Glossary of Terms
Abeyance – Abeyance is a legal term meaning to temporarily or indefinitely postpone something.
Accreditation — Accreditation is a term used to indicate authorization for operation. When the College accredits a pharmacy in Ontario, we are saying that we believe it meets the requirements, and is authorized to operate. All pharmacies in Ontario are required to be accredited by the College.
Accreditation number – The College assigns each pharmacy a unique number when it becomes accredited and authorized to operate in the province. The number, known as their accreditation number, stays with the pharmacy as long as it is owned by the same person, in the same location.
Acknowledgement — Usually paired with an undertaking, an acknowledgement is a signed document from a pharmacy or pharmacy professional formally recognizing a practice concern. The undertaking that goes along with the acknowledgement includes details about what the pharmacy or pharmacy professional will do to remedy or avoid the practice concern in the future.
Allegations – Allegations are unproven statements that a person or corporation has done something wrong.
Assessment (pharmacies) – Assessments (referred to in legislation as inspections) occur routinely in all pharmacies. Practice advisors visit a pharmacy to ensure it is adhering to the Standards of Operation, and the public is receiving safe and effective care. Learn more about the assessment process.
Assessment (pharmacy professionals) – Practice advisors routinely assess pharmacy professionals in their place of practice to ensure they are adhering to the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics, and are delivering safe, effective and ethical care. Learn more about the assessment process.
Can provide patient care – This group includes pharmacists in “Part A”, pharmacy technicians, students and interns who are authorized by the College to provide patient care, and have no conditions on their right to practice pharmacy.
Can provide patient care - with conditions – This group includes pharmacists in “Part A”, pharmacy technicians, students and interns who are authorized by the College to provide patient care, but who have condition(s) on either their right to practice pharmacy or are relevant to their suitability to practice pharmacy. For example, a pharmacy professional might have a condition that restricts him or her from dispensing narcotics. Conditions can be imposed by Committees of the College or other authorities such as bail conditions imposed by a court. Details about the condition(s) can be found under the Concerns tab of the pharmacy professional’s profile.
Cancelled for Non-payment – Each year, every pharmacist and pharmacy technician must pay a fee to the College as part of the annual renewal process. If a pharmacy professional does not pay the annual fee, they will be suspended for non-payment and are not entitled to practice. After 120 days, if they have still not paid the fee, they are cancelled for non-payment. The pharmacy professional is no longer registered with the College and is not entitled to practise pharmacy in Ontario.
Certificate of Accreditation — All pharmacies authorized to operate in the province receive a Certificate of Accreditation.
Certificate of Authorization — Pharmacy professionals who wish to establish a health profession corporation must first obtain a Certificate of Authorization from the College. Learn more about health profession corporations.
Certificate of Registration — All pharmacy professionals authorized to practice in the province receive a Certificate of Registration. The certificate is renewed annually and is often displayed in the pharmacy professional’s practice location or workplace.
Community pharmacy — Community pharmacies are located in your neighbourhood, and are open to provide retail pharmacy services and care to the public.
Concerns — the Concerns tab on Find a Pharmacy or Pharmacy Professional is home to information that the College is aware of that is relevant to a pharmacy or pharmacy professional’s suitability to operate or practice. Visit What’s Public (and what’s not) About Pharmacies and What’s Public (and what’s not) About Pharmacy Professionals to learn more about the type of information that is available on a pharmacy or pharmacy professional’s Concerns tab.
Conditions or TCLs (Terms, Conditions and Limitations) – If there are concerns about a pharmacy or pharmacy professional, the College may impose conditions on their right to operate or practise. Conditions are like stipulations, constraints or restrictions. They usually say the pharmacy or pharmacy professional can operate or practice normally, except for whatever is stated in the condition. For example, a pharmacist might have a condition stating that they can not dispense narcotics. A pharmacy might have a condition stating that it can not provide care for methadone patients. Details about the conditions can be found under the Concerns tab of the pharmacy or pharmacy professional’s profile.
Designated manager – Each pharmacy owner in Ontario must appoint one pharmacist who is employed at the pharmacy to be responsible for managing the pharmacy. This person must perform certain additional duties in the pharmacy, such as ensuring appropriate processes and procedures are in place to ensure patients receive safe, ethical and quality pharmacy care.
