Glossary of Terms
Here you’ll find simple definitions for some of the terms on Find a Pharmacy/Professional. If you require additional clarification, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Abeyance — Abeyance is a legal term meaning to temporarily or indefinitely postpone something.
Accreditation — Accreditation is a term used to indicate authorization for operation. When the College accredits a pharmacy in Ontario, we are saying that we believe it meets the requirements, and is authorized to operate. All pharmacies in Ontario are required to be accredited by the College. Accredited pharmacy programs are education programs that have been accredited by an organization approved by the College’s Board.
Accreditation number — The College assigns each pharmacy a unique number when it becomes accredited and authorized to operate in the province. The number, known as their accreditation number, stays with the pharmacy as long as it is owned by the same person, in the same location.
Acknowledgement — Usually paired with an undertaking, an acknowledgement is a signed document from a pharmacy or pharmacy professional formally recognizing a practice concern. The undertaking that goes along with the acknowledgement includes details about what the pharmacy or pharmacy professional will do to remedy or avoid the practice concern in the future.
Allegations — Allegations are unproven statements that a person or corporation has done something wrong.
Assessment (pharmacies) — Assessments (referred to in legislation as inspections) occur routinely in all pharmacies. Practice advisors visit a pharmacy to ensure it is adhering to the Standards of Operation, and the public is receiving safe and effective care. Learn more about the assessment process.
Due to public health measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the College will conduct the majority of operational and practice assessments through comprehensive virtual meeting formats (remote video assessments) until further notice. College advisors will continue to thoroughly assess pharmacies and registrants against all established relevant standards; in-person assessments will be conducted on a case-by-case basis. Read our “Information About Remote Assessments” news post to learn more.
Assessment Outcome (pharmacies) – When a practice advisor visits a pharmacy, they assess its operations and processes to determine if it is operating safely. The practice advisor uses defined assessment criteria to determine if the pharmacy is safe, or if further action is required. The outcome of all community pharmacy assessments that occurred after July 1, 2013 are posted on Find a Pharmacy/Professional. The outcome of all hospital pharmacy assessments that occurred after August 1, 2016 are also posted. There are several potential outcomes, depending on what the practice advisor observes at the time of the assessment.
- Pass: If no notable issues are identified at the time of the assessment or re-assessment, the pharmacy receives a pass and the assessment is complete. If only minor issues are identified at the time of the assessment or re-assessment that do not impact patient safety, the pharmacy is granted the opportunity to rectify the issues within 30 days. The practice advisor will follow up to ensure they are satisfied that the issues have been addressed. The pharmacy receives a pass and the assessment is completed.
- Reassessment required: If issues that have the potential to affect public safety are identified at the time of the assessment, the practice advisor may choose to order a re-assessment and another practice advisor will re-visit the pharmacy to ensure that all issues are rectified.
- Referred to Accreditation Committee: If there continues to be issues that have the potential to affect public safety at the time of a re-assessment, the practice advisor may refer the pharmacy to the Accreditation Committee. Pharmacies that are awaiting review by the Accreditation Committee have an outcome of Referred to Accreditation Committee
- Pending Committee Report: Once the pharmacy is referred to the Accreditation Committee, the committee may choose to order a re-assessment of the pharmacy. Following the assessment, the practice advisor will provide the committee with a report outlining the issues identified at the re-assessment visit. Prior to the committee making a decision based on this report, the pharmacy will have an outcome of Pending Committee Report.
- Pass with Conditions: Following a referral to the Accreditation Committee, the committee may issue an outcome of Pass with Conditions if they are not assured that operational issues have been addressed. An operations advisor will conduct a re-assessment and the results will be returned to the committee for further review.
Visit the Community Pharmacy Assessment page or the Hospital Pharmacy Assessment page to learn more.
Assessment Reason (pharmacies) – There are a number of reasons that a practice advisor will conduct a pharmacy assessment, including:
- Routine assessment: All pharmacies undergo routine assessments every one to four years, depending on the activities performed at the pharmacy and the risk of harm those activities pose to the public.
