Feedback for Exemptions and Exclusions Under the Employment Standards Act

Pharmacist  ·  Nov. 17, 2017

Hours of work and eating periods: Depending on the location and nature (chain, independent, etc) of the pharmacy hours of work could be different for each pharmacist. Pharmacies that are open for 12 hours, it does not make sense to have pharmacist coming in 6 hours per day. Also, it does not make sense to have one pharmacist for 8 hours and other for 4 hours. However, I would suggest having a break. If pharmacist is working for 8 hours then they should have a break for 1 hour (30 minutes lunch + two 15 minutes break). If pharmacist working 12 hours then they should get another 30 minutes break.

Overtime Pay: Since pharmacists are employees they should be allowed for overtime pay. I do not think being part of a noble profession they should be penalized from getting fair wage.

Minimum wage: Pharmacists’ wages have gone down drastically recently. In 2002, average pharmacist rate was $45-50 per hour in GTA. In 2017, pharmacist rate starts from $30/hour in GTA. We assume that overtime wage goes up due to inflation. In our profession, wage has gone down!

I have read reports where dispensing fees of pharmacies are being compared. I often read that if Costco could fill a prescription at $3.89 per prescription and still make a profit then other pharmacies should be able to dispense medications at a lower prescription fee. My argument is if Costco could pay highest rate pharmacist could earn (only being a staff pharmacist) in our profession then I think other companies could afford that as well. In my current company they have pharmacists working for 10-15 years. They have better rate than me; however, workload expectation is the same. Why? Note: They are also afraid that their job is in danger, as new graduates will replace them at a lower rate.

In my case I started working at Costco. Then I joined Long Term Care Pharmacy at a lower rate. I accepted the position because I like the hours of work and the job involved more clinical role. With the government announcement of lowering dispensing fee in Long Term Care I lost my job. When I applied for a new job, the first question in the interview was we can only pay X amount (By the way this is not a small company). Are you interested?

Canadian graduates spent average 8 years in university to get pharmacy degree (4 years for BSc and 4 years for pharmacy). They need to pay off the loan and on top they have to face higher prices for house, food and other daily necessities. With pharmacist wage $30/hour is it worth going into pharmacy?

In conclusion, I think that since pharmacists having more responsibility for their patients they deserve to have a good pay. I think pharmacist wage should start from $60/hour. This will not only help them personally but it will also help them professionally by enhancing their education (PharmD, CGP, CDE, etc).

Vacation with Pay: Pharmacists are key part of our health care system. Getting a good break is important part of pharmacist well being. They deserve to have 3-4 weeks of vacation per year.

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