Discipline — A pharmacy professional may be referred to the College’s Discipline Committee if there are allegations of professional misconduct, proprietary misconduct, or incompetence against them. The Discipline Committee has the authority to make findings and revoke, suspend, or limit a pharmacy professional’s practice, impose a fine, and/or reprimand the pharmacy professional. Learn more about the Discipline Process.
Does not provide patient care – Pharmacists in “Part B” do not provide pharmacy services directly relating to patient care. These practitioners often work in administrative roles, corporate offices, academia or government. Learn more about Part A and Part B of the Register.
Drug preparation premises (DPP) – Facilities where pharmacists or pharmacy technicians engage in or supervise compounding of drug products (such as reconstituting, combining, and mixing two or more substances without a prescription for a specific patient). These compounded drugs are often sold to hospitals. The public does not have access to a DPP. Learn more about drug preparation premises.
Entitled to operate – Pharmacies in Ontario that have been authorized to operate by the College, and have no conditions on their right to operate.
Entitled to operate - with conditions – Pharmacies in Ontario that have been authorized to operate by the College, but have conditions on their right to operate. For example, a pharmacy might be authorized to operate normally, except they are not permitted to provide sterile compounding services. Conditions can be imposed by Committees of the College. Details about the condition(s) can be found under the Concerns tab of the pharmacy’s profile.
Fitness to Practise – Matters related to a pharmacy professional’s health that could be affecting their ability to deliver safe, effective and ethical care. See below for the definition of incapacity or learn more about Fitness to Practise.
Health profession corporation – A health profession corporation is a specific type of professional corporation that is restricted to regulated healthcare professionals. Pharmacy professionals who own their own company often set up a health profession corporation for business or tax purposes. The College maintains a list of pharmacy professionals who have health profession corporations. Learn more about health profession corporations.
Hospital pharmacy – Hospital pharmacies are located within public or private hospitals, and serve patients who are receiving care as in or out-patients in a hospital. They are not open to the public. Many hospitals also have community pharmacies located near their entrance to serve the public — these are considered community pharmacies.
Incapacity — A pharmacy professional can be found to be incapacitated by the College’s Fitness to Practise Committee. A finding of incapacity means that the practitioner is currently suffering from a physical or mental condition (e.g. substance use disorder, mental health disorder) and requires either a suspension from practice or terms, conditions or limitations on their practice in order to maintain public safety. The College posts information about findings of incapacity on the Concerns tab of a pharmacy professional’s profile. This information is removed when the practitioner demonstrates they are no longer incapacitated.
Incompetence — A pharmacy professional can be found to be incompetent by the College’s Discipline Committee. A finding of incompetence means that the practitioner displayed a lack of knowledge, skill or judgment that demonstrates they are unfit to practise, or that their practice should be restricted.
Inspections — See definition for “Assessments” above.
Interim Order – Interim orders are fairly rare, and can be made by College committees in circumstances that pose a significant and immediate public safety risk. For example, the Inquiries, Complaints & Reports Committee (ICRC) can make an interim order to suspend or limit a pharmacy professional’s practice while that person is awaiting a hearing with the Discipline Committee.
Intern – Interns are graduates from an accredited pharmacy program and are working toward becoming registered pharmacists. Interns must work under the supervision of a pharmacist at all times.
Member — In order to practice in Ontario, every pharmacy professional (pharmacist, pharmacy technician, intern and student) must be registered with the College. Pharmacy professionals are often referred to as members.
Non-accredited workplace – Many pharmacy professionals — especially those who do not provide patient care (in Part B) — work in locations that are not accredited by the College. An example of this would be a corporate head office or an association.
Not entitled to operate – Pharmacies that are not entitled to operate are not authorized to provide pharmacy services. Pharmacies in this group may have stopped operating on their own accord (i.e. closed, sold or relocated) or might have been forcibly closed (i.e. revoked). If a pharmacy is not entitled to operate, the reason why is clearly stated on its profile.
Not entitled to practise – Pharmacy professionals who are not entitled to practise are not allowed to provide pharmacy services or care to the public. People in this group may have left practice on their own accord (i.e. resigned), or might have been forced to leave (i.e. suspended or revoked). If someone is not entitled to practice, the reason why is clearly stated on their profile.