- New opening and new opening follow up: All pharmacies are assessed and given authorization to operate (accredited) prior to opening day. Additionally, a practice advisor will conduct a follow up assessment within three to six months after opening.
- Acquisition: A change in ownership (if an existing pharmacy is purchased by a new owner) is equivalent to opening a new pharmacy, and requires an assessment before opening day.
- Relocation: A change in location (if an existing pharmacy moves to a new address) also requires an assessment before opening day.
- Re-assessments and Re-assessments ordered by the Accreditation Committee: Re-assessments may be ordered by a College practice advisor or may be escalated and ordered by the Accreditation Committee. Visit the pharmacy assessment page for more information about the re-assessment process.
- Accreditation Committee Report. This is not an assessment, but is the date that the Accreditation Committee considered the results of the assessment/re-assessment report provided to them by the practice advisor.
Assessment (pharmacy professionals) — Practice advisors routinely assess pharmacy professionals in their place of practice to ensure they are adhering to the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics, and are delivering safe, effective and ethical care. Learn more about the assessment process.
Can provide patient care — This group includes pharmacists in “Part A”, pharmacy technicians, students and interns who are authorized by the College to provide patient care, and have no conditions on their right to practice pharmacy.
Can provide patient care – with conditions — This group includes pharmacists in “Part A”, pharmacy technicians, students and interns who are authorized by the College to provide patient care, but who have condition(s) on either their right to practice pharmacy or are relevant to their suitability to practice pharmacy. For example, a pharmacy professional might have a condition that restricts him or her from dispensing narcotics. Conditions can be imposed by Committees of the College or other authorities such as bail conditions imposed by a court. Details about the condition(s) can be found under the Concerns tab of the pharmacy professional’s profile.
Cancelled for Non-payment — Each year, every pharmacist and pharmacy technician must pay a fee to the College as part of the annual renewal process. If a pharmacy professional does not pay the annual fee, they will be suspended for non-payment and are not entitled to practice. After 120 days, if they have still not paid the fee, they are cancelled for non-payment. The pharmacy professional is no longer registered with the College and is not entitled to practise pharmacy in Ontario.
Certificate of Accreditation — All pharmacies authorized to operate in the province receive a Certificate of Accreditation.
Certificate of Authorization — Pharmacy professionals who wish to establish a health profession corporation must first obtain a Certificate of Authorization from the College. Learn more about health profession corporations.
Certificate of Registration — All pharmacy professionals authorized to practice in the province receive a Certificate of Registration. The certificate is renewed annually and is often displayed in the pharmacy professional’s practice location or workplace.
Community pharmacy — Community pharmacies are located in your neighbourhood, and are open to provide retail pharmacy services and care to the public.
Concerns — the Concerns tab on Find a Pharmacy or Pharmacy Professional is home to information that the College is aware of that is relevant to a pharmacy or pharmacy professional’s suitability to operate or practice. Visit What’s Public (and what’s not) About Pharmacies and What’s Public (and what’s not) About Pharmacy Professionals to learn more about the type of information that is available on a pharmacy or pharmacy professional’s Concerns tab.
Conditions or TCLs (Terms, Conditions and Limitations) — If there are concerns about a pharmacy or pharmacy professional, the College may impose conditions on their right to operate or practise. Conditions are like stipulations, constraints or restrictions. They usually say the pharmacy or pharmacy professional can operate or practice normally, except for whatever is stated in the condition. For example, a pharmacist might have a condition stating that they can not dispense narcotics. A pharmacy might have a condition stating that it can not provide care for methadone patients. Details about the conditions can be found under the Concerns tab of the pharmacy or pharmacy professional’s profile.
Designated manager — Each pharmacy owner in Ontario must appoint one pharmacist who is employed at the pharmacy to be responsible for managing the pharmacy. This person must perform certain additional duties in the pharmacy, such as ensuring appropriate processes and procedures are in place to ensure patients receive safe, ethical and quality pharmacy care.
