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One of the Alberta College of Pharmacy’s roles is to govern the operation of licensed pharmacies in Alberta. So, who can own and operate a pharmacy?

A proprietor, as defined by the Pharmacy and Drug Act (PDA), is a person who owns, manages, or directs the operation of a facility in which a licensed pharmacy is located and exercises a significant degree of control over

  • the management and policies of the licensed pharmacy, or
  • the conduct of the regulated members who are employed by the licensed pharmacy.

As indicated in the Pharmacy and Drug Regulation (PDR), an application for a pharmacy licence must include “evidence satisfactory to the registrar that the proprietor has managed or directed the operation of a pharmacy or is capable of managing or directing the operation of a pharmacy in compliance with the Act.”

A proprietor may or may not be a pharmacist. In some cases, a proprietor who is a pharmacist may also be the licensee of the pharmacy.

The licensee is a pharmacist who applies for and holds the pharmacy licence under the PDA to operate a pharmacy. The licensee is typically the pharmacy manager. A licence to operate a pharmacy may only be issued to a pharmacist.  

A pharmacist who applies for a pharmacy licence must accept responsibility to personally manage, control, and supervise the practice of pharmacy in the pharmacy in accordance with the PDA, any order made under the Act, the Code of Ethics, and the Standards for the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies. Licensees must have an active presence at the pharmacy to personally supervise day-to-day operations and ensure that practice proceeds in accordance with the law that governs pharmacy operations, drug distribution, the practice of pharmacists, and the practice of pharmacy technicians.

A proprietor must take reasonable steps to ensure that the licensee of the proprietor’s pharmacy is capable of

  • managing the practice of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in that licensed pharmacy, and
  • ensuring compliance with the Standards for the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies.

To qualify to become a licensee, a pharmacist must complete ACP’s Licensee Education Program. Prospective proprietors must complete the Proprietor’s Self-Assessment.

Full descriptions of the responsibilities of the licensee and the proprietor are found in the PDA and the PDR.