Feedback for Exemptions and Exclusions Under the Employment Standards Act

Pharmacist  ·  Nov. 21, 2017

We are pharmacists, but we are also human beings. We can not, and should not, be expected to work 8 hours shifts (often longer) without a break, a meal, or even a chance to relieve ourselves. The pharmacy community can no longer regulate itself based on human rights since our provincial government has facilitated a monopoly on the pharmacy industry by big corporations that only care for profits. As such, we can no longer advocate for our basic rights and big chain pharmacies have taken advantage of the exceptions and exclusions in this Act to take advantage of pharmacists. This lack of mandatory breaks for pharmacist is not in the name of patient care, because it only makes sense that a pharmacist that is rested and fed would be more effective in providing safe and effective patient care. Rather, the fact that pharmacies choose not to give these rights to pharmacists is because they stand to potentially lose a small amount of money when they don't have to. My patients are shocked and unsettled when they discover that I do not get a break during my shift. Many independent pharmacies operate with shorter hours and regular rest periods, without any impediment to patient care. Therefore, the only ones affected by mandatory rest periods or shorter pharmacy hours are stakeholders that profit off of these pharmacies and pharmacists that are thrown under the bus to ensure these profits. What impression does it give to patients when they find out that their pharmacist does not have basic worker rights and hasn't been able to properly rest before filling and assessing the prescriptions for themselves? For their loved ones? And, what does it say to pharmacists today and those considering this profession as a career when their government, which has made this profession unsustainable through targeted cuts to independent owners, does not have respect enough for pharmacists to intervene to at-least allow them a break while working. These changes to the employment standards for pharmacists are not only necessary for patient safety and pharmacist well-being. It is, also, the Ontario College of Pharmacists and the province's responsibility for the decisions they have made for our profession. Make this happen.

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