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Council update

October 13, 2021
Amendments to standards are coming, and budget and business plan for 2022 are reviewed.

Council met virtually for one half day on each of September 28 and 29, 2021. This was the first meeting under the college’s new governance structure, including our full slate of 50 per cent public members appointed by the Minister. Following is a summary of Council’s deliberations and decisions:

Armed robberies in pharmacies

  • Council received a presentation from the provincial police working group that ACP has participated with over the past six months to address the rapid escalation in armed robberies in pharmacies. During the period of January 2018 to August 2020, there were 35 armed robberies in Edmonton and eight in Calgary. Between September 2020 and August 2021, there were 90 armed robberies in Calgary and 35 in Edmonton. The level of violence has escalated, with both pharmacy staff and patients being victimized. ACP conducted an environmental scan across Canada and the U.S. to determine the most successful solutions implemented in other jurisdictions to prevent armed robberies in pharmacies. Clearly the best solution was time-release safes. Since time-release safes have been mandated in British Columbia, armed robberies in pharmacies have diminished substantively.
  • Council approved amendments to the Standards for the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies for the purpose of consultation. Feedback received from registrants and stakeholders will be considered by Council in December. The DRAFT standards have been supported by the Association of Provincial Chiefs of Police and are proposed to come into effect July 1, 2022.

Amendments to ACP standards to support animal health

  • Schedule 19 of the Health Professions Act was amended through Bill 65 earlier this year to authorize pharmacists’ and pharmacy technicians’ roles in supporting animal health. Consequential amendments were made to the Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians Profession Regulation were approved in June. The scope of practice for pharmacists serving animal health is limited, as it does not include authority to administer injections to animals, and provides limited prescribing authority of any drug (e.g., Schedule 1, 2, or 3). Prescribing is solely authorized for the purpose of continuing care where treatment has been previously established for short periods, when a veterinarian is not available to complete assessment and provide authorization. The Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians and the Standards for the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies have both been amended to recognize these changes. Watch for further discussion in The Link about these amendments later this fall, in advance of them coming into effect on January 1, 2022.

Consequential amendments to the Standards of the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies resulting from amendments to the Pharmacy and Drug Act

Earlier this year, the Pharmacy and Drug Act was amended, shifting some regulation-making authority to standard- and bylaw-making authority. Council considered amendments to the standards to accommodate this transition. Watch for consultation about the proposed amendments once a date for proclamation of the amendments to the Act is declared.

Budget and business plan (2022)

Council reviewed a DRAFT budget and business plan for 2022, including three-year estimates for 2023 and 2024. The plan invests in ACP’s five-year strategic plan and addresses increasing operational demands experienced by the college, reflective of a growing membership and number of pharmacies. The plan includes re-investment of the short-term surpluses that ACP built up during the first phases of the pandemic that will result in

  • enhanced programs to provide better assurance that pharmacy professionals are prepared for success in Alberta’s health system, creating more consistent patient experiences and expectations;
  • an updated legislative framework that is relevant and effective in a constantly changing health environment, where new technologies and other innovations invite new opportunities for patients and changing expectations of regulated members; and
  • ACP and pharmacy professionals becoming more proficient in collecting, analyzing, and using data to make more informed decisions that contribute to the health and wellbeing of Albertans.

Key initiatives in 2022 include

  • Legal framework
    • Define the limits of a modern practice framework to better clarify what falls within pharmacy practice.
    • Review and update ACP Standards.
  • Meeting practice expectations
    • Pilot and launch the final version of the bridging program for internationally educated pharmacy graduates.
    • Define core competencies and professional behaviours for pharmacy licensees.
    • Implement initial phase of a Practice Improvement Program.
    • Update rules to the Continuing Competence Program.
  • Data Intelligence
    • Develop and implement new membership information system (Merlin) to support all ACP programs.