In December 2009, following intensive lobbying and advocacy work by the Ontario Pharmacists Association on behalf of our members, the provincial government approved Bill 179, which expanded the scope of practice for pharmacists. In October 2012, the regulations under this law were passed, outlining the specific requirements and limitations of pharmacists’ new scope of practice.
The Ontario Pharmacists Association was an active and vocal supporter of Bill 179 and worked hard for many years to achieve its passing into law. We believe that expanding the scope of practice for pharmacists is a positive step for health care in Ontario, providing patients with improved access to a more complete suite of healthcare services. We also believe it is beneficial to pharmacists, allowing them the opportunity to more fully apply their skills and knowledge, and help more patients in more ways.
Scope of practice activities
Today, Part A pharmacists are authorized to perform the following tasks:
- Renew or adapt prescriptions. With the exception of narcotics and controlled and targeted drugs, pharmacists may continue a course of therapy for patients with a chronic or stable condition. They may also alter the dose, formulation, regimen, or route (e.g. from a tablet to a liquid for patients who have trouble swallowing pills).
- Prescribe certain drugs for smoking cessation. Pharmacists may provide information about quitting smoking and may initiate smoking cessation therapy by prescribing an approved drug.
- Provide annual influenza vaccinations. Pharmacists who have the appropriate injection training may administer the influenza vaccine to patients five year of age and older within the context of the province’s annual Universal Influenza Immunization Program (UIIP).
- Administer drugs by injection or inhalation for education and demonstration purposes. For example, if a pharmacist needs to show a patient newly diagnosed with asthma how to use their inhaler, the pharmacist can now demonstrate using the medication instead of a placebo.
- Perform procedures on tissue below the skin to support patient self-care and chronic disease monitoring. This might occur, for instance, when a pharmacist is showing a diabetic patient how to get a blood sample for blood glucose testing and needs to perform the procedure on the patient to demonstrate.
For more on the specifics of scope of practice activities, please view the Ontario College of Pharmacists’ Expanded Scope of Practice Orientation Manual.
Tools and forms
The Ontario Pharmacists Association has developed tools and forms to help pharmacists implement these services, and we will continue to develop new resources as needed. To download prescription adaptation and renewal forms, smoking cessation forms, influenza vaccine injection forms, and other forms related to scope of practice activities, please visit the Expanded Scope page of the Tools and Forms section (login is required).
Future advocacy work
The Ontario Pharmacists Association believes there is still more that can be done to improve the healthcare system by more actively involving pharmacists in patient care. We continue to work on behalf of our membership to bring further enhancements to the scope of practice of the profession.