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DRAFT Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians

Consultation No. 2023-05A Open
Submission deadline: Wednesday, July 12, 2023, at 4:30 p.m. MT


The Council of the Alberta College of Pharmacy (ACP) has approved DRAFT Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians (SPPPT), for the purpose of conducting 60-day consultation with regulated members and interested parties.

In 2020, ACP Council identified a strategic goal to ensure “there is a modern and relevant framework to regulate pharmacy practice.” A key objective with this goal is to ensure “standards are current, relevant, clear, concise, and appropriately balance inputs, processes, and outputs.”

The existing standards of practice were developed in 2007 in response to pharmacists being granted an expanded scope of practice that included prescribing and administering drugs and vaccines by injection. The standards were updated in 2011 to recognize and include pharmacy technicians as a regulated profession in Alberta, and additional changes were made in 2021 to accommodate animal health in pharmacy practice. Despite these changes, the standards have remained mostly unchanged since their inception. Through the evolution of Alberta’s population, our health system, and the practices of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians much has been learned. The new standards will support Alberta’s pharmacy professionals to continue as world leaders in pharmacy practice.

The draft standards reflect a shift in pharmacy practice to one that is person-centred and focuses on patient outcomes. The draft standards focus on professional relationships and patient assessment, anticipating the changing nature of pharmacy practice and the evolving roles of regulated members. Regulated members now practise in an increasing number of different locations and types of practice settings and the draft standards recognize these changes.

As pharmacy practice has changed, so too has the pharmacy team. The draft standards describe the collaborative partnership between pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, and outline the roles, responsibilities, and intersection between the two professions.

In developing the standards, ACP conducted a comprehensive environmental scan of standards of practice that included provincial, national, and international health profession regulatory agencies. This scan identified opportunities to improve our standards. One of the key opportunities identified was the need to develop a structure for the standards that represented the different facets of pharmacy practice. As a result, eight domains have been used to organize the standards. 

  • Each domain has a domain statement that summarizes and contextualizes the standards within that domain.
  • Within each domain, the standards are divided into sections by topic, similar to the existing standards. Under each topic there are the outcome-based standards (noted by two numbers, e.g., 1.1, 2.1, etc.). These standards are written as patient-centred outcomes and are broad.
  • Under each outcome-based standard, there are descriptive standards (noted by three numbers, e.g., 1.1.1, 1.1.2, etc.). These descriptive standards support the outcome standards and are more specific. The descriptive standards are grouped by their target audience (e.g., all regulated members, pharmacists, or pharmacy technicians).

These domains are represented visually in a circle, as health care is a non-linear process. Person-centred care is placed in the centre of the circle, as it is foundational and necessary for all pharmacy practice.

Similarly, professionalism and leadership are always expected of regulated members, regardless of their practice setting or the professional service being provided. This domain encircles all others as success in performing all other domains depends on it.

Finally, these standards have been informed through the advice of external reviewers including pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and members of the public, who have helped shape and guide their development.

Documents for review and comment period

The draft standards are available to review within the following document:

Comments about the draft standards are welcomed prior to Wednesday, July 12, 2023, at 4:30 p.m. MT. Council will consider feedback received in late 2023.

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