Government approves regulatory changes designed to enhance patient access to care – now in force

Posted:Nov 10th, 2021
Read Time: 2 Min Read

Regulations enable pharmacy technicians to administer the influenza vaccine and extend temporary authorization for pharmacists to renew and adapt prescriptions for Controlled Drugs and Substances

The provincial government has approved regulatory changes – now in force – that are designed to provide patients with greater access to care in Ontario pharmacies following the College’s recent submission of proposed regulatory amendments.

Pharmacy technicians authorized to administer influenza vaccines

Pharmacy technicians who have completed an OCP-approved injection training course and registered their training with the College are, effective immediately, authorized to administer influenza vaccine by injection to patients two years of age or older, in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s Universal Influenza Immunization Program (UIIP), all applicable practice standards and guidance, and amendments to O. Reg. 202/94 (General) made under the Pharmacy Act (to be filed as O.Reg. 766/21 in the coming days).

This follows government approval of recent regulatory amendments submitted by the College recognizing the demands of the current flu season on pharmacies already offering COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. The government also supported the Board’s request to waive the consultation period in light of the importance of these changes to enhance patient care during this flu season.

This permanent expansion of scope acknowledges that pharmacy technicians were authorized to administer the COVID-19 vaccine as part of a provincial government exemption earlier this year, and they have demonstrated that they have the knowledge, skills and judgment to administer the technical components of the influenza vaccine. Valid certification in CPR and First Aid is recommended but not mandated at this time, as pharmacy technicians will only administer the vaccine under supervision and in a setting where other healthcare professionals are required to have this certification.

Pharmacy professionals may refer to the following additional resources:

Province extends temporary authorization for pharmacists to renew and adapt prescriptions for Controlled Drugs and Substances

The provincial government has also approved an extension to the amendment to O. Reg. 202/94 (General) made under the Pharmacy Act, 1991 to continue to temporarily allow pharmacists to renew and adapt prescriptions for controlled drugs and substances until September 30, 2026. This enables a recent Health Canada extension to its Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) subsection 56(1) class exemption. Consultation related to this regulation change was also waived by the government.

As the Health Canada exemption may be changed prior to that date, depending on the status of the current pandemic, the College may have to amend the regulation again at a future date to remain aligned.

The Health Canada exemption was intended to limit unnecessary physical contact during the COVID-19 outbreak and to ensure continuity of care for patients with chronic conditions who require controlled drugs and substances if self-isolating and practicing social distancing or whose physician is unavailable due to the pandemic.

Pharmacists may refer to the Prescribing and Providing Controlled Substances during the Coronavirus Pandemic guidance document for additional information.

Patients are reminded that not all pharmacies may offer all of these services. Please contact your pharmacy to find out what healthcare services they have available.