Feedback for Exemptions and Exclusions Under the Employment Standards Act

Pharmacist  ·  Dec. 1, 2017

The Pharmacy 30 day challenge: I issue a Thirty Day Challenge to the Board of Directors and all staff of the Ontario College of Pharmacists (OCP); Ontario Pharmacists Association (OPA); and every Board of Directors, Associate, Designated Manager, and each Regional manager of every franchise pharmacy in the Province of Ontario. In this challenge, you will wear the white coat of an OCP regulated Pharmacist and remain in compliance with the spirit and principles of the Exemptions and Exclusions of the employment Standards Act, and the regulations of the Ontario College of Pharmacists, regarding accepted practices within the dispensary.

What this means, for the next Thirty Days of work (not including days off), you will have to stay at your designated work area, no breaks for eating, no consuming food or drinking coffee in front of your computer, and not going down the hall to the bathroom. For your entire shift, you must be available to the general public (for this challenge, no closing your door), answer your own phone, and whenever someone asks you a question, to answer it to the satisfaction of the client, then document the interaction in written form on paper or your computer. You must communicate in compliance of the Personal Privacy Acts. All of your work must be completed before you leave at the end of the day. You may not leave your designated work place, for any reason, including attending a sick child, parent, spouse; attending a funeral; hospital emergency department; your children's school; going to the bathroom; or any other life event until you arrange a qualified replacement. Did I mention that you can not sit at your desk or in a chair, but must stand to perform all of your duties.........

For those who accept this challenge, and complete the requirements, I would appreciate knowing how many would voluntarily accept this exemption for the next thirty years. I would like to hear from those in the regulatory, association and those who benefit financially from this work environment, why they consider this practice to be acceptable in 2017.

In reading the various comments and complaints from the Pharmacists, there are many concerns relating to the inability to eat, to go to the bathroom, and long hours of work. When OCP formally prohibited the consumption of food and drinks in the designated dispensing area, the pharmacists complied with the regulation. What should have occurred at this time was that the dispensing areas should have been re-designed to include a small area with a bathroom and an area for the consumption of food. If you can put a bathroom and small kitchen in an RV, you can easily design an acceptable unit close to the "designated dispensary". This is the clear responsibility of the pharmacy owner/franchise chain to use some floor space to permit bio-breaks to their staff. More space is dedicated to the sale of bottled water and drinks, than to facilities to permit body functions of the staff. For many large box stores, the pharmacist has to leave the dispensing area to go to the built in McDonalds to go to the bathroom.

Many provinces/territories have guidelines on "Lock and Leave" for pharmacies. If the Pharmacist has to attend a funeral, the main pharmacy can be open, and the dispensing/counselling area can be kept closed. Again, this requires spending some money. Many of the potential solutions are financial, however, all the risks are carried by the pharmacist.

In summary, I see no reason to have pharmacists excluded from the Employment Standards Act.

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