Feedback deadline was: December 20, 2020
At its November 19 meeting, the Board unanimously approved proposed regulatory amendments that enable the creation of an emergency registration certificate class of pharmacy professionals. These regulations require government approval and would be implemented once the government determines, in collaboration with the College, that there is a shortage of qualified pharmacy professionals that puts at risk the ability of Ontarians to access timely and safe pharmacy services during an emergency situation—including the current pandemic.
As required under law, the College is proceeding with an open consultation to gather feedback on the proposed regulatory amendments.
The Minister of Health has granted an abridgement of the consultation period from 60 days to 10 days, following a formal request from the College to waive or abridge the consultation period due to an increasing strain on the pharmacy workforce and growing urgency to enable regulatory changes that would allow for additional pharmacy professional resources to meet patient care needs. The consultation will therefore close on December 20, 2020 at midnight.
Please review the resources listed at the bottom of this page and submit your feedback through the “Leave A Comment” form. Comments will be shared publicly in a transparent manner, as per the College’s posting guidelines.
Throughout the pandemic, the College has maintained its commitment to its public protection mandate and focused its efforts on supporting the profession and collaborating with stakeholders throughout the health system to identify and implement solutions aimed at overcoming unique challenges posed by the pandemic in the delivery of safe, quality pharmacy services.
Earlier in the year, the College recognized the potential need for additional pharmacy personnel to be authorized to provide patient care as the health system ramped up its capacity to manage the challenges associated with the first wave of the pandemic. As an immediate response, the College worked quickly, within its existing regulatory authority, to enable qualified pharmacy professionals with a pathway to return to practice (recently resigned registrants and Part B pharmacists), and encouraged individuals holding other registration certificates (e.g. pharmacy students and interns) to work to the fullest extent of their current scope.
However, the growing and sustained pressure of the pandemic on the pharmacy sector and profession as a whole reinforced the need for an immediate and long-term solution that would enable a nimble and responsive pharmacy workforce capable of managing a surge in demand in the event of a significant environmental, social or health emergency that may otherwise potentially put the accessibility of pharmacy services at risk.
The Board subsequently considered and approved proposed regulatory amendments to enable the creation of an emergency registration certificate class of pharmacy professionals, as indicated above.
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When providing your feedback, please consider how emergency assignment registration certificates for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians advance the College’s public protection mandate.
The intent of this consultation page is to enable and encourage open and constructive feedback on matters that are directly relevant to the consultation topic. It may take up to three business days for your response to appear on the feedback page as the College must manually review each response against our posting guidelines.
Please be assured that all responses submitted to the consultation are collected and reviewed by the College as part of our analysis. Comments that are not directly related to the consultation topic or that are not in accordance with our posting guidelines will not be posted.
This response was submitted by office of the Fairness Commissioner. Read the full submission here.
Oversupply is what exists since ~2008 for pharmacists in ON. Supply-demand determines wages; a quick Indeed search shows $30-40/hr range in the GTA, does that look shortage? Some members may feel “shortage” because stores are not hiring more staff due to cost-savings, not because of lack of available pharmacists–try posting a job and see hundreds of responses! Since 2009, surplus of pharmacists exist, largely driven by IPGs who outnumber total of all Canadian graduates. Any potential increase in demand (if occurs) can be more than accommodated by current surplus. Secondly SAFETY of patients is an issue. Licensing exams ensures the integrity of profession. Bypassing that *safety anchor* under the false fear of “shortage” is something OCP shouldn’t do, given its mandate. You cannot compare this to nurses, who are in actual shortage (yes I’ve looked at daily stats in hospital, where multiple units are short on RNs every day)
This response was submitted by the Ontario Pharmacists Association. Read the full submission here.
This response was submitted by the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists. Read the full submission here.
I have been a practicing pharmacist in this province for 25+ years. My pharmacy is in a rural area and in all my years, I have never experienced the extra burden and stress brought about by COVID-19. It has been relentless since March. Compounding this, my full-time pharmacist took a pharmacy manager role in an urban community at the end of September. There was not a lot of pharmacists looking to move to my community and to tell you the truth I did not want a pharmacist that was like me. Therefore, I decided to hire a new graduate. The unfortunate side effect of this decision is I have been working all the hours since and my shifts are always much longer than the operating hours of the store. I am in a large network of independent pharmacy owners, all of which are a big part of their communities, and the general sentiment is the prolonged “March break” has been extremely exhausting and we are all tired. My intern started working with me one day a week prior to PEBCs and has been working full time ever since. I am impressed with her competence, knowledge, and her approach in reviewing medication regimens. For the past month, I have been learning a lot from her and I have been passing on my practical knowledge to her. On Friday, she received official confirmation that she had passed the MCQ portion of PEBCs. There is no question, that she knows more about disease states and clinical guidelines than I do. She is a better pharmacist today than she was four weeks ago because practice and experience turn pharmacists into better pharmacists. Like other independent owners, our pharmacies are our livelihood. One of the biggest parts of my job is to provide an environment where my staff can deliver the best possible care to my community. From my experience, interns are more than ready for emergency licensure. Therefore, I strongly support this initiative.
I am fully supportive of these changes. One needs to note that 1) if this pandemic had not hit, most of these applicants would have become licensed pharmacists, and would have joined the work force, no matter we have a shortage of pharmacists in Ontario or not (this is a separate issue). Now due to COVID19, this did not happen. As a responsible society we need to help these young professionals to get their career back on track. 2) The only issue, one might argue, is the public health and safety. However, one needs to pay attention that that these graduates have already gone through a comprehensive 4-year program in a Canadian university with considerable practical experience gained through summers after year 1 and 2, and the entire 4th year. 3) Moreover, as additional safety measures, guidelines could be put in place to ensure a registered pharmacist is involved in special circumstances.
I am fully supportive of the proposed creation of an emergency registration certificate class of pharmacy professionals. I wholeheartedly believe that this initiative, if fruitful, will relieve the current lack of practising pharmacists. On numerous instances I’ve heard that some areas in Ontario are experiencing a significant shortage of pharmacists and the proposed measure will better position the province to deal with present and future challenges of the healthcare system.
I fully support emergency assignment as these graduates have worked hard. Let them begin their career and contribute to the healthcare system during an unprecedented year.
I think by doing this, the ocp will be making a mockery of this profession. By not forcing pharmacists to go through the proper certification to be able to practice, you are definitely risking the health of the public by allowing pharmacists to work who may not be ready to work in the healthcare field. This is a disgrace. I thought the ocp’s main goal is to protect the public from the pharmacist but I guess during Covid times, that’s not the case. There’s definitely NOT a shortage as I know many pharmacists still looking for jobs. We all know that this is just a money grab by the ocp to force more pharmacists to pay ocp premiums.
I am a retail pharmacist and I am against this proposal. There is definitely no shortage of pharmacists working on the front lines of this pandemic. If anything, there is over supply of pharmacists. Ever since I have been accepted into pharmacy school and graduated, I have seen the pharmacy profession decline year after year. I have witnessed first hand the poor quality of prescriptions checks and counsels and most if not all the time it has been due to IPGs. The influx of IPGs not only have over saturated the pharmacy market but they have hindered patient care and declined pharmacy wages. We are asked to do more now with less staffing and a lower wage. If you were to take 1 min and google pharmacy jobs in any region you can see that the wage has been drastically decreased and all the positions are part time where they need the occasional coverage for a weekend or a holiday that the regular staff want off. If you talk to any manager you can see there are many applicants for any single job. It does not make sense to further over saturate the market, and allow IPGs to even partake in patient care without having passed the board exams especially since all international grads come with a different quality of education. I am furious that once again OCP is not backing its members and comprising patient safety especially in these times where we are continuously risking our lives to ensure that patients have adequate access to their medications. I suggest next time that proposals are “thought off” I would hope that they could at least have a proper board comprised of members that actually work in the region that these suggestions are going to affect. I feel like my input will not even be taken into consideration, knowing the track record of OCP, so sometimes I wonder why do I even bother 🤷♀️
I support issuing an emergency license. As COVID-19 vaccination is the top priority for Canada. With tens of millions to be vaccinated, we need to ensure we have sufficient medical professionals to support such a large scale operation. So that we can return to normal life as soon as possible.
I do not think there is a shortage of pharmacist at all. There is infact abundance of pharmacist. If you are basing this on shortage around the flu season (that is because most pharmacies hired additional staff to do flu shot) but that is not the case right now, and it’s only a seasonal temporary effect. However, anything done to increase pharmacist supply will not be temporary or seasonal. It’s NOT safe to skip exams and osce. In addition, having more pharmacist will cause an oversupply, bring forth future changes to this fix false sense of “shortage” and as a result further reduce wages for the pharmacists and cause brain drain… leaving the profession not the same anymore. I am afraid we need assistance of OCP to protect the profession from going through such a turmoil.
I find it amazing how many “public” comments are along the same line, and how much information some of them appear to have about the precision of the training courses for pharmacy degrees to be obtained. That itself is suspect. The need to have reduced the consultation period to only 10 days is not real. This pandemic, as some have said on this consultation, has been around for awhile now and the needs were evident long before this current consultation. A full 60 days should have been given to allow people at a very busy time of the year to fully digest and respond to this. That is also suspicious. Finally, let it be said that those who think the COVID-19 vaccines are going to be a prevalent in pharmacies as the influenza vaccines are not in touch with the requirements of the vaccine for storage, etc. You need specialized refrigeration, and if anyone sat through the two webinars this past week (NCCID, AMMI), you’d realize that these vaccines are not going to be commonly available in pharmacies like the influenza vaccines. The scope of practice being contemplated for new graduates, avoiding full completion of their requirements (as every pharmacist has had to do in their career), can at best only be seen as a temporary allowance; that is what I read the “emergency” legislation to entail. But it should not be a permanent “fast track” to licensure because the requirements are the requirements; those who claim they have “more knowledge” than those that have practised for decades, could be equally criticized by not having “real life experiences” to permit full licensure permanently without fulfilling all statutory requirements. (Look at what a Part B pharmacist would be required to do just to “help out.” A few have indicated they feel like they’re being used as “expendable” in lieu of Part A pharmacists, just to help out).
