On September 18, 2018, College Council approved the 2019 Operational and Capital budget that delivers on the priorities outlined in the newly created Strategic Plan approved by Council earlier this year and to ensure that the College’s regulatory responsibilities and related operations are fully funded. The proposed budget reflects an increase in fee-based revenue across all categories, which is required to support the College’s ability to meet its fiduciary duties as a patients-first regulator.
The fee increase is required during a time of rapid change, evolving public expectations and increased regulatory activities. Pressures related to the steady growth in the volume and complexity of complaints, investigations and disciplinary proceedings and our ongoing work to promote quality and safe pharmacy practice through the development and implementation of regulatory programs and strategies are two of the most significant factors that have necessitated an increase in registrant and pharmacy fees.
There are several other drivers behind the need to increase fees, from the implementation of initiatives aimed at advancing the College’s new strategic priorities, to the decline in revenue growth associated with a drop in the number of new pharmacists and pharmacy technicians registering with the College over the past couple of years. You can learn all about the rationale behind the proposed fee increase in the materials available on our consultation page.
In establishing the fees, Council acknowledged that registrant fees had not been increased in nine years due in part to the growth in registrants. Council also noted that, had registrant fees increased annually by cost of living (2.5%), they would have surpassed the amount proposed for 2019. It is important to note that fees for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in Ontario will continue to be the lowest among all pharmacy regulators in Canada. Similarly, when compared with other regulated health professions in Ontario, fees for pharmacy professionals are and will remain at the lower end of the fee scale.
The decision to increase fees was made after much thought and analysis. The College has a duty to regulate pharmacy practice in the public interest and to make sure that its programs and operations are fully funded in order to meet its responsibilities. It also has an obligation to use its resources wisely and to being a good fiscal steward in how it plans and delivers on its mandate year over year. This is a commitment that the College and its governing Council take very seriously, just as it does its public protection mandate.
The public and pharmacy professionals expect the College to regulate pharmacy practice to protect the health, interests and wellbeing of the public. This is our number-one priority. As Canada’s largest pharmacy regulator, we are uniquely positioned to promote quality and safe care within a rapidly evolving healthcare environment, to demonstrate regulatory leadership and innovation, and to strengthen public trust and confidence in our role as the regulator and, by extension, the profession of pharmacy.
If you’d like to provide feedback related to the fee increase or any other bylaw amendment now under review, please visit our online consultation page to learn more and to post your feedback. Responses to the consultation will be summarized and reported to Council for consideration at its December 2018 meeting.