Discipline — A pharmacy professional may be referred to the College’s Discipline Committee if there are allegations of professional misconduct, proprietary misconduct, or incompetence against them. The Discipline Committee has the authority to make findings and revoke, suspend, or limit a pharmacy professional’s practice, impose a fine, and/or reprimand the pharmacy professional. Learn more about the Discipline Process.
Does not provide patient care — Pharmacists in “Part B” do not provide pharmacy services directly relating to patient care. These practitioners often work in administrative roles, corporate offices, academia or government. Learn more about Part A and Part B of the Register.
Drug preparation premises (DPP) — Facilities where pharmacists or pharmacy technicians engage in or supervise compounding of drug products (such as reconstituting, combining, and mixing two or more substances without a prescription for a specific patient). These compounded drugs are often sold to hospitals. The public does not have access to a DPP. Learn more about drug preparation premises.
Entitled to operate — Pharmacies in Ontario that have been authorized to operate by the College, and have no conditions on their right to operate.
Entitled to operate – with conditions — Pharmacies in Ontario that have been authorized to operate by the College, but have conditions on their right to operate. For example, a pharmacy might be authorized to operate normally, except they are not permitted to provide sterile compounding services. Conditions can be imposed by Committees of the College. Details about the condition(s) can be found under the Concerns tab of the pharmacy’s profile.
Fitness to Practise — Matters related to a pharmacy professional’s health that could be affecting their ability to deliver safe, effective and ethical care. See below for the definition of incapacity or learn more about Fitness to Practise.
Health profession corporation — A health profession corporation is a specific type of professional corporation that is restricted to regulated healthcare professionals. Pharmacy professionals who own their own company often set up a health profession corporation for business or tax purposes. The College maintains a list of pharmacy professionals who have health profession corporations. Learn more about health profession corporations.
Hospital pharmacy — Hospital pharmacies are located within public or private hospitals, and serve patients who are receiving care as in or out-patients in a hospital. They are not open to the public. Many hospitals also have community pharmacies located near their entrance to serve the public — these are considered community pharmacies.
Incapacity — A pharmacy professional can be found to be incapacitated by the College’s Fitness to Practise Committee. A finding of incapacity means that the practitioner is currently suffering from a physical or mental condition (e.g. substance use disorder, mental health disorder) and requires either a suspension from practice or terms, conditions or limitations on their practice in order to maintain public safety. The College posts information about findings of incapacity on the Concerns tab of a pharmacy professional’s profile. This information is removed when the practitioner demonstrates they are no longer incapacitated.
Incompetence — A pharmacy professional can be found to be incompetent by the College’s Discipline Committee. A finding of incompetence means that the practitioner displayed a lack of knowledge, skill or judgment that demonstrates they are unfit to practise, or that their practice should be restricted.
Inspections — See definition for “Assessments” above.
Interim Order — Interim orders are fairly rare, and can be made by College committees in circumstances that pose a significant and immediate public safety risk. For example, the Inquiries, Complaints & Reports Committee (ICRC) can make an interim order to suspend or limit a pharmacy professional’s practice while that person is awaiting a hearing with the Discipline Committee.
Intern — Interns are graduates from an accredited pharmacy program and are working toward becoming registered pharmacists. Interns must work under the supervision of a pharmacist at all times.
Non-accredited workplace — Many pharmacy professionals — especially those who do not provide patient care (in Part B) — work in locations that are not accredited by the College. An example of this would be a corporate head office or an association.
Not entitled to operate — Pharmacies that are not entitled to operate are not authorized to provide pharmacy services. Pharmacies in this group may have stopped operating on their own accord (i.e. closed, sold or relocated) or might have been forcibly closed (i.e. revoked). If a pharmacy is not entitled to operate, the reason why is clearly stated on its profile.
Not entitled to practise — Pharmacy professionals who are not entitled to practise are not allowed to provide pharmacy services or care to the public. People in this group may have left practice on their own accord (i.e. resigned), or might have been forced to leave (i.e. suspended or revoked). If someone is not entitled to practice, the reason why is clearly stated on their profile.