As integral healthcare professionals, it is imperative that eligible Pharmacy Interns receive emergency registration. I have seen many pharmacies and hospitals outside the GTA that are looking for Pharmacists and are having a difficult time finding new graduates due to the current situation. The majority of us have already passed the MCQ portion which has the lower passing rate (91%). For the OSCE portion, graduates of Ontario PharmD programs have a pass rate of ~96%. Furthermore, U of T PharmD graduates have to complete a minimum of 33 weeks of direct patient care rotations during their schooling, and have already practiced to the full pharmacist scope for 7 months as Interns during a once in a lifetime pandemic. Thus, this is the most experienced and educated cohort of Pharmacy graduates in recent history, perhaps ever; and one more than capable of practicing independently, while awaiting to complete this final requirement. Lastly, these regulatory changes are an important step not only in addressing the current issue at hand, but also future issues. If unfortunately, another pandemic or health crisis should prevent Ontario Pharmacy Graduates from taking the licensing exam, the College will be well-prepared to adapt much more effectively and in a more timely manner.
Granting emergency registration is a much needed step forward for our profession. We have a cohort of recently graduated pharmacy students that are eager and more than capable of fulfilling the role of “pharmacist”, but carry the label of “pharmacy intern” unnecessarily. I think the argument by some that there is already an over-supply of pharmacists is short-sighted and not representative of the needs of the entire province. Delaying the ability of those qualified and ready to practice to their full scope not only fails to address this issue, but ultimately compromises patient care.
As pharmacists, we had to go through rigorous training and assessment to practice. Providing an emergency registration certificate is very unfair and unjust to the current practising pharmacists who had to go through so much to become licensed. It would undermine the profession and reduce its value and respect. Not only that, but this would compromise patient care and safety. Also, there is absolutely no shortage of pharmacists! If anything, it’s extremely hard to find a pharmacist job.
I am concerned that the college has been acting in a way that it’s erroneous and contrary to the public’s interests. Given the current health challenges the public is facing, and pharmacists’ integral role in keeping the health system moving, including with regards to influenza vaccination and covid testing, and seniors’ reliance on pharmacists, the college should have made sure to have as many graduates licensed and entering the workforce as possible, as fast as possible. I hope this is rectified at once, and pharmacy graduates, many of whom are in limbo, often under- or unemployed are rapidly licensed and integrated into the workforce.
Emergency licensure is the right way forward . Other Professional Regulatory bodies in Ontario have found ways to grant licenses to new licensees in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic. It does not make sense for new Pharmacists to be penalized for circumstances outside of their control. Furthermore, it is all the more necessary to grant emergency licenses at this time of crisis when many pharmacies are reporting that they are both short staffed and busier due to the impact of the Pandemic.
I believe that 2021 will require a great deal from pharmacists. Between COVID-19 testing, imminenent vaccination programming, new regulatory ammendedments regarding extensions and vaccines until 2 years old, pharmacists are busier than ever. Pharmacy Interns are valuable to our teams as pharmacists, with the ability to practice independently. They are fully trained (in fact with their lengthly internship in the year 2020, overtrained) to handle anything a pharmacist with a license could. We must be ready to face the storm ahead that will be healthcare in 2021. We will need more pharmacists to help share our patients care. So that we don’t burn out as a profession. I see the exhaustion on my collegues faces everyday. We need more support, even if we are too proud to admit that we cannot handle the coming months of changes that COVID will continue to bring.
This response was submitted by the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada. Read the full submission here.
This change is coming almost a year too late, and we cannot delay the practice of upcoming pharmacists any longer. We have been in a global state of emergency for almost a year, and in that time OCP, OPA, and the PEBC have failed to provide adequate support to the profession’s students, interns, and pharmacists struggling to find staffing. As others have pointed out, other healthcare professions have already granted temporary licensure. Other professions have already stepped up, taken initiative, and allowed the next wave of students to begin their careers in earnest and to add their support to Canadians in these unprecedented times. Why then have pharmacist students been left so hopelessly behind? An easy example of the importance of this temporary license is the struggle that pharmacies have to face with delivering a record amount of flu shots this year. We have been in a state of emergency for virtually a year, and it has taken that entire time for any sort of “urgent” response. This emergency license needs to happen, and it needed to happen a year ago.
I am one of the unlucky graduates that is waiting for licensure for Pharmacist. I can feel the pressure in pharmacies as well as when speaking with colleagues and preceptors that pharmacies are struggling to stay staffed. Over exhaustion is occurring, worsening since the start of the pandemic over 9 months ago. I can help. Having successfully completed my multiple choice portion of the PEBCs, I am qualified and knowledgeable. The Emergency Assignment Registration Certificate initiative would alleviate burden on pharmacies that are overwhelmed especially as the second wave ravages across the country.
In terms of Protecting the Public this proposed amendment is poorly thought out and dangerous. If emergency pharmacist license is to be given, there should be a clause that indicates that once the next available PEBC and OSCE exam is open all applicants must provide proof of registration for the exam and must complete the exam (if public health guidelines cancel an examination then the emergency license could be renewed based on the registrar’s approval). There needs to be a mechanism that forces emergency licensed pharmacists to attempt the first available test. Secondly, the license should only be provided to Ontario University graduates and Part B licensed pharmacists in Ontario (Ontario University graduates have successfully completed programs that have been accepted wholly by OCP, graduates from other provincial universities should be supporting those provinces (Ontario should not become the goto province to practice due to relaxing regulations this is dangerous and will oversaturated the market)(Graduates from other countries are thoroughly tested via PEBC entrance exams, qualifying exams, OSCE and PACE programs… Without those mechanisms in place there is NO way to determine if these individuals (ie. IPGs) can safely practice or have met the educational requirements successful Canadian graduates have, thus providing this group emergency licenses is dangerous for the profession (ie public loss of trust) and public safety. Lastly, the Ontario University graduates and Ontario Part B pharmacists must also complete a shortened modified Practice Assessment of Competence at Entry (PACE) for Pharmacists under PACE assessors before being given emergency licenses. We as a profession must do our due diligence that even the Part B and Ontario Pharmacy Graduates can work safely (there are those in those groups who would not pass the OSCE and PEBC… Stats do not lie). OCP should reflect on the following… Has the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario with the heavy strain on MD shortages all of a sudden given emergency licenses to MDs from other countries with out assessment (answer is no), have they given it to Canadian Graduates without any assessment (answer is no)… Why because they understand they need to protect the public trust in healthcare and protect the public…so why must our profession be reckless with the amendments as proposed. I have trust in the abilities of professionals within pharmacy because I know we have all completed the same licensure examinations, removal of those examinations means loss of trust. Slippery slope… You should be looking at ways to make the Examinations more accessible NOT looking at ways to make becoming a pharmacist more accessible.
License these kids. It’s the right thing to do. Adds more labour to a retiring workforce and will be good for both patients and the industry
Pharmacist are frontline workers and are needed now more than ever, I fully support this!
I support this notion and we are in need of pharmacists.
Our pharmacist intern has the full capability of a registered pharmacist and has been working to the limit in scope of practice, but at half the pay of a registered pharmacist. A part time pharmacist was out of duty for 2 weeks due to COVID-19 and our intern could have filled the void. I am in full support of emergency licensure.
I fully support the approval of the Emergency Assignment Registration Certificates. I believe that the 2020 pharmacy graduates have been through enough training both in class and in clinical rotations to have the knowledge and ability to provide pharmaceutical care to patients as a pharmacist. The graduates of 2020 are currently working as interns making half, if not less, the wage of a pharmacist, but practicing to the same scope. Many pharmacies are now doing COVID testing and there is an increased need for pharmacists. As there is a lack of new grad pharmacists and an abundance of interns, many interns are being hired to manage the dispensary (doing the same work a pharmacist would) while the pharmacist is providing COVID testing. Additionally, there is an increased need for pharmacists this year because of the increased number of patients wanting flu shots. Again, interns are being hired to provide these flu shots as interns can provide the same scope as a pharmacist, but only at an intern’s wage. I believe that this emergency designation would be a good way to ensure that the pharmacy graduates of 2020 are being compensated fairly for their work while awaiting the next OSCEs exam. As COVID-19 continues to affect our lives and cases within Ontario remain high, there is no guarantee that the interns awaiting licensing will be able to write OSCEs at the next sitting, as there is still a chance that some sites will cancel because of COVID-19 regulations. As such, the emergency designation will provide some relief to the interns as they await licensure. Pharmacy interns are qualified and capable of providing pharmaceutical care to patients and are prepared and excited to join the workforce as pharmacists to help serve the public.
I am in favour of emergency licensing for new pharmacy graduates. Given the exceptional circumstances of the pandemic and licensing exams being delayed for 8 months and counting, new grads are suffering accumulating debt and an uncertain future. No income, no health benefits, no career. Moreover, there has been no communication of solid plans for future OSCEs – new grads simply can’t wait for the pandemic is over and restrictions to be lifted. I understand the concern for safety with only 1 portion of the exam written, but it’s also true to say that the OSCE did not exist until years prior. Moreover, the high success rate (94.1%) of the OSCE portion should speak for itself. Lastly, granting emergency licensure will not cause an overflow of pharmacists. If all had gone to plan, successful UofT, UW and international cohorts would have been licensed by now. This is just one hurdle new grads have to jump over, but not one that should impede their careers. Of course, many bodies have to come together and find a solution so as to hold the OSCE and so as to not delay future cohorts, but for the moment, emergency licensure is the answer.
From reading the comments section, you can really see how divided the profession really is. Members of the public are more supportive and compassionate compared to some of our own and that is truly disappointing. The main reason from what I can see here for pharmacists opposed of this proposal is due to oversaturation of the current job market. But I wonder how many these pharmacists forget there are regions outside of GTA that desperately needs pharmacists and are only acting in their self-interest. Perhaps they are forgetting that these new grads are from anywhere between 60k-100k+ in debt? They were supposed to be licensed back in June, and this continuous delay in licensure is unacceptable, insulting and disrespectful not only to pharmacy students, but the entire profession. There are too many conspiracy theorists online devaluing and tearing down our own profession that is affecting the dynamic of entire pharmacy community. I feel like it is OCP duty (or whoever is responsible) to release some sort of an objective and quantifiable value, rather than people’s biased opinion on what the job market is really like for pharmacists based on different geographic region. In regards to the proposal for emergency registration certificate of pharmacy professional, I am whole heartedly in support of this. If the new grad has already passed the MCQ portion, and has been practicing as an intern since the pandemic started, PLUS the rigorous training they went through during school. they are more than qualified to practice as a pharmacist.
I fully support this. Emergency licensure is a great solution to the increased demand for pharmacy services as a result of the COVID19 pandemic. Let’s support these new graduates who are fully capable and competent professionals.
I fully support the emergency licensing of pharmacists. These individuals awaiting licensing are highly educated and qualified pharmacists-to-be who unfortunately due to circumstances, have had part 2 of their licensure delayed. With the vaccines becoming available, it is only a matter of time before it is implemented in pharmacies and it would be prudent to have all hands on deck at that time.
