Exemptions and Exclusions Under the Employment Standards Act

Feedback deadline was: Dec. 15, 2017


The Ontario government is seeking public input to help make workplaces fairer for workers in industries that currently have exemptions, special rules or exclusions. The College, in its capacity as the regulator of pharmacy in the province, has been asked to provide the Ministry of Labour with a formal written submission on whether the profession’s exemptions from the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) should be maintained as they relate to pharmacists.

Taking an approach that aligns with its mandate to serve and protect the public interest, the College is conducting a consultation to inform this submission. The consultation will close on December 15, 2017.

Please review the considerations below before submitting your feedback.

Those wishing to provide feedback on the exemptions and exclusions under the ESA can also do so by visiting the Regulatory Registry, as the College will be incorporating this feedback into its submission.

UPDATE February 2018: The College has provided its submission to the Ministry of Labour. You can view the submission here.

UPDATE April 2018: The College has provided a follow up letter to the Ministry of Labour. You can view the letter here.


What Does an Exemption Mean?

Some professions are exempt from a wide range of employment standards. This means that employers are not required to offer or provide certain workplace benefits/entitlements to those who are exempted or subject to special exclusions.

The exemptions in the ESA that currently apply to pharmacists are:

  • Hours of work and eating periods;
  • Overtime pay;
  • Minimum wage;
  • Public Holidays;
  • Vacation with Pay; and
  • Personal Emergency Leave (in cases where personal emergency leave taking the leave would constitute an act of professional misconduct or a dereliction of professional duty).

Pharmacy technicians are not subject to the exemptions in the ESA.

Questions to Think About When Providing Your Input

When providing your feedback, please consider the potential impacts associated with either maintaining or removing the current exemptions as it relates to the pharmacy care you or your community currently receives. For example:

  • Would either removing or maintaining these exemptions have an impact on access to timely pharmacy care in your community?
  • Would either removing or maintaining these exemptions have an impact on the quality of pharmacy care patients receive?
  • Would either removing or maintaining these exemptions have an impact on the safety of pharmacy care in your community?
  • Some things you may wish to think about: your pharmacy’s hours of operation, whether your pharmacy is an in urban or rural setting, availability of your pharmacist in the pharmacy, any pharmacy fees you or your insurers currently pay, the role of the pharmacist or pharmacy in your overall health, independence or quality of life, etc.

For further information about the exemptions and the government’s review of the Employment Standards Act and other questions that you may wish to consider when responding, please refer to the ESA Toolkit and the resources listed above.

If you are a pharmacy professional, please indicate in your response whether you are an owner or employee, as well as the setting in which you practice (e.g. community, hospital).

Please note: It may take up to three business days for your response to appear on the feedback page as the College must manually review each response against our posting guidelines. Please be assured that all responses submitted to the consultation are collected and reviewed by the College as part of our analysis.

Read the Feedback

View the feedback received to date.