experiencing an “information technology systems issue” that was causing difficulties filling prescriptions. The problem was also affecting other services at its grocery stores, which include more than 1,500 stores under the Sobeys, IGA, Safeway, Foodland and Needs brands among others.

Empire has not responded to any questions or requests for updates on the situation since Monday. In a statement to its website on Thursday, the company said the vast majority of its pharmacy network was operating fully.

Some Lawtons pharmacies in Nova Scotia, which are owned by Empire, told customers Thursday afternoon they were able to fill prescriptions again, but that computers were very slow and they had a long queue of orders to fill.

Other pharmacies said they weren’t quite up and running yet.

While the company has remained virtually silent on the nature of the issue, several cybersecurity experts have said a security breach or possible ransomware attack is likely to blame.

Maple Leaf still working on cybersecurity breach

Maple Leaf Foods, which announced late Sunday a cybersecurity breach had caused system outages at that company, told CBC News on Thursday it was on track with recovering its systems, but it would take time to fully resolve the issues.

“Our phased, methodical approach to recovery continues as we prioritize business and operational continuity,” the statement said.

Maple Leaf said staff are using manual processes to run facilities, and that food processing has continued at all its plants at varying levels. Some areas are also experiencing delays in shipping, the company said.


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