Implementation of Continuous Quality Assurance for Medication Safety

Feedback deadline was: May 1, 2017


This consultation is now closed.

The College is committed to patient safety and to enhancing the safe, effective and ethical delivery of pharmacy services in Ontario. We are currently seeking feedback on a standardized continuous quality assurance program (CQA) for pharmacies, including the reporting of anonymous medication incident data to a third party.

To share your feedback, please scroll to the bottom of the page and select the Online Form button.

CQA for Medication Safety

The CQA program would support ongoing continuous quality improvement (CQI) and put in place a mandatory consistent standard for all pharmacies. The objective of CQI is to support practitioners to learn from medication incidents, and to review and enhance policies and procedures to reduce the chances of recurrence, thereby improving patient safety. Learnings come as a result of both proactive review of work processes to identify areas of risk and retrospective review of specific medication incidents.

The standardized CQA program:

  • Requires shared accountability between pharmacies, for the systems they design and how they respond to staff behaviour, and pharmacy professionals, for the quality of their choices and for reporting their errors;
  • Emphasizes learning and accountability, through a culture where individuals are comfortable bringing forward medication incidents without fear of punitive outcomes; and
  • Enables sharing of lessons learned from medication incidents through reporting, resulting in ongoing process improvements to minimize errors and maximize health outcomes.

Anonymous medication error reporting to an independent third party provides data to support aggregate reviews of national trends. Through data obtained by the reporting, the College will be able to identify areas of risk and provide appropriate guidance to pharmacy professionals. Driven by our collective commitment to put patients first and support high quality and safe patient care, pharmacies will also be required to do more to ensure they are learning from medication incidents and reducing the chance of recurrence.

Moving forward with a formal quality assurance program will lead to standardized, accurate and complete tracking of medication incident information across the province and help provide a better understanding of errors and how they can be prevented to better protect patients.

View the proposed Continuous Quality Assurance Program for Pharmacies

Proposed Implementation

The College proposes a two phased approach for implementation. The first phase (approximately six to eight months) would involve volunteer pharmacies that are representative of pharmacy practice across Ontario (e.g. independent, chain, rural, urban) and would provide an opportunity to assess the program requirements. The second phase would expand by incorporating the changes and best practices identified by pharmacies in the first phase to improve successful incorporation into pharmacy workflow. Full implementation in all pharmacies is expected by December 2018.

Call for Pharmacy Practice Volunteers:The College is looking for pharmacies and pharmacy professionals who would be interested in participating in the first phase of the implementation of the CQA program. Please email for more information.

Questions to Guide Your Feedback

Please consider these questions while providing your feedback.

1. Do you see the CQA program benefiting practice in your own pharmacy?

2. What would support successful implementation?

3. How could the College help with the implementation?

4. What are you are already doing in your pharmacy around CQI and continuing quality assurance?

5. Is it reasonable to implement the CQA program in two phases?


Read more about the development process on the Continuous Quality Assurance for Medication Safety Key Initiative page.

Read the Feedback

View the feedback received to date.