Pharmacy students have worked extremely hard to complete their studies and internships. It’s not fair their Professional College has screwed them over multiple times by cancelling their final exams with less than 48 hours notice. It’s time to do right by then and grant them a provisional license.
I graduated from UofT this past June and I have already written and passed the MCQ portion of the PEBC licensing exams. I have been working as a pharmacist intern in a busy community pharmacy in downtown Toronto. I have been practicing to my full scope and have been counselling, verifying prescriptions, administering vaccinations, addressing OTC questions etc. The pharmacy I am at is also doing COVID-19 tests and I am taking on the role of acting pharmacist during those periods of the day to manage the pharmacy workflow while the pharmacist is doing COVID-19 tests. (And I am taking on all of the same responsibilities of the pharmacist at $16.50/hour.) Although I have not yet had a chance to do my OSCEs I feel as though I am more than ready to practice. That isn’t to say that I have as much experience as a pharmacist who has been practicing for 30 years but I know how to handle difficult situations and I have the required skills to address clinical problems that may be new or unfamiliar to me. I would argue that our class of pharmacy interns may be even more ready than pharmacy graduates from previous years since we have had these few extra months of interning experience (despite us not having completed the OSCEs). For those who are commenting about the over-saturation of the job market and how there is a surplus of pharmacists and that for these reasons, emergency licenses should not be granted – this is so frustrating and disheartening. There is a clear conflict of interest for those kinds of comments and I don’t think that they should be taken into consideration when this decision is being made. We chose profession to deliver quality patient care and to put the patients’ interests first. I believe that our class of pharmacy interns have been upholding this principle and have been vital to patients’ medication management over the past few months.
The University of Waterloo graduates of 2020 have stepped up during the global pandemic during their unpaid clinical rotations at the height of COVID-19. They quickly became an essential role while completing these rotations and were recognized for their contributions by the Ontario Pharmacists Association. New graduates are eager and ready to practice to their full potential. Having completed part one of the licensing exam, and no announced date for part two of the licensing exam, it is worrisome that new graduates are left in an unforeseen limbo with student loans to pay back and job offers falling through that were based on licensing results. Pharmacies are busier than ever with the extra demands COVID-19 has placed on them. By no means am I suggesting new graduates do not have to complete part two of this licensing exam, but unprecedented circumstances call for emergency action. If saturation is a concern perhaps that is something that should be addressed with the class sizes of pharmacy schools, from what I personally have experienced is that there is many job opportunities available for *licensed* pharmacists but not so many for interns stuck in the position they are in now. University of Waterloo graduates also have to specifically pass a “high stakes OSCE” in their final year in order to successfully graduate from their program. I see no reason why successful candidates who have completed both the part one MCQ and the high stakes OSCE are being penalized for an unprecedented global pandemic. The time to advocate for our professions’ importance and contribution as essential healthcare professionals is now. New graduates are ready for conditional licensing and to practice to their full potential.
It is my opinion that we need as many healthcare workers available to fight this Covid pandemic. This includes pharmacists who are involved in covid testing and now with the vaccine rollout, that may potentially partially fall on pharmacists as well. We need all hands on deck and these pharmacists have completed all necessary schooling, outside of the final exams so they should be ready to join the workforce.
Agree,, pharmacy should get the license in emergency to help with shortages
The comments about an over abundance of pharmacists is selfish and shows a clear lack of understanding about being a healthcare professional. There are dozens if not more positions out of the GTA. Many people don’t want to move out of the city and thus causing an over saturation of pharmacists. As an intern, I want to move out to the rural regions of the province to help out. But with a low paying intern position, I obviously cannot afford to do that, especially with my family with me. Pharmacists need to understand that other areas of the province are lacking pharmacists and there are many of us who are willing to relocate to help out. This delay is not only impacting interns and their families, but more also patients.
I am in favour of this Emergency Assignment Registration Certificates. The Colleges mandate is to serve and protect the public. The comments regarding wages are irrelevant as wages are not within the colleges mandate. With the shortage of pharmacists outside of the GTA the increased uptake in immunizations, asymptomatic COVID testing and level of pharmacy workflow with not only dispensing prescriptions but also with an increasing number of patient questions who have not been able to see a physician or nurse practitioner is putting a strain on the healthcare system. Pharmacists are burnt out with nonstop work. Pharmacists are busier than ever assessing patients in order to extend prescriptions for continuity of care. Members of the Classes of 2020 have now gotten their results of the PEBC MCQ. Passing this exam can provide greater confidence in the competence of candidates for this emergency licensure until the PEBC OSCE can be taken. Licensed pharmacists have been working side by side with interns throughout their post-graduation work in the field and have been observing us practice alongside them. Even if we have not yet had the opportunity to tackle the PEBC OSCE these colleagues have seen us working through many more than the 13 stations of the standardized exam. The OSCE is designed to assess our ability to practice as a pharmacist, something our pharmacist colleagues have been observing from us on a daily basis. With the current proposal still requiring supervision in some capacity, these pharmacists who have been overseeing us are not going to let us work independently (putting their licenses at risk as well) if they are not 100% confident in our ability to do so. To suggest that recent graduates from the Doctor of Pharmacy programs at the University of Toronto & University of Waterloo are not prepared to practice is unfounded. Recent graduates have the most up do date clinical knowledge which has been put into practice not only through months of clinical rotations but also in practice up to and including today. Many other provinces have already put this type of temporary licensure in place months ago and there is precedence for emergency licensure. With the COVID-19 vaccine soon to be rolling out pharmacists are going to be a pivotal and integral part of this mass immunization campaign and we need all hands on deck to be able to fulfill the colleges mandate to serve and protect the people of Ontario. Students graduating from the Doctor of Pharmacy programs at the University of Toronto & University of Waterloo have a pass rate on the OSCE of over 94% and a pass rate of over 91% on the MCQ. I believe that emergency licensure should be approved, on the condition that applicants have already successfully completed the MCQ portion of the PEBC. Emergency licensure will allow us to better uphold the colleges mandate: to serve and protect the Ontario population.
I do not think there is a need in Ontario for express certification of pharmacists. There is an oversupply of pharmacists, I do not see any openings for pharmacists positions in SW Ontario. Also as long as the OSCE passing rate is not 100% I am wondering how practicing before passing OSCE could be in the interest of the public? I do think there are lots of pharmacy graduates who deserve to practice because they have the experience and knowledge. But what about those who would have failed OSCE? I think finding a way to do the examination (online, in class, smaller groups) is the solution.
Dear Ms. Nancy Lum-Wilson, I am writing to you on behalf of the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists Ontario Branch (CSHP OB) in support of the proposed regulatory amendments that enable the creation of an emergency registration certificate class of pharmacy professionals to grant conditional licensure for pharmacy graduates, recently impacted by the COVID-19 public health restrictions. The Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists (CSHP) is a national organization committed to patient care through the advancement of safe, effective medication use in hospitals and other collaborative healthcare settings. The class of 2020 pharmacy graduates from the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo would have normally entered the workforce as fully licensed pharmacists by this time. However, candidates have been unable to complete their final licensing examination due to COVID-19 public health restrictions. Pharmacy students and interns are facing another delay in their licensure to practice. As the pandemic progresses and positivity rates continue to increase, front line workers are impacted by increasing demands of health care services. These pressures are contributing to a growing concern about the strain placed upon the pharmacy workforce capacity at a time when it is important to ensure sustained access to adequate numbers of pharmacy professionals in hospitals. Hospitals are experiencing increased demand for pharmacy services due to the workload associated with continuity of non-COVID related and COVID related essential services, such as support of COVID-19 vaccine logistics and administration. Many hospital pharmacist vacancies remain unfilled, placing an additional demand on a strained work force. Due to the uncertainty and rapidly evolving situation presented by the second wave, and the prolonged and increased demand for pharmacy services during this crisis, there has been a growing urgency to establish mechanisms that would enable a surge capacity of the pharmacy workforce to respond to public health and other emergencies, thereby mitigating the risk of an acute shortage of pharmacy professionals. Three other provinces – Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan – have supported emergency licensure and registration for their affected pharmacy graduates. Additionally, there is already precedent for such conditional licensing within other health care professions in Ontario: • “Temporary Class of Nurses” as enabled through the College of Nurses of Ontario1 • “Restricted Certificate of Registration for Exam-Eligible Candidates” as enabled through the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario2 The Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists is in support of the proposed regulation changes to allow for emergency assignment registration for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians with an expedited review, as they are essential frontline healthcare workers in this fight to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at your earliest convenience. Yours sincerely, Olivia Ng President, CSHP Ontario Branch
I think it is an excellent idea for conditional licenses to be provided to these professionals. They have dedicated much time and effort to complete their degrees and work in a field that has high demand, especially during a pandemic. Other healthcare professionals have had conditional licenses provided, even before any licensing examination had taken place. I believe it would be an unwise utilization of resources for these interns to continue working without their full license at this time. At present time, their status as an intern requires them to have supervision from a fully licensed pharmacists, requiring pharmacies to essentially double up on staffing when interns are on duty. This excludes the possibility of employment in many settings for them, such as in smaller community or independently owned pharmacies. I think this is unnecessary for those that have passed the written portion of their examination. The OSCE portion of their exam has a very high pass rate and, as such, seems to be more of a formality standing between them and their license. The fact that some students were granted the opportunity to complete the OSCE portion of their exam and obtain their license, while others weren’t, is a whole other kettle of fish. I could go on about this in particular for a while, however I think it suffices to say that it is extremely unfair that many students were left behind at random with this decision. As a peripheral point, there are some comments above that seem to be against this idea because they do not believe there is enough demand for pharmacists at this time. I think this is a) more reflective of pharmacists working in urban centres compared to many of the rural sites that I have worked in as a physician and b) should not hold weight here. These interns should have been working as fully licensed pharmacists LONG ago, and in a world with no pandemic would be currently working alongside many of the licensed pharmacists indicating there is no demand in the field. If there are concerns about demand this should be addressed on a different level, such as adjusting number of pharmacy school admission spots available, rather than negatively impacting the students that have already graduated for a reason outside of their control. Many of these interns have lived in high cost-of-living centres for the past 4 years, not to mention have student debt that preceded their professional degree. Again, this is not the main reason why conditional licenses should be granted, but I think is one of the many adjunct considerations that further encourages the pro licensing side of this decision.
I support the decision to allow currently unlicensed new graduates to start practicing to their full scope. The longer the time it takes for them to be able to practice, the more things are forgotten and the more potential for patient harm. These graduates have just freshly finished 4 years of intense pharmacy school, and their knowledge is still fresh in their head with best practices and knowledge on the most up-to-date guidelines compared to currently practicing pharmacist. I fully support this to be implemented as soon as possible as to avoid further delay.
Careful consideration must be taken to ensure pharmacy graduates who register into this emergency registration certificate class of pharmacy professionals are confident in their abilities to provide safe and effective patient care. Members of this class must not be disproportionately placed into situations where they are not provided the support necessary to deliver patient care e.g. overnight shifts etc. Members of this class may not have had the opportunity to demonstrate that they meet entry to practice standards and must have the opportunity to raise issues or concerns and request support.
Dear OCP Council, colleagues and public members: (1) There is no shortage of pharmacists OVERALL in Ontario based on statistics from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2019 (CIHI). (2) However, according to CIHI, of the 16,311 actively registered pharmacists, 14,334 practice in URBAN settings. This is a clear oversaturation of pharmacists per capita in urban areas. Therefore, it is clear that the shortage is in rural areas. (3) Implementing an emergency registration certificate class is a grave decision. Allowing such registration across the board to all Part B pharmacists and other registrants is not going to be helpful if all the emergency employees live in urban areas and are not willing to work in rural areas. It will merely super-saturate these urban communities, leaving rural areas understaffed. (4) From a patient safety perspective, to justify implementing this emergency class, I think OCP should consider a tiered action plan. (a) There are currently registered, active members who are only working part-time hours. OCP could consider pulling from these members first. Pharmacy owners/managers in need of pharmacy staff could email OCP stating their need for staff. OCP could post these needs on the website or forward the email to all members. Subsequently, interested members could contact the owner/manager stating their availability. (b) If pulling from currently registered, active members fails to provide adequate coverage for the emergency area, the next step could be to allow the emergency registration class of members to provide aid as needed. (c) U of T and UW graduates should be granted emergency registration prior to Part B members. They have earned their Pharm D degrees. They are current in their clinical knowledge. They are ready to practice. According to searches of job postings for pharmacists in Ontario, many hospitals have posted available pharmacist positions. I think that most Pharm D graduates will be invaluable to hospital pharmacies and there seems to be a need there. (d) Pharmacy practice is incredibly dynamic. It is difficult to remain up to date in an ever-changing environment if one has not practiced recently. Granting emergency registration to Part B members could also be considered in a tiered approach. Perhaps grant such registration to members who stepped down to Part B in the last 12 months first. If that step does not fully provide emergency coverage, next consider members who stepped down in the last 24 months etc. (5) As in all things pharmacy, weigh the risks versus benefits. From a patient safety perspective, I cannot see a SAFE emergency registration certificate class without a tiered approach. One cannot justify granting emergency registration to members who are not up to date in pharmacy practice if there are safer options.
I am fully in support of the registration of students with osce held when able. As a preceptor, my students have been beyond competent and really contributed to the pharmacy profession. We would be lucky to have them!
The arguments about saturation and “over-abundance” steers readers away from the main goal of this amendment. If covid did not happen this year, the same number of newly, licensed pharmacists will still exist. To say that it takes away your jobs or how you already find it difficult to find one; these points do not relate to this amendment. People graduated with the plan to start work this year and many had job opportunities lined up. Many of these offers continue to be on standby for graduates, and some companies have even accommodated in order to keep their hires. This shows the value new graduates have. We deserve the same opportunities, with or without covid. We aren’t fighting for more jobs, we’re fighting for the right to our license.
This is an action should be granted months ago. I personally have very positive interaction with my local pharmacy, and I believe these new graduates deserve a chance to start their career after 7-month delay.
I agree with granting conditional licensure to pharmacy graduates from Canadian Universities. There is a need for pharmacists in rural and small communities. For these small sites it is not always feasible to employ an intern due to the oversight requirements. This should also be considered for pharmacy technicians as there is a desperate need to registered techs across the province.
Pharmacy interns are a valued part of the pharmacy workforce. In community, they are able to administer flu shots, counsel on OTCs and medications, etc. In hospital, they can do everything from BPMHs to providing discharge counselling. There has already been a strain on pharmacists, and it’s no different with the added burden of the pandemic. Other province have already given temporary licenses to their pharmacy graduates. It should be no different for our interns.
With regards to people saying there is “no shortage,” the surplus of pharmacy interns have masked the fact that pharmacies are able to hire interns instead of pharmacists to help run daily tasks within the pharmacy during this pandemic. As an example, during the flu shot season, pharmacy interns stepped up to perform this service that only pharmacists, pharmacy interns, and upper year pharmacy students can perform. It would have been extremely difficult to find pharmacy students to work the necessary hours to keep up with the demand due to classes, rotations, and exams, thus leaving pharmacies to need to hire either interns or pharmacists. With the added strain of COVID tests (and possibly vaccines in the future), the new cohort of pharmacy graduates are needed and should be fairly reimbursed for their services. Pharmacy graduates should not be prevented from working simply because current pharmacists fear the competition due to the “oversupply” of pharmacists. The large majority of these graduates will become licensed in the next few months anyways. If current pharmacists don’t have the confidence in their own knowledge, skills, and more importantly experience as a pharmacist to “compete” with new graduates, then it is the competency of the current pharmacists who are working that should be questioned.
I am currently a pharmacy intern who graduated from the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy, working tirelessly to pay of my student debt because regardless of the lower pay, I obviously must try and make money to pay it back but also serve my duty to the public during a time where they need my skills and services the most. I have already passed the MCQ however I like many peers am either waiting for OSCE results or waiting to sit for the OSCE. Aside from the increased ability to pay my debt as a full pharmacist, I believe that I am fully capable of independent practicing without having another pharmacist in my proximity. This would free up not only me (and others like me) but also other pharmacists to continue to serve the public, making this a win-win-win situation. Having passed arguably the more difficult of the two PEBC exams, being the MCQ, (pass-rate wise), I fully believe that we current pharmacy interns can fulfill our duties to the level of licensed pharmacists and should be able to do so. Being on the front lines is not easy and I understand this, but we were already on these frontlines to begin with, we as pharmacist simply seek to fortify our forces against the pandemic so to speak. Other provinces like Nova Scotia have found this to be a positive decision and I hope Ontario, who has always produced such outstanding pharmacists, sees it the same way. This entire pandemic has taken its toll on us and all we ask is that we are entrusted to fulfill the full duties we took an oath to uphold, and adhere to NAPRA’s standards of practice as we have been doing all along.
This is a terrible idea because it is built on the false premises that there is a shortage of pharmacists while this is a far cry from reality. There is an oversupply of pharmacists at the moment and this will only serve to make the situation worse. Flu season is almost over at this point so things will only improve moving forward, especially as covid vaccination has already started several days ago. Furthermore, writing and passing the licensing exam is a requirement that should not be waived off because it ensures that the individual knows their material and can deliver high quality care as well. This is important for the safety of the public. Instead of trying to create this emergency certificate, OCP should focus more on finding a way to run these exams so that pharmacy graduates can write them during these difficult times in order to get their licenses.
Pharmacists are an integral part of the health care system and community. They have a source of knowledge that contributes to the health and well being of all people. I fully support the interim emergency license. We need all hands on deck to fight COVID-19!
Having spoken with colleagues, friends I have come to discover that other health care and professional regulatory bodies (e.g. nurses, physicians, physiotherapists, chiropractors, dieticians, midwives, and lawyers) have granted conditional/emergency licensure during the pandemic to meet public demand. In many Canadian provinces, like Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Quebec, Conditional/Emergency/Full pharmacy licensure has already been granted for new graduates. These additional health care workers are essential to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, especially now that the COVID- 19 Vaccine has been approved and has started to roll out. By enacting this regulation, OCP will be prepared in future situations to call on the emergency designation and equip qualified students to enter the practice despite the unpredictable set backs this year caused.
I support the granting of emergency registration for new graduates.
There is no shortage of pharmacists at the moment. If anything, there is an oversupply. There is a lot of underemployment in our sector, and as it stands it is heartbreaking to see my colleagues suffer through trying to find sufficient hours to work during a pandemic to support their families. The reason why at the pharmacy level, there seems to be a shortage of help, is because of large problems in the system’s infrastructure that prevent optimal staffing for patient care. It’s a business model problem that is leading to stressful work environments for pharmacists (not a pharmacist supply problem).
I fully support Emergency Assignment Registration Certification.
I work in a rural setting, outside of the downtown core. This means the average pharmacist is more seasoned. This also means most are desiring to minimize working hours to protect themselves and care for their grandchildren so their children can work and make a living. Additionally, as a result of the rural setting, access to healthcare / primary care is more difficult than urban centres, so pharmacies and pharmacists and their staff are overworked in conducting many functions and wearing many hats of various other healthcare providers that have closer their doors to in person visits or significantly reduced their hours. So with fewer pharmacists, there is more work to be done. There’s also routine vaccinations, flu shots, etc that patients need. We NEED all hands on deck and as many bodies as possible. It is better being proactive than reactive, as we are dealing with humans, with patients, real life people. Spend a day in a busy pharmacy for 12 hours and you will be amazed and shocked at how much is done (and left behind due to fewer staff). Granting emergency registration makes sense, and is evidence based, and backed by facts. This is in line with our colleagues in other professions that have granted their registrants emergency registration. Furthermore, The PEBC MCQ pass rate is 91.0% and the OSCE pass rate is 94.1% for Canadian graduates. The majority of new graduates have successfully completed the MCQ, but have not had the opportunity to challenge the OSCE due to examination cancellations secondary to the COVID-19 pandemic. PharmD programs in Ontario (University of Toronto & University of Waterloo) have a pass rate of ~ 96% for the OSCE. This all goes to show those that are skeptical that we are not bringing in graduates with no foundational background or knowledge, and without a minimum baseline expected knowledge base – the examinations, for what they are worth, are a formality. Grant emergency licensure!
I am a medical student who has been following this issue closely. I am strongly in favor of this regulatory amendment as the delay in achieving licensure for these graduates has gone on far too long. Today, Ontario had it’s highest COVID-19 case count totals to date and as the holidays fast approach, the situation awaiting in January and February will likely require all hands on deck. The questions here are: are these graduates qualified? And is there even a possibility they could help in fighting this pandemic? To the first question, undoubtedly they are qualified. They have passed rigourous exams and OSCEs at their universities, passed part 1 of the PBCE licensing exam and the pass rate for part 2 is nearly 100% based on past years. To the second question: Pharmacists are vital frontline healthcare workers, who are providing COVID-19 testing, among all of their usual clinical duties in hospitals and in pharmacies. Many have jobs lined up already. To suggest that in the height of a pandemic an entire cohort of highly qualified Ontario pharmacy graduates is not needed, or would not be able to provide any benefit to the public, is an insult to all healthcare workers. I strongly urge the college to approve this amendment.
