Feedback for Exemptions and Exclusions Under the Employment Standards Act

Pharmacist  ·  Dec. 3, 2017

Maintaining Exemptions - Best access to pharmacy care. People can come in at any time that the pharmacy is open. It is very convenient and easy for patients.

-May decrease the quality and safety of pharmacy care to patients, especially if the pharmacist is doing many tasks at the same time with insufficient support. With the advent of increasing scope of practice (which has led to pharmacists checking prescriptions, doing injections, doing MedChecks), and decreased funding to pharmacies from the government (which has led to less assistant support for pharmacists and less qualified assistants helping the pharmacist because they are less expensive). Most pharmacists in Ontario are practicing to their maximum productivity. However, companies have quotas, which push pharmacists even more and this is where quality and safety can be adversely affected.

Removing Exemptions -Less access to pharmacy care especially for customers with a full time job who only have the lunch hour or dinner hour to go to a pharmacy. If they also have children to take care of, then there is less time for these families to visit the pharmacy. However, since retail stores are open 7 days a week, they could come on the weekend. Retired customers or those who are not employed full-time can come at times outside of lunch hour and dinner time.

-May increase the quality and safety of pharmacy care to patients. Pharmacists who can re-fuel (by eating and using the bathroom) perform at a more optimal level and can better deal with complicated drug interactions and recommendations to the doctor, reviewing the details of a vaccine that they need to administer (and have not done before – deciding if it is intramuscular or subcutaneous), serve the 6 people in the waiting room who all want flu shots, doing a detailed MedCheck with an elderly patient who is confused about their medication, counselling a hospital discharge patient who has numerous medications and ensuring they understand the medications so they do not have to be readmitted to hospital, setting up a confused senior on the blister packs so that they can be kept safely at home as long as possible.

Benefits for Staff Pharmacists -Ensure a minimum wage to reflect the education and training that pharmacists have. With companies under paying pharmacists, students will take much longer to pay off student loans, established pharmacists will have to sell their homes and live more modestly. Conversely, teachers have salary protection through a union that negotiates their salary and benefits with the government. Their rates are not being cut like pharmacist rates are. A minimum wage for staff pharmacists is a good idea, however this rate should be reasonable. A minimum of $50.00 per hour would be a start. Pharmacists have not had a cost of living wage increase for the past several years. With inflation, our earning power decreases over time. Would we get cost of living increases annually? -Ensuring hours of work are no more than 44 hours per week. Overtime should be paid after that. Ensuring that each pharmacist gets 2 consecutive days off in a row to ensure adequate rest. If a pharmacist works 8 hours and has a 30 minute unpaid lunch, then the hours of work per week could decrease to 37.5 hours. If a pharmacist works 12 hours, they should have a 30 minute unpaid lunch and a 15 minute paid break. -Ensuring 4% vacation pay is paid and mandating that pharmacists actually take time off to rest and refresh (in lieu of just getting paid). Society does not need exhausted pharmacists dispensing. It is not safe. -Ensuring pharmacists are paid for stat holidays. -All Ontario pharmacists should not sign off on any exemption. We do not need two levels of pharmacists. This would lead to companies bypassing the laws and only hiring pharmacist who are willing to sign away their rights. -Personal Emergency Leave – pharmacist should be able to leave work to attend important life events. ie. death of a family member, medical emergency etc. without being charged with professional misconduct. Currently the market is flooded with pharmacists. It would be possible, but perhaps expensive to hire a relief pharmacist.

I would be in favor of removing the exemptions because the quality and safety of pharmacy care would improve for patients. My ambivalence lies with the ambiguity of what the government will choose to do with pharmacists minimum wage. Will pharmacists be treated fairly?

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