History of College Oversight of Hospital Pharmacies

On August 1, 2016, new regulations to the Drug and Pharmacies Regulation Act (DPRA) gave the Ontario College of Pharmacists the authority to licence and inspect hospital pharmacies. Expectations of practice for pharmacy professionals were not changed.  


In 2013, there was an incident of chemotherapy underdosing in four Ontario hospitals and one hospital in New Brunswick. In response, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care of Ontario commissioned Dr. Jake Thiessen to do an independent review and produce a report on the incident. 

Dr. Thiessen made several recommendations in his report, including one suggesting that the Ontario College of Pharmacists license and inspect all pharmacies operating within Ontario’s clinics or hospitals. 

New Regulation

In response to the report, the government introduced Bill 21: Safeguarding Health Care Integrity Act, 2014, which amended the regulation to the DPRA to: 

  • provide the College with the authority to license and inspect pharmacies within public and private hospitals, in the same manner it currently licenses and inspects community pharmacies 
  • enable the College to enforce licensing requirements with regard to hospital pharmacies 
  • allow the College to make regulations to establish the requirements and standards for licensing, operation and inspection of hospital pharmacies 
  • provide the government with the ability to extend the College’s oversight to other institutional pharmacy locations in the future, as appropriate 

In addition, the new regulation incorporated an outcomes-based approach to the language, designed to improve the relevance of the regulatory framework over time. By removing specific expectations from the regulation and moving these into supplemental standards, policies, guidelines and processes, the College is able to respond to changes in practice and public expectations in a timelier manner. 


To support the new regulation, the College: 

  • made changes to the By-Law to include fees for the issuance and renewal of certificates of accreditation 
  • developed hospital assessment criteria through a comprehensive, collaborative process  
  • conducted baseline hospital assessments  

Hospital pharmacies are now issued certificates of accreditation, which must be renewed on an annual basis. In addition, hospital pharmacies undergo regular assessments every one to two years.  

A listing of hospital pharmacies including the date and status/outcome of assessments after August 1, 2016, can be found on Find a Pharmacy or Pharmacy Professional.