What is Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)?

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is a framework that promotes an environment where individuals from all backgrounds feel valued, respected, and included, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, or any other characteristic that makes them unique. The goal of EDI is to create a culture that embraces diversity and ensures equity in access to opportunities and resources. EDI works to foster a sense of belonging and engagement, especially amongst individuals who have historically been underrepresented or subject to discrimination.

Why Does EDI Matter in Healthcare and Pharmacy?

EDI is crucial in all aspects of healthcare including pharmacy. Healthcare professionals have a legal and ethical obligation to provide equitable care to all patients. Pharmacy professionals work with a diverse range of populations, and they are responsible for ensuring that everyone has equal access to healthcare services regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. To achieve this, healthcare professionals must continually educate themselves and identify inherent biases and prejudices and overcome them to foster an environment where everyone can experience an equal level of care.

Benefits of EDI:
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Improving Health Outcomes: Patients are more likely to follow their treatment plans and experience better health outcomes when they receive care from pharmacy professionals who understand and respect their cultural background and identity. This highlights the need for pharmacy professionals to be aware of the differences in their patients’ cultures and lifestyles, so they can provide personalized care and improve the health outcomes of their patients.

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Reducing Health Disparities: Health disparities are defined as differences in health outcomes between different populations. These disparities can be attributed to various factors, such as access to care, socioeconomic status, and cultural barriers. Pharmacy professionals who are aware of these factors can work to reduce health disparities by providing equitable care to all patients.

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Attracting and Retaining a Diverse Workforce: Pharmacy leaders who prioritize EDI are more likely to attract and retain a diverse workforce. A diverse workforce can bring unique perspectives and experiences that can help improve patient care, retention and outcomes.

OPA’s Commitment to EDI

OPA is committed to promoting and expanding our EDI efforts in all aspects of the Association and throughout the pharmacy profession. We believe that a diverse and inclusive pharmacy profession is essential for providing equitable healthcare services to all individuals. Fostering EDI will provide growth and learning opportunities, increase job satisfaction and create work environments that are safe, innovative and collaborative for pharmacy professionals.

Additionally, we are increasing EDI efforts internally amongst staff and Board. Embracing equity, diversity and inclusion is essential for us and our organizational culture so we can help the communities we serve to achieve better outcomes, address racism, and reduce disparities. Established in 2023, OPA’s EDI Working Group is led by staff and serves as a vital conduit to explore and gather innovative ideas to promote EDI and channel these ideas to our Senior Leadership Team to build into OPA’s Strategic Plan.

EDI Driving Pharmacy Advocacy

As part of our commitment to ensuring that EDI is a critical component of our advocacy efforts, we conducted a Professional Needs Assessment survey in 2022. We received over 3,600 responses, allowing us to gain a better understanding of the landscape in which pharmacy professionals in Ontario practice. This strategic research aimed to examine fundamental demographic shifts, economic trends, and labor market dynamics within the pharmacy sector.

Based on the survey results, OPA’s 2022 Wage and Benefits Report provides valuable insights into the trends, attitudes and realities facing the sector across Ontario, in addition to the current challenges in the profession and where solutions need to be implemented. As critical next steps, OPA is conducting further analysis of the survey data to better examine identified wage disparities impacting specific segments of the pharmacy profession, and what impact, if any, other possible contributing factors could be having, including but not limited to job tenure and role. This will be followed by a necessary collaboration with other key stakeholders to identify solutions and make progress toward closing these gaps.

The Indigenous Pharmacy Professionals of Canada (IPPC)

OPA is proud to be the first provincial association to support the Indigenous Pharmacy Professionals of Canada (IPPC). The IPPC is an association dedicated to representing and empowering Indigenous pharmacy professionals across Canada while actively striving to eradicate anti-Indigenous racism within the pharmacy and healthcare sectors. OPA is honoured to support this crucial Indigenous-led initiative that aims to create a more inclusive and equitable environment within the pharmacy profession. By supporting the IPPC, OPA is committed to amplifying Indigenous voices, advancing cultural competency and fostering meaningful collaborations to address systemic barriers faced by Indigenous pharmacy professionals.  Learn more about the IPPC here.

OPA Resources:

Please note that our list of resources will be continuously updated with new content. Be sure to check back regularly for additional valuable resources.

Other Valuable Resources: