Expanded Scope of Practice

Recently, the provincial government has made regulations under the Pharmacy Act that expanded the scope of practice for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in Ontario to ensure patients have enhanced access to safe, quality healthcare.

January 1, 2023 – Pharmacists are authorized to prescribe certain classes of drugs for 13 minor ailments. This expanded their existing scope to initiate treatment with varenicline or bupropion for smoking cessation.

July 1, 2023 – Pharmacists are authorized to administer substances listed in the regulations by injection and inhalation for treatment purposes. This expanded the existing scope of administering these substances solely for the purpose of patient demonstration and education. New injected substances were also added to the list, which expanded the possible routes of administration to include IV (via an established access device) along with IM and SC.

October 1, 2023 – Pharmacists authorized to prescribe for an additional six minor ailments. The AHFS categories for classes of drugs were removed and replaced by a list of specific drugs for each of the 19 ailments.

December 12, 2023 – A number of important expanded scope activities related to the vaccination and treatment of COVID-19, influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) came into effect for Ontario pharmacy professionals, including:

    • Part A pharmacists, registered pharmacy students, interns and pharmacy technicians are authorized to administer the RSV vaccine to patients 5 years of age and older.
    • Part A pharmacists are authorized to prescribe Oseltamivir (Tamiflu)
    • The authority for Part A pharmacists to prescribe Nirmatrelvir/Ritonavir (Paxlovid) transitioned from the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA), Controlled Acts Regulation (107/96) to O. Reg 202/94 (General) of the Pharmacy Act. This did not represent a change to practice.

April 1, 2024The authority for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to administer COVID-19 vaccines transitioned from an exemption under the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA), Controlled Acts Regulation (107/96) toO. Reg 202/94 (General) of the Pharmacy Act. This did not represent a change to practice.

Additional scope changes introduced prior to 2023 are highlighted on the Evolution of Pharmacy Scope of Practice page.

Information for Patients

Patients are encouraged to speak to their pharmacist to find out what healthcare services they offer and whether they are right for their needs.

Pharmacists with injection training can better support their patients with the routine injection or inhalation of medications. This will benefit patients being treated for conditions including osteoporosis, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis who may have difficulties with self-injection or who fear needles, or those who may require assistance with inhaled medications for conditions such as asthma.

Having the legislated authority to prescribe for minor ailments does not mean all pharmacists must offer or provide this service.