Hello, I am not a pharmacist nor do I work in health care but when I heard about this issue from a family friend, I was very taken back. I’ve always had a positive experience with my local pharmacy and the pharmacy students who work there. One even caught an error in a prescription that my doctor wrote. I am of understanding that pharmacy students in Canada undergo extensive training, especially in clinical aspects. If pharmacy students can perform at this level, I’m confident that pharmacy interns can provide safe care for myself and everyone else.
As a registered nurse I fully support granting an emergency license for new pharmacy graduates. Pharmacy graduates completed their education which is a DOCTORATE degree. This includes extensive training in various environment including hospital and community pharmacy. Many pharmacy students also work as pharmacy techs during school to gain more experience as well as pay for their overwhelmingly expensive tuition ($22k/year). What the public does not know is that these new graduates are currently working as pharmacy interns, essentially with the full scope of practice of a pharmacist but with a sad and undeserving hourly wage of $17-20. New graduates of Bachelor of Nursing programs (program for registered nurses) have been granted temporary license for many years and concern for public safety has not been raised – so why can’t we do the same for pharmacy new graduates, especially during these unprecedented circumstances? Pharmacy new graduates are ready to practice as fully licensed pharmacists. The only reason they do not have their license is because their exams have been postponed indefinitely due to COVID, not due to their knowledge, skill or judgement. Bottom line is, we need more pharmacists. We need to better utilize the resources we have to serve the public which can be done by approving emergency license for new graduates.
I fully support the emergency assignment certificate. The class of 2020 UofT has not only finished one year of rotations but also have studied PEBC twice. I do believe for those who have sucessfully completed PBEC MCQ have the knowledge of praticing. In addition, I believe some pharmacy graduates are willing to relocate to where the community needs us.
I feel that this move is a responsible and necessary course of action in our current circumstances. Pharmacists have been at the forefront of our provincial effort to manage the COVID-19 pandemic; and even more so recently with the implementation of testing at community pharmacies. Many pharmacy interns are now working in high-risk environments where they are being poorly compensated or recognized for their work. These are recently graduated pharmacy students, with the skills and knowledge that come with a PharmD. There are other professions that allow temporary licensure for newly graduated professionals under the supervision of another autonomous licensed practitioner. I fail to see why allowing emergency assignment registration would be much different.
Emergency licensure is an excellent idea and I highly support it. We need new PharmD grads to get licensed ASAP.
The pharmacy job market in some parts of Ontario are completely saturated. When corporations that run pharmacy chains decide to cut costs by reducing pharmacist hours, what is created is an illusion that there might be a shortage in those places. Granting emergency registration certificates for those willing to work in areas that really need pharmacists could be feasible. My worry is that these professionals, much like the ones who have recently entered the profession , will be offered lower wages. An official minimum wage standard for licensed professionals could address this, and reinforce the value that we bring through our service. The value of our work cannot be measured by business metrics alone (if at all).
I am for this proposal to create an emergency registration certificate class of pharmacy professionals. There is a need for pharmacists in Ontario, especially with the introduction of COVID-19 testing in pharmacies, which can only be performed by pharmacists and not by interns. Pharmacies have to contend with their regular workload in addition to COVID-19 related work (testing, personal protection measures, self-isolation protocols, etc.). A new group of pharmacists, who have been extensively schooled and trained as pharmacist and have meet all other requirements, can help alleviate this workload. New pharmacists have been denied registration and are unable to fully contribute to pharmacies because of the disorganization and incompetence of PEBC in failing to conduct the OSCE exam. Emergency registration would allow this new group to practice to their full scope while waiting to challenge the OSCE (it is also worth noting that many pharmacists practicing today have not passed an OSCE as they were licensed before this was a requirement). Some individuals seem to be focusing on an “apparent” saturation of pharmacists in the GTA area as a reason to reject these amendments. This line of reasoning for denying an emergency registration status is based on the selfish fear that it may increase competition for pharmacist employment in one region, while ignoring public health needs. The amendments to create an emergency registration certificate class of pharmacy professionals will help improve patient care provided by pharmacies during these difficult times and should be approved as soon as possible.
I do think there should be an emergency class of pharmacists in cases of emergency. However at the same time I think the OSCE’s could and should be done virtually. Many HCP are adapting and changing to a virtual platform which many patients appreciate. HCP’s need to know to interact with patients on a virtual platform so what better way to assess students in a pandemic. As well, this new way of testing is more efficient and cost effective. Virtual OSCE’s: https://cptlpulses.com/2020/06/18/virtual-osces Taking your OSCE’s online: https://vimeo.com/412389005/8f1b10e563
I strongly oppose this. there has been way too many rph out here in ON. The right thing to do, the safe thing to do would be to give incentives to rph in GTA to temporarily move & work in Northern ON.
Please do not allow this. This program (emergency registration) may be applicable for other provinces but, in Ontario – there has been a chronic over-supply of pharmacists. The time, money, and effort spent on this program (emergency registration) can be put to use by approving vaccine clinics – led by pharmacists or something else more useful. It is very unsafe to let in non-PEBC certified professionals. Not every UfT or Waterloo Grad. passes PEBC. I heard the failure rate was about 10% depending on the year – that’s a significant risk.
As usual and sadly not surprising, it appears as though it is the special few whom only view Ontario as encompassing the Greater Toronto Area alone, whom appear to have the audacity to suggest that due to the “apparent” saturation of pharmacists in the GTA only, this should speak for the entire province as a whole. I invite these commentators to step outside their GTA bubble and perhaps explore Ontario in its entirety. They might be surprised to encounter the rather obvious and sobering fact, that unfortunately there are too many smaller towns and communities across the province (especially in the northern and central areas) where readily available access to pharmacists (especially at this time during an historic pandemic) is severely lacking, to the detriment of the members of said communities. The second more insulting suggestion that these Canadian graduates may potentially put public members at risk becomes even more laughable considering the scope of practise that these graduate interns have been working with (as designated by OCP) is almost exactly the same as the scope of practise for a licensed pharmacist, with the main difference being that the interns require physical supervision (though I have heard of multiple instances of working pharmacists simply sitting on the computer in the back office of the pharmacy and allowing said interns to work their scope, thereby essentially using their interns to do their own work whilst being able to pay them only one third the wage of a licensed pharmacist while technically being physically present in the pharmacy, which is appalling to say the least). I also cannot believe it needs to be stated (again), that these graduates have been working alongside regular pharmacy staff during the entirety of this pandemic situation. However, I am sure it makes way more sense to throw away the months of experience these graduates have obtained whilst working in the widely changing and unpredictable times that this pandemic has provided, and to instead prevent these qualified interns from practising on the basis of a structured and controlled exam (that they desperate to write, but are being prevented from doing so). Other health care professions (physicians, nurses, physiotherapists), have found ways to provide conditional licensure for their grads in this province. As well, in this pharmacy profession specifically, half the country (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Newfoundland to name a few) have been providing conditional pharmacist licensure for months. Why is Ontario pharmacy so special from everyone and everywhere else? Unfortunately, it appears as though a select few (not all of course) pharmacists from the GTA appear bent on putting their own job positions ahead of the health and safety of Ontarians as a whole. Ironic, given their oath to serve the public prior to becoming employed in this profession, and also oddly quite amusing as I do not envision a scenario in which providing conditional licensure to these deserving grads would lead to companies sacking their current employees in a mad rush to hire these new grads in their place. The implementation of this conditional licensure should have been completed ~ half a year ago, when these graduate exams were first cancelled. However, hopefully lessons have been learned since then and will be used to fuel the expedited implementation of this emergency assignment. I shudder at the thought of how these young, hungry, talented and intelligent graduates must feel, with the complete lack of support for themselves despite the complete level of support they have already dedicated to the profession and to the public. What a horrific and disturbing way to begin their careers, and I sincerely hope they do not listen to the words of some of their fellow pharmacy professional peers who appear to want them to simply “go away”, and continue to suffer physically, psychologically and financially, but rather focus on the much larger support from pharmacy professionals, health care professionals and broader members of the general public as a whole in advocating for their right to provide the exceptional quality of safety and patient care in which they were trained and are prepared/able to carry out.
I am in favour of providing emergency certificate registration to any graduate of a Pharmacy program from a Canadian university who has successfully passed part I (ie. MCQ) of the PEBCs. Pharmacy interns who have graduated from a Canadian university have undergone rigorous training to ensure they are qualified to practice in the current landscape. There are several checkpoints throughout pharmacy education that provide training in simulated and hands on environments to ensure that students have the skills to practice immediately after graduation. Additionally, graduates of the UofT and Waterloo programs have completed numerous hours of hands on training during fourth year experiential rotations. I feel that this far outweighs the OSCE in terms of assessment of their ability to solve clinical problems and communicate with patients and other healthcare providers. I am confident that those individuals who have passed Part I of the PEBCs and have graduated from a Canadian pharmacy program have the knowledge and communication skills to safely provide patient care during this difficult time. It has been students and interns who have been supporting pharmacists on the front line to provide patient care during the pandemic when there has been a much greater need. I would argue that recent graduates are more likely to embrace a wider scope of practice than Part B pharmacists who are being called to come back to the front lines. This is especially important during the pandemic as patients are still having difficulty accessing primary care.
I fully support emergency assignment
As a recent graduate, I would like our members to consider the impact on our fellow peers and the delays in accreditation and licensing. I am highly in favour of this amendment to allow for emergency assignment of registration certificates to Part B pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy students. Any further delays in doing so, impacts patient care and the credibility of the pharmacy profession.
Emergency assignment registration certificates for registered pharmacy professionals are crucial during this time to advance the College’s public protection mandate. Currently, there is an increased demand for pharmacists and technicians during this global pandemic. Due to COVID-19, pharmacies are facing drastically higher workloads due to influenza vaccinations, COVID-19 testing and various questions/concerns by patients that arise from having impaired access to their family practitioners. This poses several workplace challenges and difficulty hiring replacement staff. Pharmacy interns have graduated for over 6 months now and have knowledge, skills and expertise to practice independently and contribute to the healthcare system. They have shown their competency through mandatory patient care rotations in various hospital and community settings that exceed the minimum requirement needed for entry-to-practice by CCAPP. In addition, Ontario PharmD programs have demonstrated a pass rate of ~96% for the OSCE. It is during these times that it is important to be proactive and learn from other health care professions and other provinces to plan the necessary next steps. Other health care regulatory bodies have granted emergency licensure such as nurses and physicians, including full pharmacy licensure in other Canadian provinces for new graduates. This has been done and has demonstrated a positive impact during these difficult times. Hence, we must work to implement emergency licensure for pharmacy professionals and adapt efficiently to carry out a plan to expedite the licensing of 2020 pharmacy graduates who are eager to practice and have the potential to transform patient lives.