Oral caution – The College’s Inquiries, Complaints & Reports Committee (ICRC) may order a pharmacy professional to receive an oral caution. The Committee will order an oral caution when it has a significant concern about conduct or practice that may have a direct impact on patient care, safety or the public interest if it is not addressed. An oral caution is a face-to-face discussion between the practitioner and the ICRC to review the issue and to discuss the changes the practitioner will make to help avoid a similar incident from occurring in the future.
Part A – Pharmacists in Part A of the register provide patient care. They must provide a minimum of 600 hours of patient care over the previous three years. Learn more about Part A and Part B of the Register.
Part B – Pharmacists in Part B of the register do not provide patient care. Learn more about Part A and Part B of the Register.
Professional misconduct – Generally, professional misconduct is an act or omission that is in breach of the accepted ethical and professional standards of conduct for pharmacy professionals. The Pharmacy Act and the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) detail exactly what is considered professional misconduct.
Proprietary misconduct – Generally, proprietary misconduct is an act or omission that is in breach of the accepted ethical and professional standards for operating a pharmacy. The Drug and Pharmacies Regulation Act (DPRA) details exactly what is considered proprietary misconduct.
Qualifying education – In order to register as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician in Ontario, applicants must have graduated from an accredited pharmacy education program, or an international pharmacy education program recognized by the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada, or a College-approved bridging education program.
Registration number — The College assigns each pharmacy professional a unique number when he or she first registers with the College. The number, known as their registration number (or OCP number) stays with the pharmacy professional indefinitely.
Remedial training — If the College’s Inquiries, Complaints & Reports Committee (ICRC) believes that remediation is necessary, it will direct a practitioner to complete remedial training — also known as a specified continuing education and remediation program (SCERP). The ICRC directs remedial training if there is a serious care or conduct concern that requires a pharmacist or pharmacy technician to upgrade his or her skills.
Remote dispensing location – A remote dispensing location (RDL) is a site where drugs are dispensed or sold by retail to the public and that is operated by, but is not at the same location as, a pharmacy whose certificate of accreditation permits its operation. The remote dispensing location might be an automated pharmacy system or a place staffed by a pharmacy technician. Every remote dispensing location is supervised remotely by a pharmacist who is present at the accredited pharmacy.
Resigned – If a pharmacy professional notifies the College that they no longer wish to practice pharmacy in Ontario, they are noted as resigned. This could be because of retirement or other voluntary reasons.
Revoked – If a pharmacy professional is forced to leave the profession because of serious misconduct, competence or other issues, their certificate of registration is revoked.
SCERP — Specified continuing education and remediation program (SCERP). See the definition for “remedial training” above.
Student – Students are currently studying at an accredited pharmacy program or have graduated from an international pharmacy graduate program, and are working toward becoming interns, and then registered pharmacists. Students must work under the supervision of a pharmacist at all times.
Suspended for discipline – If the College’s Discipline Committee finds a practitioner guilty of professional or proprietary misconduct, it may choose to suspend the practitioner for a specified period of time. Suspensions are ordered for very serious misconduct or incompetence issues. If a practitioner is suspended, details about his or her suspension are available on the Registration History and Concerns tabs on their profile.
Suspended for non-payment – Each pharmacist and pharmacy technician must pay an annual fee to the College. A person who does not pay their annual fee will be suspended for non-payment and are not entitled to practice. After 120 days, if the practitioner still has not paid his or her fee, they are cancelled for non-payment. See the definition for cancelled for non-payment above.
Suspended (other) – Pharmacy professionals rarely have a status of suspended (other). It is used when a pharmacy professional is suspended for a reason other than for discipline or non-payment. For example, if a pharmacy professional voluntarily surrenders their certificate of registration.
TCL — Terms, conditions and limitations. See definition for “conditions” above.
Undertaking — Undertakings are binding and enforceable promises from a pharmacy or pharmacy professional to the College. A practitioner may enter into an undertaking to practise with conditions — or not practise at all — when there is an identified concern about practice. For example, a pharmacist might agree not to act as a Designated Manager or dispense narcotics. Similarly, a pharmacy may enter into an undertaking to operate with conditions — or not operate at all.
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