Oral caution — The College’s Inquiries, Complaints & Reports Committee (ICRC) may order a pharmacy professional to receive an oral caution. The Committee will order an oral caution when it has a significant concern about conduct or practice that may have a direct impact on patient care, safety or the public interest if it is not addressed. An oral caution is a face-to-face discussion between the practitioner and the ICRC to review the issue and to discuss the changes the practitioner will make to help avoid a similar incident from occurring in the future.
Part A — Pharmacists in Part A of the register provide patient care. They must provide a minimum of 600 hours of patient care over the previous three years. Learn more about Part A and Part B of the Register.
Part B — Pharmacists in Part B of the register do not provide patient care. Learn more about Part A and Part B of the Register.
Pharmacist (Emergency Assignment) — Applicants authorized to practise as a pharmacist in Ontario during a provincial emergency after having met the education requirement to register as a pharmacist or having current or recent practice as a pharmacist in a jurisdiction approved by the College’s Board. Pharmacists (Emergency Assignment) are considered to be registrants, and must work under the supervision of a Part A pharmacist.
Pharmacist Emeritus — Any pharmacist who has practiced continually in good standing in Ontario and/or other jurisdictions for at least 25 years can voluntarily resign from practice and make an application for the Pharmacist Emeritus designation. Pharmacist Emeritus are not permitted to practice pharmacy in Ontario
Pharmacy Technician (Emergency Assignment) — Applicants authorized to practise as a pharmacy technician in Ontario during a provincial emergency after having met the education requirement to register as a pharmacy technician or having current or recent practice as a pharmacy technician in a Canadian jurisdiction approved by the College’s Board. Pharmacy Technicians (Emergency Assignment) are considered to be registrants, and must work under the supervision of a Part A pharmacist.
Previous Breach – Addressed: The registrant did not successfully complete the required remedial training by the required date as specified by the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee. This breach was addressed by one of several options, including (a) the registrant completing the required remedial training at a later date, (b) the registrant entering into an Undertaking and Acknowledgement with the College to complete the required remedial training by a certain future date, or (c) by the investigation of the registrant’s conduct regarding the original breach.
Professional misconduct — Generally, professional misconduct is an act or omission that is in breach of the accepted ethical and professional standards of conduct for pharmacy professionals. The Pharmacy Act and the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) detail exactly what is considered professional misconduct.
Proprietary misconduct — Generally, proprietary misconduct is an act or omission that is in breach of the accepted ethical and professional standards for operating a pharmacy. The Drug and Pharmacies Regulation Act (DPRA) details exactly what is considered proprietary misconduct.
Provides pharmacy services in – The language(s) in which the pharmacist or pharmacy technician is capable of providing patient care. This information is self-reported and is not verified by the College.
Qualifying education — In order to register as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician in Ontario, applicants must have graduated from an accredited pharmacy education program, or an international pharmacy education program recognized by the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada, or a College-approved bridging education program.
Registrant — In order to practice in Ontario, every pharmacy professional (pharmacist, pharmacy technician, intern and student) must be registered with the College. Pharmacy professionals are often referred to as registrants.
Registration in other jurisdictions – A list of other jurisdictions where the pharmacist or pharmacy technician is registered with a pharmacy regulatory authority. This information is self-reported and is not verified by the College.
Registration number — The College assigns each pharmacy professional a unique number when he or she first registers with the College. The number, known as their registration number (or OCP number) stays with the pharmacy professional indefinitely.
Remedial training —If the College’s Inquiries, Complaints & Reports Committee (ICRC) believes that remediation is necessary, it will direct a registrant to complete remedial training — also known as a specified continuing education and remediation program (SCERP). The ICRC directs remedial training if there is a serious care or conduct concern that requires a pharmacist or pharmacy technician to upgrade his or her skills. Generally, the remedial training is required to be completed within one year, unless an extension is granted.
