The College’s Board of Directors held a special meeting on October 27, 2021 to discuss pharmacy technician administration of the influenza vaccine and extension of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act subsection 56(1) class exemption. Below is a summary of the Board’s decisions.
Board approves draft regulations to authorize pharmacy technicians to administer flu vaccine
Government approval required before these changes come into effect
The College’s Board of Directors has approved draft regulatory amendments that would authorize pharmacy technicians to administer influenza vaccinations to patients in Ontario. The draft amendments will now be submitted to the Ministry of Health, and will require government approval before coming into effect. Guidance to support pharmacists and pharmacy technicians is being developed by the College, and will be shared along with any other relevant information once the amendment is approved by government.
The government requested the development of the draft amendments as a way to provide additional capacity to support the province’s Roadmap to Reopen, recognizing the demands of the upcoming flu season on pharmacies already offering COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. In order to give pharmacy technicians the authority to administer the flu vaccine during the 2021-22 flu season, the amended regulation needs to be approved as soon as possible, and the Board has requested that the Minister of Health waive the required 60 day consultation.
Pharmacy technicians were authorized to administer the COVID-19 vaccine as part of a provincial government amendment earlier this year, and they have demonstrated that they have the knowledge, skills and judgment to administer the technical components of the flu vaccine. If approved by government, giving pharmacy technicians the authorization to administer flu vaccines is expected to provide patients with greater access to care and improve workflow by enabling pharmacy technicians to use their education and training more effectively.
Board requests extension to temporary provincial controlled substance regulations
To enable a recent Health Canada extension to its Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) subsection 56(1) class exemption, the College’s Board also approved proposing an extension to the amendment to O. Reg. 202/94 (General) made under the Pharmacy Act, 1991 to continue to temporarily allow pharmacists to renew and adapt prescriptions for controlled drugs and substances (CDS) until at least September 30, 2026. Government approval of the proposed extension to the amendment in provincial regulation is required before coming into effect. As the Health Canada exemption may be revoked prior to that date, depending on the status of the current pandemic, the College may have to amend the regulation again at a future date to remain aligned.
The Health Canada exemption was intended to limit unnecessary physical contact during the COVID-19 outbreak and to ensure continuity of care for patients with chronic conditions who require CDS if self-isolating and practicing social distancing or whose physician is unavailable due to the pandemic. Without a provincial extension, the current authority to temporarily allow pharmacists to renew and adapt prescriptions for CDS in Ontario is scheduled to be revoked on April 7, 2022.
Based on the Board decision, the College will make a formal request to the Minister of Health to waive the required 60 day consultation for this proposal as well and extend the provincial regulations in the Pharmacy Act. The College will share any updates, including notification of government approval, as they become available.