I fully support emergency assignment registration certificates for pharmacy professionals
I fully support emergency assignment registration certificates for pharmacy professionals
I fully support emergency assignment registration certificates for pharmacy professionals
There is a reason the PEBC licensing exams exist. Their purpose is to ensure the proper education and professional judgement of potential members. Many applicants do not pass these exams. Providing applicants who have not passed these exams with emergency assignment registration certificates could thus be putting the public at risk of unqualified members. I also don’t believe there is a shortage of pharmacists or pharmacy technicians. Where I work we have recently hired several new staff members and had little issue in finding qualified candidates. Considering the OCP has already made their decision unanimously regarding this matter I am not sure how much weight the feedback they are asking for will make. Once again I am left with the feeling that the protection of the public and support of the professions it represents comes secondary to the OCP’s own agendas.
There is no shortage of pharmacists in Ontario.
I do agree with emergency licensure for pharmacy interns. However, the PEBC is meant to assess entry level competency to the profession that ensures pharmacy graduates meet the Canadian requirements of the profession at a minimum. I would argue that in order for emergency licensure to be granted it be conditional on the successful completion of MCQ and that the OSCE be attempted at the next sitting. I do believe there is a shortage of pharmacists in the vast majority of the province. Emergency licensure should take this into consideration and be provided to those willing to practice in areas outside the GTA and Waterloo regions where the need is greatest.
I fully support the College. As a Pharmacist who may retire soon, I would gladly return to help the people of Ontario if needed for any reason.
Drug companies, public health systems, and drug regulatory bodies have gone to great lengths to temporarily adapt their normal operations and requirements to address the urgent healthcare needs of the pandemic. The OCP should be identifying opportunities to do the same, particularly now that vaccines are becoming available,
From my understanding, the domestic graduates need to undergo extensive pharmacy practice assessments like working at various pharmacy sites. In case of UofT, I believe the duration is minimum 25 weeks in the 4th year, and 10 weeks for 1st and 2nd year. Also, a lot of the students work in the pharmacy while they are in school. Considering all these, can’t we say that they are well suited to practice as a pharmacist? The only real barrier here is OSCE setting, which may have issue being done due to COVID situations, but aren’t they already ready? I am all for this conditional licensure. Also let’s remind ourselves that back in the day OSCE portion did not exist in PEBC exam. It was later added on.
I absolutely agree with the decision to give temporary licenses, one has to remember that each pharmacy’s needs might be different and might already have interns working that are dying to help out. As a Community Pharmacist that has been swamped with Covid testing and Flu shots I would welcome any help. Not all towns have an abundance of pharmacists to pick from, individual opinions that do not take this into account are baseless. My opinion is that if an intern has already passed the MCQ portion of the PEBC’s and is only waiting to do the OSCE’s they should be able to qualify for emergency licensure. I do however think that passing the MCQ portion should be a prerequisite.
Pharmacy services has played such an integral role during this pandemic that so many Interns, especially my niece, should be granted/receive emergency registration to practice (conditional license ). They have studied so hard these last few years and should not be denied the opportunity to get their careers started. This email is in full support of granting recent pharmacy graduates a conditional licence to practice.
I support the enacting of the emergency registration certificate. The pharmacy graduates have completed their training and their first exams. They have worked as interns and not as fully licensed pharmacists throughout the pandemic. Even though they have been unable to take the second exam, they have been a valuable part of our health care these past months. I believe their experience and training should allow them to work independently as pharmacists.
Given the current situation vis-a-vis the pandemic, the pressures on the Canadian health system is unprecedented. As the College’s primary mandate is public protection it, in order to leverage existing avenues to abate the pressures on the health system it makes sense not only from a health system perspective but also from a public protection perspective to allow emergency licensing of pharmacists. Pharmacist are one of the crucial groups without which our health system will be completely paralyzed. Aiding the pharmacists with additional resources by allowing emergency licensing will strengthen our health system that has seen enormous and hitherto unexpected pressures.
I think if the students have gone through rigorous training in their fields, then they are ready to take up the challenge and face the reality of today. There are shortages, over worked and overwhelmed individuals everywhere in the health care areas. By allowing the interns to graduate, you are helping relieve pressure. And is it really fair to students who study hard and have to keep getting passed by, just because departments are not able to keep up with the demands during this COVID crazy time?
We need to get these new grads out there practicing. The longer we wait the more retraining we potentially may need
I am in favour of the emergency certification. The hard work has been done, let them start their profession.
Pharmacists are essential to the healthcare system and I support the emergency licence.
I am in support of emergency registration. 2020 graduates are competent individuals who have completed 4+ years of education and training. As a nurse who works closely with this profession, I am confident in the skills and abilities of graduates awaiting licensure. These professionals are equipped with the most up-to-date clinical knowledge. The COVID19 pandemic has also increased demand for pharmacy services. To ensure Ontarians access to timely and safe patient care, we must support this amendment and advocate for this group of pharmacy professionals.
This is a great solution for the recent grads. I know that the Ontario pharmacy grads have had more than enough experience in the workplace and they are very competent. From what I understand, the majority of them already passed 1/2 of their exams. Further if anyone is worried about them not being competent, I’m sure that employers would carefully hire competent staff and not hire any incompetent individuals. I am fully in support of emergency licensure!
I fully support this. This is a much needed and timely move. In this time of pandemic the demands on the profession is very high. The workload of pharmacists has increased several fold and in order to provide the services as well as practice expanded scope of practice we need more hands on the deck. By allowing emergency registration we get enough professionals to work at the front line to provide pharmacy services. I have been a preceptor for the last 10 years and have seen first-hand the capabilities of our future pharmacists, the rigorous education and training they have undergone and I have full confidence in them.
Some of the pharmacists were very close to get their license as Canadian Pharmacists but unfortunately they failed to pass one exam. For examples, some pharmacists already completed all steps required for registeration including the language exam, CPS I, CPS II, document evaluation, MCQ and even jurisprudence exam but for some reason they tried OSCE exam 4 times without passing it. I am wondering if you can give them the last chance to try OSCE exam for the last time to meet the challenges of COVID-19 and the shortage of pharmacy professionals that we have. Thanks
Under the circumstances, it seems like a prudent thing to do.
I do not agree that there is no shortage of pharmacists in Ontario. We all know that pharmacists have bared significant burden during the pandemic by taking on additional responsibilities – handling prescription waves (as a result of 30 day supply policy), flu shots, covid-testings and potentially covid vaccine administration in the near future. I would argue that interns have played a tremendous role in offloading the burden of pharmacists during this difficult time and this has in some way “masked” the demand for pharmacists. We also have to keep in mind that interns have to work under the direct supervision of a pharmacist and controlled acts such as covid-testings can only be administered by pharmacists. The least we want to see is that when our profession is committed to expanding our scope to serve the public, there is not enough workforce to support the cause. Also note that a lot of these graduates have already passed their MCQ section of the licensing exam which proves their clinical competence.
The pharmacist is essential to the healthcare system and I support the emergency license.
There is a reason the PEBC licensing exams exist and many applicants do not pass these exams. Providing applicants who have not passed these exams with emergency assignment registration certificates could thus be putting the public at risk. It is also my understanding that there is a surplus of pharmacists in Ontario making this amendment unnecessary.
These recent graduates have now gone 6 months working as interns rather than fully licensed pharmacists. This must be financially and emotionally devastating for them as the average University of Toronto pharmacy graduate has 100k of debt that has been accumulating interest and this major decision is based on others perceived need for them. To further push their licensing would definitely make these students and all other future students feel badly on their profession choice and become apathetic. These effects will last for the rest of their careers. Back in March when licensing exams started getting cancelled it was about public safety and the pandemic but now it is starting to feel like other pharmacists are threatened by increased competition which will come eventually anyways. In my experience working at pharmacies right now, there are shifts available in the GTA. I believe it is only fair to give a temporary licence to new graduates of Canadian schools. Getting through Canadian pharmacy programs has made them into the pharmacists we need during this pandemic!
Although I support measures that need to be taken to get recent grads into the workforce in a timely manner, I do not think this is the solution. Yes, the pandemic has put more strain on pharmacy. Most of this due to changes in days supply that occurred early on, and the increased demand for flu shots this season. As well, it has been more difficult in many cases for patients to access both their family physicians and specialists. Pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare providers and patients have come to rely on us more than ever. However, I do not think there is a shortage of pharmacists in most areas of Ontario, particularly not in the GTA. The bigger problem is that we are not properly compensated for the additional work we do, therefore business owners cannot afford to supply additional staff to handle the extra workload.
Pharmacists play an essential role in health care Please allow this emergency registration to improve public access to a necessary service
I agree that it would be proactive to grant emergency registration to the new grads, so that they can join the workforce. They have already undergone rigorous training, and passed numerous exams. However, maybe they should be answerable to a registered pharmacist in certain situations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put an insurmountable strain on the pharmacy workforce. Emergency registration will ensure Ontarians access to timely, effective, and safe pharmacy services. Pharmacy interns are highly trained professionals who have completed rigorous training and clinical work. The UW PharmD program requires “practice experiences near the end of the program involves at least thirty-two weeks (1280 hours) of which at least twenty four weeks (960 hours) comprises full-time direct patient care practice” 2020 graduates completed training during the COVID19 pandemic. This eludes to 1) clincial expertise and skills 2) ability to adapt and navigate pharmacy services safely, and 3) dedication to providing timely and safe patient care. Said training and successful completion of the PEBC Part I MCQ exam demonstrates competence. This does not create a “substandard” cohort of pharmacy professionals, nor put Ontarians at risk. The demand for pharmacists and professional services will continue to grow as the COVID19 pandemic evolves. Emergency registration is overdue and absolutely necessary.
Please allow temporary licensing for new pharmacists. With all of the extra “hands on board” required to get through this pandemic, it is clear that those waiting in the wings should be allowed to join forces with those already on the frontlines. They are not there already due to the cancellation of the last set of exams….cancelled because of the pandemic.
