Pharmacy Safety Initiative

The safety and security of pharmacy teams and patients is a priority for the College, and we are aware of the impact pharmacy robberies can have on Ontarians.

Pharmacy robberies can put people’s physical and mental health at risk, and stolen prescription medications can contribute to the escalating opioid crisis. That’s why the College is collaborating with law enforcement stakeholders such as the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) and pharmacy stakeholders to identify and implement practical crime prevention strategies through a Pharmacy Safety Initiative.

Time-Delayed Safes

Recognizing the rise in reports of pharmacy robberies across Ontario, the College’s Board of Directors discussed the use of mandatory time-delayed safes in all community pharmacies at its December 12, 2022 meeting.

At its March 21, 2023 and March 25, 2024 meetings, the Board approved updated policies requiring the use of time-delayed safes and associated signage in all community pharmacies. The College is sharing information and FAQs (see below) to support registrants in implementing time-delayed safes in their pharmacies.

The province-wide use of time-delayed safes has proven to be an effective robbery deterrent in other jurisdictions such as British Columbia and Alberta and is a measure that is supported by the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, local police departments, the Ontario Pharmacists Association, and various corporate and independent pharmacy stakeholders.

College-approved Signage
Resources for Pharmacy Professionals
Resources for the Public/Patients

The College has posted answers to some commonly asked questions from patients about time-delayed safes.

Success of Time-Delayed Safes Mandate
  • As of April 2024, all 4,900+ pharmacies in Ontario have reported the use of time-delayed safes for securing narcotics. This marks a significant milestone in helping to curb the risk of pharmacy robberies throughout Ontario.
  • Time-delayed safes have had a significant impact on reducing pharmacy robberies, with Toronto seeing an 82% drop year-over-year (Q1 2023 vs Q1 2024).
  • The College continues to collaborate with local law enforcement agencies, the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police and community pharmacies throughout the province to promote ongoing crime prevention strategies.

Updated: April 11, 2024