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Council update

June 28, 2023
Highlights from the April and June 2023 Council meetings.

Election of officers

ACP Council has elected Deb Manz (public member) as president-elect of Council.

James Frobb was elected executive member at large for the 2023-24 Council term. His term commences July 1, 2023. Rounding out the executive committee will be newly installed president Patrick Zachar and outgoing president Irene Pfeiffer (public member) who will serve as past president.

Engagement with Indigenous pharmacy leader (Dr. Jaris Swidrovich – University of Toronto)

Dr. Swidrovich, founding chair of the Indigenous Pharmacy Professionals of Canada, addressed Council virtually, and engaged in discussion about his experiences growing up as an Indigenous youth in Saskatchewan, the challenges that Indigenous youth face in pursuing careers as health professionals, and good practices that pharmacy team members should demonstrate to optimize the experiences of Indigenous patients.

Pharmacy human resources

Council initiated a discussion about the pharmacy workforce crisis. This is an international issue that is impacting pharmacy practice across the world.

In Alberta, there are more pharmacists and pharmacy technicians per 100,000 Albertans than ever before, yet we are experiencing a significant shortage of both. The experience in rural Alberta differs from that of urban centres. Factors contributing to this shortage are multiple and complex; however, the additional load that pharmacy teams have faced in addressing public and primary health needs are significant.

Governments are attempting to address human resource demands through

  • international and domestic mobility policies;
  • encouragement of professionals to work to full scope of practice and, where appropriate, consideration of expanded scopes of practice; and
  • growth in domestic educational and training programs (this is a longer-term strategy).

The pharmacy human resource challenge has quickly become a priority amongst most national pharmacy organizations. ACP will continue our engagement provincially and nationally with regulators, advocacy organizations, pharmacy team educators, and employers to build a path to a healthy future. After all, only healthy pharmacy teams can support the health of those they serve.

Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians

In April, new Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians (SPPPT) were approved for the purpose of consultation. It has been 16 years since the standards were last wholistically reviewed, and consistent with ACP’s strategic goal to achieve a modernized regulatory framework, it is timely that this comprehensive review has occurred. The foundation for the standards is “person-centred care,” a concept often talked about, but less frequently practised. This places patients at the centre of everything that pharmacy team members do. Only after engagement with and assessment of the patient can appropriate decisions be made about drug therapy and complementary alternatives that may be appropriate. Council encourages regulated members to review the DRAFT standards and to share what you support, where you are uncertain about expectations, or areas that are concerning. If you have concerns, kindly seek to understand the foundation for the proposed standard, provide reasons for your concern, and include your suggestions about how the standard could be improved upon.

Standards for the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies

In April, Council approved principles for developing new Standards for the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies (SOLP). In June, Council approved the domain structure for the new SOLP. A draft SOLP will be presented to Council in December 2023, for the purpose of seeking approval for consultation.

Competencies for pharmacy licensees

After consultation, Council approved the new Licensee Competencies Framework. The framework will inform current and prospective licensees, proprietors, and proprietor’s representatives about their responsibilities, support the development of a second generation of ACP’s Licensee Education Program, and support improvement of licensee practices and behaviours where determined necessary.