I am hopeful that the proposed creation of an emergency registration certificate class of pharmacy professionals will be successful in order to alleviate the current shortage of practising pharmacists. One should not lose sight of the fact that while certain large metropolitan centres may not be experiencing acute shortages, other geographical areas in Ontario including ones that are underserved even under normal circumstances are experiencing a significant shortage of pharmacists. This is compounded by the situation that a large number of pharmacy graduates from the class of 2019 have been unable to complete their OSCE requirement due to Covid-19 restrictions. Given that the graduates have undergone significant practical training in their 4th year, and many have passed Part 1 of the PEBC exam, I am confident that they would be able to perform the role of a licensed pharmacist very competently. With the impending need to administer over 70 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccines, it would be only prudent to maximize the capacity of the health care system to help eradicate the pandemic. Moreover, during the past 9 months, a great number of patient ailments have not been dealt with due to the inability or reticence of patients to meet with their physicians. In many cases, diagnostic tests have been postponed. As these patients get their medical issues addressed in the coming years, the capacity of the entire healthcare system must be enhanced. The proposed measure will best position the province to deal with these challenges.
Increased demand for pharmacists: – According to the OCP COVID-19 Workforce Survey: 81% of pharmacies reported workforce challenges due to COVID-19. The most affected staff were pharmacists (80%). 62% of pharmacies report having challenges in hiring replacement staff. At the time, this survey did not include the additional workload of COVID-19 testing – ~1/3 of Ontario pharmacists are >50yr, and 13% are >60yr. Many pharmacists in this age group have reduced their availability to work. – In efforts to reduce potential disease transmission between stores, pharmacists are asked to work at only one store. – COVID-19 testing, available at select community pharmacies, is a controlled act that can only be performed by a pharmacist. This, in addition to the administration of the influenza vaccine during the Fall/Winter months, has further increased pharmacist workload this year. Canadian Pharmacy Interns are competent to practice independently: – The PEBC MCQ pass rate is 91.0% and the OSCE pass rate is 94.1% for Canadian graduates. The majority of new graduates have successfully completed the MCQ, but have not had the opportunity to challenge the OSCE due to examination cancellations secondary to the COVID-19 pandemic. – PharmD programs in Ontario (University of Toronto & University of Waterloo) have a pass rate of ~ 96% for the OSCE. – UofT PharmD students are required to complete a minimum of 1320 hours (33 weeks) of direct patient care rotations. UofT’s PharmD program exceeds the minimum requirement for the number of direct-patient-care hours needed for entry-to-practice by CCAPP. In comparison, Manitoba and Nova Scotia pharmacy graduates (BScPhm) have completed 640 and 800 hours of direct patient care, respectively. Learnings from other provinces and what other professions are doing: – Other health care regulatory bodies (e.g. nurses, physicians, physiotherapists, chiropractors, dieticians, midwives) have granted conditional/emergency licensure during the pandemic to meet public demand. – Conditional/Emergency/Full pharmacy licensure has already been granted in many other Canadian provinces (Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Quebec) for new graduates. – These additional health care workers are essential to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with the upcoming approval of many COVID-19 vaccines. – By enacting this regulation, OCP will be prepared in future situations to call on the emergency designation. UofT Pharmacy Class of 2020
We need more pharmacists to manage our health care needs. Especially at these challenging times when it is difficult to see a doctor for routine ailments. My doctor is not close to my residence and as a result we have used the local pharmacist to get health advice and to get over the counter meds. My whole family could not get an appointment with my doctors office for flu shots. We ended up getting the flu shots from a pharmacist. It has been fantastic for the pharmacists to be able to administer these shots. What a change from having to line up to get the N1H1 vaccine. What a change it would be to have more pharmacists available to roll out the Corona vaccine. We do need more pharmacists to manage the growing need of our health as there are less and less family physicians. Please give emergency assignment registration certificates for pharmacists to help the growing need to manage the public’s health.
The unique circumstances we currently have calls for a unique response. While there may not be some obvious demand for pharmacist in the big city areas like Toronto, there’s a huge need to fill the workforce in other areas. I have worked with interns and they have demonstrated that they are competent, in addition they will have available access to Registered Active Part A Pharmacist in this capacity.
I strongly support the proposed amendments. Applicants have already been required to do 6 month rotations if not more. These rotations require them to conduct themselves as pharmacists within a dispensary with minimal supervision. Had they not met the standard, they would not have graduated from CCAP-accredited program. As a pharmacy applicant with 3 job offers, I can attest to the shortage of pharmacists Ontarians are experiencing during this pandemic. I support the OCP in acting in the benefit of the public by ensuring qualified candidates are being licensed in a timely manner.
Pharmacy interns in Ontario are qualified health care providers. They have completed education and training necessary to provide exemplary patient care. The amendment will allow these professionals to practice independently, earning a fair wage. During these unprecedented times, pharmacy professionals have continued to deliver patient care despite increased workload and burden. Pharmacists are needed NOW more than ever. I have personally seen more pharmacists working and overlapping to provide professional services such as vaccinations and COVID testing. We will absolutely see these professionals take on new roles including administering the COVID vaccine in the coming months. It is imperative that this amendment comes to fruition in order to enable the newest pharmacy graduates to practice, and continue to deliver outstanding patient care, during this global health crisis.
If an applicant feels that they are ready to practice as a pharmacist in their jurisdiction then they have the right to apply for an emergency certificate. For myself I would not feel comfortable applying as I would need to have unbiased feedback to assess my readiness to be responsible for public pharmaceutical care.
As a private citizen I would highly recommend that organization should seriously consider in these challenging times granting emergency assignment registration certificates for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians advance the College’s public protection mandate. This will help us all to tackle our medical needs in current situation where there is urgent need of medical professionals and these young folks can greatly help us. I hope assocation seriously look at the circumstances and grant young people registration certificate.
I am a pharmacy graduate who has been affected by the delays in licensing and registration. I support this amendment. Firstly, interns practicing direct patient care are for the most part practicing to full pharmacist scope at a fraction of the pay. For those who were expecting to get licensed months ago, this has caused significant financial burden and stress for many who have upwards of 100K in debt. Many of us completed unpaid clinical rotations at the height of the pandemic. Who was liable for our increased workload in lieu of a promised learning experience, and why aren’t we being supported now that we ask for fair compensation? Secondly, as with any healthcare professional providing care, accountability and liability come with knowing that you are providing services that you are comfortable with and have adequate knowledge in. Why is the competency of our new grads being questioned when the difference between an intern and a fully licensed pharmacist is a few months and a couple of exams? Most of us, if not all, have written the MCQ portion of the exam and a passing grade on this should be proof enough that we have a sufficient amount of knowledge for **emergency registration**. This is not to say that we should bypass the OSCE portion entirely, as I do believe that this should still be completed for full registration. However, these times have called for measures that should have been put into place at the very beginning. Thirdly, if the only reason behind not supporting emergency registration is because there isn’t a visible shortage/there is an oversaturation of pharmacists, this is an issue that should be taken up with pharmacy school admissions committees and licensing bodies. New grads should not be punished for the lack of job prospects when the system forces it to be that way.
I support issuing an emergency license.
This emergency licensure is something that is required more than people understand during this pandemic. Individuals deeming that there “is not a shortage of pharmacists” fail to see the bigger picture. This is emergency licensure during a pandemic. As this pandemic grows more troublesome, it will put further strain on the pharmacy profession as the covid vaccine is rolled out. The perceived lack of shortage is from individuals not understanding that northern towns and cities all over Ontario are in fact suffering from a shortage of healthcare professionals. These individuals receiving this emergency licensure would not be put to work blindly as managers are in charge of hiring competent professionals that represent them and are under their supervision. So those who think that incompetent people will be hired and potentially cause harm to the public are mistaken. Those commenting that they are concerned about their jobs and job security because there “is no shortage” are in fact not speaking and acting professionally.
COVID is akin to a natural disaster. The College must fulfill its mandate to the public by granting Emergency Registration Certificates to as many qualified practitioners as possible as soon as possible! This is an easy decision by the College. Congrats on having the consultation period reduced to 10 days!
Current pharmacy interns are more than qualified to work as pharmacists if they have already passed their MCQ exams. Many interns graduating from Ontario universities have been working in community practice for 4+ years. Also, with covid testing and upcoming covid vaccines, a boost in the workforce will be needed.
Working in suburban Pharmacy expecting huge increase of patients demand since the beginning of pandemic.. To provide proper care need help . Very hard to find available Pharmacist . Would be appreciated if new grads can start practicing as soon as possible.
I fully support the issuing of the emergency licence. Pharmacists are an integral part of the health care system and are needed now more than ever. I am hopeful that The Ministry of Health will do the right thing and grant these licenses before the end of 2020
I strongly believe that this emergency licensing should go through. Pharmacy students that have recently graduated have undergone VIGOROUS training throughout school and in rotations. We are required to pass three 4 month blocks of co-op, as well as 6 months of rotations in pharmacy settings. On top of that, most of us have jobs in pharmacies across Ontario where we successfully conduct therapeutic checks as well as counselling patients accurately. We have been working throughout the COVID pandemic and aiding in the smooth running of pharmacies throughout Ontario. It is entirely unfair that we don’t get to practice individually and don’t get the proper pay we deserve. A lot of the time we are doing more than current pharmacists are, and are more competent and current with our knowledge than other pharmacists are.
Fully supportive of the new emergency assignment certificates. Hopefully these regulations will be passed soon to allow recent graduates, who have not been able to do their PEBC exams, to practice as pharmacists without DIRECT supervision. Many other provinces already allow this.
Pharmacy interns graduating from a Canadian pharmacy school are qualified to be practicing independently as Pharmacists. One of the concerns is that Interns have not completed the PEBC mcq and OSCE. However, many interns have actually completed the mcq, and with the implementation of virtual mcq tests there is no longer a backlog. As for the OSCE component, Canadian graduates have completed multiple OSCE’s throughout pharmacy school, in fact at the University of Waterloo there is a high stake OSCE that students must pass to graduate. Moreover, there are Pharmacists currently practicising that have not completed the OSCE as it was not alway a requirement. Also, both UofT and Waterloo students must complete months of practise in a pharmacy through co-op placements, rotations and APPEs. Also, many pharmacy interns have been practicing in pharmacies throughout the pandemic with minimal supervision. Practise and experience makes one a good pharmacist and most interns have that or are working towards it, one OSCE exam is not going to help with this. Some Pharmacists are concerned with over saturation, specifically in the GTA. If not for the delays due to COVID, many interns would be licensed and practicing as well as competing for those jobs. Also, many interns had jobs already lined up that they lost because of delays in licensure. This argument is the same as saying that we should stop the entry of all new pharmacists for the next few years. Having Interns work within the full scope of a Pharmacist, but paying them 1/3 of the wage is disgusting and decreases the value of the profession. Interns are qualified, prepared and ready to join the workforce and should be provided emergency licensure so that can do so.
