Personal Professional Liability Insurance

Updated: December 2011

College Contact: Member Applications & Renewals


In accordance with Article II, section 2.2 of College By-Law, all members engaged in the practice of pharmacy, including Students, Interns, Pharmacists (in Part A) and Pharmacy Technicians, are required to maintain personal professional liability insurance coverage. Following you will find the by-law itself along with questions and answers that further clarify the intent of the by-law and the language contained therein.

Note: When applying for a certificate of registration, all applicants will be required to complete a declaration confirming that they have obtained and will maintain personal professional liability insurance as specified in the By-law while registered with the College.


College By-Law, Article II, Membership in the College

Pharmacy Technicians, Interns and Pharmacists who are listed in Part A of the Register, (and Registered Pharmacy Students, effective January 1, 2012), must maintain personal professional liability insurance as follows:

2.2.1 Limit of Liability. The policy of insurance must contain limits of a minimum of $2,000,000 per claim or per occurrence and $4,000,000 in the annual aggregate.

2.2.2 Definition of Insured Services. The definition of Insured Services under the policy must include all professional services in the practice of pharmacy as regulated by the College.

2.2.3 Type of Insurance. Both “claims made” and “occurrence” form policies will be acceptable.

2.2.4 Retroactive Date. The policy must not contain a retroactive date and must provide for full prior acts protection.

2.2.5 Extended Reporting Period (ERP). If the policy is a “claims made” policy, it must contain an extended reporting period provision for a minimum of three years.

2.2.6 Personal Professional Liability Insurance Coverage. The policy must be issued in the name of the individual Member and provide that Member with mobility and coverage wherever in Ontario that Member practises.

2.2.7 Legal Defence Payments. Legal defence payments for regulatory proceedings or other legal proceedings potentially afforded by a personal professional liability policy must not erode the minimum limits of liability under the policy ($2,000,000 per claim or occurrence and $4,000,000 annual aggregate).

2.3 Evidence of Insurance. A Member shall, upon the request of the Registrar, provide proof of professional liability insurance in the required amounts and form, and a copy of the Member’s professional liability insurance policy.


Frequently Asked Questions


Who must hold professional liability insurance coverage?

All classes of members, except Part B pharmacists, must hold personal professional liability insurance coverage in accordance with the criteria set forth in the OCP By-law, Article II, Section 2.2 (noted above). Personal professional liability insurance coverage means that the policy is issued in the name of the individual student/intern/pharmacist/technician, and that it is transportable and applies wherever you practice pharmacy in Ontario during the term of the insurance policy.


My pharmacy already insures me for professional liability. Why do I also need personal coverage?

The legislation and the OCP by-law stipulates personal professional liability insurance policy issued in the name of the member so that the coverage is mobile and is with you wherever you practice pharmacy in the province of Ontario. Furthermore, personal liability insurance covers you for advice that you may give outside of a practice environment such as at a cocktail party or to a neighbour. A corporate policy including coverage for employees (e.g. pharmacists in corporate stores or hospital pharmacies) would typically have a shared limit for liability for all corporate and employee matters. As a member, you would not know how much of that limit would be available for your claims and as such this corporate policy would not achieve the minimum requirements as set forth in the OCP by-law mandating professional liability coverage e.g. $2M per claim and $4M in annual aggregate in the name of the member. Furthermore, a corporate insurance program may have a significant self insured retention or deductible and as such the College would not be able to fully assess the corporation’s financial obligation to respond to an allegation of an error or omission. And finally, the College would not have the ability at any given point in time to be fully satisfied that the corporate policy takes into account the full scope of the members’ individual practice as it may restrict coverage to only those acts while providing services for said corporation.


Does this mean that my company should cancel my coverage?

While it is prudent business practice for your company to carry professional liability coverage it is up to your company’s management to decide how they will manage their policy in light of the need for individual members to maintain personal professional liability insurance coverage.


Can my company buy my professional liability insurance? If so, how do we go about doing this?

The corporate entity that employs you may pay for or reimburse you for your personal professional liability insurance premium provided the insurance is in your name and stays with you even if you leave the corporation.


What is the difference between claims-made insurance and occurrence-based insurance?