Information about the specific remedial training the ICRC has directed the registrant to complete is available on the registrant’s Concerns tab, including the name of the program and the status of that activity, which can include:
- Pending: The registrant has been notified by the ICRC of the required remedial training and the completion is in progress.
- Complete: The College has received notification that the required remedial training has been successfully completed.
- In Breach: The required remedial training has not been successfully completed by the required date as specified by the ICRC. These situations are brought to the attention of the Registrar for further action.
- Registrant Resigned: The registrant resigned from the College before completion of the required remedial training. In these situations, the registrant will typically enter into an undertaking agreeing to complete the required remedial training before re-applying for a certificate of registration, subject to the Registrar’s discretion.
- Registrant Deceased: The registrant passed away before the College received notification of completion of the required remedial training.
- Moved to Part B: The registrant moved to Part B of the College’s Register (see definition of “Part B” above) before completion of the required remedial training. In these situations, the registrant will typically enter into an undertaking agreeing to complete the required remedial training before apply to move to Part A of the College’s Register, subject to the Registrar’s discretion.
- On Hold: The requirement to complete remedial training has been placed on hold pending a review of the ICRC’s decision by the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board or by the divisional court.
- Not Applicable: There has been a change to the required remedial training after the ICRC issued their decision such that the initial remedial training is no longer required (e.g. alternative remediation has been substituted at the direction of the Registrar).
- Revoked: The registrant’s certificate of registration has been revoked.
Remote dispensing location — A remote dispensing location (RDL) is a site where drugs are dispensed or sold by retail to the public and that is operated by, but is not at the same location as, a pharmacy whose certificate of accreditation permits its operation. The remote dispensing location might be an automated pharmacy system or a place staffed by a pharmacy technician. Every remote dispensing location is supervised remotely by a pharmacist who is present at the accredited pharmacy.
Rescinded — A certificate of registration may be rescinded if an individual provided false or misleading information on their application for registration and they likely would not have been issued a certificate of registration had the College known they were providing information that was untrue and/or inaccurate.
Resigned — If a pharmacy professional notifies the College that they no longer wish to practice pharmacy in Ontario, they are noted as resigned. This could be because of retirement or other voluntary reasons.
Revoked — If a pharmacy professional is forced to leave the profession because of serious misconduct, competence or other issues, their certificate of registration is revoked.
SCERP — Specified continuing education and remediation program (SCERP). See the definition for “remedial training” above.
Student — Students are currently studying at an accredited pharmacy program or have graduated from an international pharmacy graduate program, and are working toward becoming registered pharmacists. Students must work under the supervision of a pharmacist at all times.
Suspended for discipline — If the College’s Discipline Committee finds a practitioner guilty of professional or proprietary misconduct, it may choose to suspend the practitioner for a specified period of time. Suspensions are ordered for very serious misconduct or incompetence issues. If a practitioner is suspended, details about his or her suspension are available on the Registration History and Concerns tabs on their profile.
Suspended for non-payment — Each pharmacist and pharmacy technician must pay an annual fee to the College. A person who does not pay their annual fee will be suspended for non-payment and are not entitled to practice. After 120 days, if the practitioner still has not paid his or her fee, they are cancelled for non-payment. See the definition for cancelled for non-payment above.
Suspended – Other — Pharmacy professionals rarely have a status of suspended – other. It is used when a pharmacy professional is suspended for a reason other than for discipline or non-payment. It may also be used where the College and the pharmacy professional have entered into an agreement or undertaking where the pharmacy professional agrees to remove themselves from practice for an unspecified period of time.
TCL — Terms, conditions and limitations. See definition for “conditions” above.
Undertaking — Undertakings are binding and enforceable promises from a pharmacy or pharmacy professional to the College. A practitioner may enter into an undertaking to practise with conditions — or not practise at all — when there is an identified concern about practice. For example, a pharmacist might agree not to act as a Designated Manager or dispense narcotics. Similarly, a pharmacy may enter into an undertaking to operate with conditions — or not operate at all.
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