Feedback for Exemptions and Exclusions Under the Employment Standards Act

Pharmacist  ·  Dec. 11, 2017

I feel that the Employment Standards Act should apply to Pharmacists. Decades ago, when most community Pharmacists, owned their own Pharmacies, having an exemption made sense. Pharmacies were open 9 hours per day, a few hours on Saturday and closed on Sundays. The Owner Pharmacist would work all of the shifts. In today’s world, most community Pharmacists are employees and corporations (Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall, Walmart) have taken over. The “owners” are no longer Pharmacists, and pharmacies are open much longer and 7 days per week. Also currently, there is an excess supply of Pharmacists. This has led to employers taking advantage of Pharmacists as employees (no overtime paid for excess hours, not being paid out training for CPR certifications which are needed for flu shots administered in the store, etc.). Access. The access issue is blown way out of proportion. Pharmacists are and will always be the most accessible health care professionals. If pharmacies have to close for an hour lunch break, this will not compromise patient care considering the wait times at a lot of the busy pharmacies (Shoppers, Walmart, Costco) are already 30-45 mins and in some cases, over an hour. This is the current standard. Also, community pharmacies are not hospitals. People coming to get Rxs filled are not coming in for life threatening stat medications (I am not aware of any medications that a MD would prescribe that need to be started ASAP, where waiting for half an hour to an hour would be critical and detrimental for the patient). For over 95% pharmacies, there are multiple pharmacies within a short driving distance and therefore any access claims are not valid. 99% of Pharmacists should not be denied the ESA for the sake of remote small town pharmacies (maybe an exemption could be made for remote pharmacies that do not have any other pharmacies within a radius of ___km). Remote dispensing pharmacies are currently being underutilized and this could be a potential solution in remote areas/hospitals/urgent care centers. In bigger towns, pharmacies could use the lock and leave systems to close down pharmacies for an hour.

If physicians in medical clinics are allowed to take a lunch break, we should also be allowed. The much needed break would allow Pharmacists to sit down and eat. This would enhance patient care as Pharmacists would be more focused after a break and therefore should minimize the risk of any errors being made. Also, we advocate for patient health but our own health gets neglected. We should not be expected to work 8-14 hours a day continuously without any breaks or time to eat. This is a very dangerous situation that needs to be stopped. In summary, patient access would not be greatly affected but the quality of patient care would be improved by allowing the ESA to apply to Pharmacists.

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