As a recent pharmacy graduate affected by the OSCE cancellation in November 2020, I can without a doubt state that the workforce is not only short on pharmacists, but assistants and technicians. This is because 1) many staff members are hesitant to work due to exposing their at risk family members, 2) staff members must self-isolate but are having trouble finding replacements, and 3) staff members retiring early as they are concerned for their own health. Due to these 3 main reason, I have been called on more frequently to provide relief to pharmacies. Clearly, there is a need for more individuals to help alleviate the strain during the pandemic. However, due to the pandemic, recent graduates cannot be licensed in a timely fashion after a number of PEBC cancellations. Despite this, recent graduates have stepped up to fill this shortage of personnel in the pharmacy. The ’emergency’ registration would not only benefit the pharmacies in need, but it will ensure fair compensation for the recent graduates who stepped up to provide their services during this time of need.
As someone who has already completed the first examination required to practise as a pharmacist and has had my chance to take the OSCE twice cancelled, I would whole-heartedly welcome these changes. Most of these comments against this resolution cite concerns over the new graduates abilities to practise however it should be noted that most of the new graduates have already been fulfilling the full extent of the pharmacist scope as interns under supervision anyways. There would be measures in place for those granted emergency status that would allow for continued supervision. The comments that also make reference to issues with an over-abundance of pharmacists also fail to consider other areas within the province where that may not be the case. These changes should be accepted for the sake of the students, profession and most importantly, the public.
This change is a fantastic idea. Most of the comments here say we don’t need more pharmacists but I wonder how many here say that from the GTA and fail to consider other communities including more rural ones. These students are fresh out of school, most of have them have already passed the first of the two exams. They are absolutely capable of doing being pharmacists and I support these changes!
I worry about the safety of allowing these pharmacists and technicians to practice independently when they have not passed the necessary exams. The pandemic means there is much more stress in the working conditions and I worry how qualified these people are. Who will be accountable if they do not practice appropriately and cause harm? Why do we not just call upon retired pharmacist/technicians if there is a need? And from what I have heard from my local pharmacy, there is no shortage of staff anyways.
This move has taken far too long to materialize. As a member of the college, I am firmly in favour of addressing the reality that is affecting students and interns. Let’s follow this up with additional sittings of the licensing exams to get professionals-in-waiting into the workforce and ready to serve the citizens of Ontario.
This would provide staffing support the various community locations where I work. This would be excellent for support of patient care and minimize errors in busy pharmacy practices and allow more time with patients.
While I understand the importance of the OSCE exam, many interns have and continue to build on significant experience as we await licensure. As there is no longer a backlog of candidates for part 1 of the exam, success on this portion of the licensing process can add additional confidence in interns ability to practice independently. Considering there are many pharmacists practicing today that were licensed before the OSCE requirement, I believe interns that were successful on part 1 of the PEBC licensing exam are prepared to practice under the conditions proposed for Pharmacist (Emergency class). Reading over the proposed changes, I believe further information is needed regarding how a pharmacist is to supervise while not physically present (ex. as an emergency class pharmacist, do I need to be able to have a pharmacist that I can contact by phone?). Clarification of this point will help workplaces organize in a way to allow this class of registrants practice to their fullest. Thank you for taking the time to read my feedback.
The delays in certifying RX2020 Pharm D UW graduates has already resulted in a decrease in licensed pharmacists. The current pandemic has put an incredible strain on the pharmacy profession. An Emergency certificate would put these graduates to work sooner since there is no guarantee as to when they will be able to do OSCE exams. These grads are ready to work in their field. Some have already lost job opportunities since they have not been given the usual opportunities to certify.
I may be off base on this but I believe this situation was brought to the boards attention secondary to the outcry from pharmacy students that the PEBC board would not permit them to write their exams and thereby prevent them from entering practice as they planned. Ostensibly due to the pandemic but in reality just poor planning and laziness from everyone elses perspective. I’m sure there were challenges but obviously they were managable, and they chose not to manage them. If this is OCP’s solution to THAT problem, I think it’s a bad one. I’ve worked with many pharmacy students and technicians, both before and after licensure and the passing of their OSCEs and PEBCs, and while these exams certainly aren’t perfect, they are the standard everyone needs to meet. If the emergency class is approved I feel like it will create some new kind of pharmacist/technician that could be viewed by the public as substandard. I would hate for the profession to have to deal with the fallout of a complaint on an emergency pharmacist who never would have passed their exams. The idea of emergency pharmacists is nice, but there is no emergency if we’re being honest. The corporate board membership of OCP certainly is lobbying for this as it effects them at a corporate level financially. But as a practicing pharmacist we need to be honest, there is no shortage of pharmacists and no pressure from the public to obtain more pharmacists/pharmacies. Who in the government is determining, ‘with the college’ that this shortage exists? What metrics are being used? Cynically I wonder if these details are absent because this is a done deal and there really is no need. So I will not be cynical, I will simply ask: where is the data to support this ’emergency’? I think a better solution to this problem is not having one organization control all of the ability of everyone across Canada to obtain licensure. It’s a monopoly that ensures good standardization, but it clearly needs vast improvement or it needs to have it’s monopoly removed. It also needs to bear more direct responsibility for this debacle. Obviously OCP has no control over this so I suppose having the ability to skip over their inadequacy when needed is what this resolution amounts to. I just worry about the college playing semantic games and creating ’emergency’ measures that allow them to make a lot of pharmacists very rapidly, and what consequences that would have on the profession long term. Why not simply have a resolution that if you’ve passed school you can start practicing and have to complete the exams within a certain amount of time? Wouldn’t that be a more simple solution to this instead of all this bluster about emergencies?
I fully support this. We are one of the last colleges in Ontario to do this: and the this framework will enable a robust response to the evolving demands of CoVid in communities around Ontario.
Not required to implement Emergency Registration class as already have lots Pharmacist in canada in every province.
Good Idea actually
ultimately it depends on which region that is being examined in Ontario. GTA for example is oversaturated, there is no need for additional certification in this region. Some Rph are struggling to find a full time position and even if full time status is acquired, some rph are not getting enough hours because of what is defined as full time by the employer of the organization. This renders some Rph to seek relief work on top of the full time job. On top of the usual canadian rph, there are increasing number of floating international rph, leaving the market even more unsatisfiable..
I am a pharmacy student (not currently in the cohort of students who need this) representing myself. As a pharmacy student, I work part time at 3-4 different pharmacies and in recent days I have noticed a deficit in the available workforce. Pharmacists themselves are either being asked to pickup more shifts due to someone else taking quarantine days, or bringing in pharmacists from other cities/districts which goes against the logic of lockdown measures. Not only that, the same is occurring with pharmacy support staff (assistants, technicians etc.). I have been called to work much more than any other time in my 4+ years in the field. The call to action for pharmacy interns should not be theirs to bear alone and it is my opinion that the system/college should bear some of the burdens that come with said call to action. That said, the OSCE should remain a requirement albeit a deferred one. The risk to the public if not implemented is that pharmacists become overworked and begin to make errors all in the name of responding to the call to action and working because we swore an oath. The line has already been crossed by taking the path too far and potentially endangering patients because of it.
Recently Justin Bates from 0PA announced that the pharmacy new grads are desperately looking for job .may be they should be employed and trained where they are needed
I am concerned that we may put people in a position of authority/responsibility, that may not be entirely ready for such position. Will we end up harming the public in our rush to swell our ranks?
The idea is promising that it implies the college is responsive to emergency situations. However the market is highly saturated and there is no need for such process .
Covid-19 has stretched pharmacists to their limits in so many ways already. With the Covid-19 vaccines coming, we will need all available hands on deck to help with the population vaccination effort. Fully functional and licensed pharmacists will be able to help maintain patient safety in what will be an even more chaotic pharmacy practice environment. If new grads are educated already, let them practice and help the cause.
Is an “express” re-certification for retired pharmacists being considered for the sole purpose of injecting the Covid-19 vaccine?
I feel allowing Emergency Assignment Registration Certificates is very important for public safety as well as Pharmacist professionalism. I feel that in order to meet the demands of all the activities that pharmacists now perform in supporting the health of our community – COVID related and not – that this is a necessary step. Failure to do so jeopardizes not only the ability if pharmacists to provide expanded scope services, but also even safely perform the more traditional activities of our profession. Our schools of pharmacy provide thorough and high quality education that creates very skilled pharmacists. I know because I have spent many years hosting them in my practice for internships and co-ops. I feel strongly that this new assignment of registration could be handled safely with appropriate supervision while allowing myself and other pharmacists to practice at the top of our licences.
I AM OKAY WITH TEMPORORY REGISTERATION CERTIFICATE IF THER ARE SHORTAGE OF THE PHARMACISTS .
Should have been done six months ago. Failure to do so was irresponsible.
I admit to being sheltered in hospital environment, but cannot help but be skeptical when I hear there is a pharmacist “shortage”. Two queries: 1) what body has identified this shortage? (For example could it be big chain stores trying to drive down their labour costs by flooding the market with more human resources?) 2) what “quality” metrics will be in place to ensure the safety of the public? Will the barriers to practice ensure quality of pharmacy services is maintained?
I am happy to know that part-B pharmacists can help out during Pandemic and It would be well worth to have this on Board for an emergency use. Pharmacists have shown tremendous courage and helped many people during this pandemic. I’m 100% voting positive for this amendment.
I think this is an excellent idea. Pharmacists are overworked and the pharmacy interns have been practicing for over a year with ⅓ of the rph pay. They are more than ready, as long as they have phone access to a rph
I see the amndment as unnecessary. There is a very large number of pharmacists in Ontario, much more than the demand. This affected the pharmacist oay rate and thus the service provided to the public. Adding more “emergency registrants” would result in firther strain on the profession, and a risk to the public with professionals not fully equipped or ready to take the responsibility during such an emergency.
I do not believe there is a shortage of pharmacists. In fact, there is an over abundance of pharmacists. I have been trying to get a full time or another part time position and have not been successful. I have been trying since Sept 2020. My current temporary full time mat leave assignment stops Jan 3. Perhaps, hospitals could be more open to community pharmacists working in a hospital setting without having previous hospital experience or a residency. Hospital pharmacists work in community pharmacies without prior experience but the reverse is not true – that’s where the shortage is.