Pharmacy professionals in Ontario play an important role in providing the best possible care to patients and enhancing the healthcare system as a whole. The vast majority of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians meet the high standards of professional and ethical conduct that are laid out in provincial and federal legislation, the standards of practice and the Code of Ethics that govern the profession.
As the provincial pharmacy regulator, the Ontario College of Pharmacists expects pharmacy professionals to conduct themselves accordingly. Any deliberate act by a pharmacy professional to falsify a record or submit a false charge for services or products is a breach of public trust and considered an act of professional misconduct. Such behaviour falls far short of what the College and the public expects from pharmacy professionals. Those found to have committed an act of professional misconduct are held accountable for their actions.
Entrusted with a mandate to serve and protect the public interest, the College takes its fiduciary responsibility very seriously. The College thoroughly and impartially investigates allegations of professional misconduct and will act accordingly to protect the public.
In performing its public-protection mandate, the College relies on information received from various parties in order to initiate and support an investigation. These include, but are not limited to, law enforcement agencies, employers, other health professionals or regulatory colleges, Health Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, insurance payers, media stories and the public through mechanisms such as our complaints process.
Criminal acts such as fraud fall under the jurisdiction of law enforcement. While the College has no oversight authority to investigate criminal matters, it will consider information received by law enforcement agencies and known facts regarding criminal charges and convictions in the course of any investigation.
Registrants who are found guilty of professional misconduct are subject to serious sanctions by the College, up to and including suspension or revocation of their certificate of registration. They can also be ordered to pay a fine, costs to the College and/or a financial penalty to the provincial government.
Findings of professional misconduct and related penalties are determined by an independent panel of the Discipline Committee, which includes members of the public appointed by government. Discipline Committee decisions are based on the evidence presented at a public discipline hearing, the individual circumstances of each case and the penalty options available to it in legislation. All of these options are aimed at protecting and serving the public interest. The College then includes notations regarding findings of professional misconduct against pharmacy professionals on its Public Register, which can be found on its website. These notations remain on the registrant’s Public Register profile permanently.
This past year, the College made a commitment to further strengthen our oversight activities in several ways including building additional capacity within our investigations and prosecutorial teams including hiring additional investigators and has begun an organizational data strategy designed to better use the information we collect to inform our regulatory programs and decision making.
The College is committed to promoting quality, safe and ethical pharmacy care and to holding registrants accountable for any conduct that fails to meet established standards or that undermines the public’s trust in the profession. It has and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and other stakeholders to ensure that it is doing everything possible within its mandate to protect the public and responsibly exercise its mandate granted to it by the people of Ontario.
Anyone who has a concern about the conduct or safety of a pharmacy professional can notify the College at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about the complaints process including how to file a complaint or report can be found here.
updated Feb 28, 2019