Occurrence-based insurance provides protection if the insurance policy is in force at the time of the incident. This means that if an incident occurs that results in a claim, you will be protected by the policy, providing that the policy was in place at the time of the incident. However, if an incident occurs before the policy was in force, and the claim was made during the policy period, the policy would not provide protection for you. You can purchase “prior-events coverage” to accompany an occurrence-based policy to cover incidents that occurred before the insurance policy went into effect. The prior-events coverage is particularly important when you change from a claims-made to an occurrence-based policy. The above paragraphs offer basic definitions and explanations. Ask your broker about the differences. It is also important to know how changes in the type of policy you hold will affect the scope of your coverage. Again, your broker is the best person to explain the effect of changes from one type of policy to another.


Does OCP recommend one type of insurance over another?

No. Each type of insurance has its own merits


Does OCP endorse any particular type of insurance or insurance provider?

No. The extent of OCP’s direction to members about professional liability insurance requirements is limited to what is contained in the by-law. The college does not endorse one insurance carrier or provider over another.


What else should I consider when I am choosing personal professional liability insurance to fulfill my registration requirements?

It is important for you to understand the scope and limitations of any insurance policy you purchase. First, make sure that the policy is personal in scope, meaning that it is issued in your name and that it is transportable and in effect, regardless of where you practice pharmacy in Ontario during the term of the policy. Second, make sure that the policy meets the criteria set forth in the OCP by-law.


What is the term of the insurance that I should purchase?

You need to ensure that you have insurance coverage for the entire period that you practice.


How will OCP administer compliance with this registration requirement?

During initial application and annual fee renewal thereafter, members will be asked to make a declaration attesting that they maintain personal professional liability insurance coverage as prescribed in Article 2 of College By-Law and will continue to maintain this insurance throughout the registration year. Upon the request of the Registrar, a member may also be asked to provide proof of professional liability insurance in the required amounts and form, and a copy of the Member’s professional liability insurance policy.


As a student, how do I report my ongoing insurance coverage given that I do not renew my license every year?

At the time that you submit an application for studentship, you will be required to answer a declaration attesting that you maintain personal professional liability insurance coverage as prescribed in Article 2 of College By-Law and will continue to maintain this insurance throughout your registration. You are required to answer this declaration only once during your registration as a Student.


Will the OCP mandated personal professional liability product afford coverage for working with a medical directive with delegated responsibilities from a physician?

The OCP appreciates and respects the many evolving pharmacy practices within the province and the significance of an inter-disciplinary approach. In order for the product you purchase to meet the college requirement, the insured services of the mandated professional liability product will need to incorporate professional services in the practice of pharmacy as regulated by OCP. Therefore, as long as you are acting within the scope of the pharmacy profession as deemed by the OCP you will have coverage under your policy. Please consult with your insurance broker to ensure the definition of insured services complies with the OCP by-law.


In addition to the practice of pharmacy, I provide alternative care counselling (e.g. naturopathy, osteopathy, etc.), will this policy cover me for professional services apart from pharmacy?

The goal of the OCP is to mandate a personal professional liability insurance policy for the practice of pharmacy. You will need to review with your broker and insurer if the policy can be broadened to incorporate other professional services. However, if additional services are to be covered by this same policy by a coverage extension, the minimum limit available for the practice of pharmacy cannot be eroded by such a policy extension.


What if I can’t get coverage?

In the unlikely event a member does not qualify for insurance with one of the personal providers in Ontario, alternative markets/carriers can be approached. In the unlikely event that a member can’t get coverage, they would need to move to Part B (for pharmacists) or discontinue practicing in a patient care setting until such time that they secure coverage that complies with the by-law.


Am I covered for my cognitive fee for service work (e.g. diabetic patient counselling)?

The Insured Services to be covered within the mandated personal professional liability insurance is to include the scope of practice as deemed and regulated by the OCP. The cognitive fee for service work by members is within this scope and therefore should be covered. Please consult with your broker to ensure compliance with the OCP by-law requirements.


Please direct any questions to Member Applications & Renewals at memberapplications@ocpinfo.com; 416-962-4861, ext 3400 or 1-800-220-1921, ext. 3400.