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Two pharmacy technician regulation policy changes

March 8, 2011

ACP continues to work with Alberta Health and Wellness (AHW) toward the regulation of pharmacy technicians. ACP council has approved what we believe is the final draft of the amendments to the Pharmacists Profession Regulation. The draft is currently being reviewed by AHW legal counsel.

Following a successful review, cabinet must approve the amendments before an effective date can be established. We are hopeful that this approval will occur soon and will share specific dates as soon as they are available. However, the delay in legislation approval has resulted in ACP council introducing two changes to policy.


Two changes to ACP policy

Taking into account legislative delay and pharmacy technicians’ concerns about the deadlines for transition, ACP council has made two changes to previously established policies.

  1. Candidates with 2000 hours practice experience now qualify for membership on the Voluntary Pharmacy Technician Register.
  2. Deadlines for completion of the PEBC Evaluating Exam and completion of the transition pathway have been changed.

Criteria for Registration on the Voluntary Technician Register
Due to the delay in approving the new regulation, the voluntary technician register is still in effect. Therefore, council has changed the requirements for membership to allow candidates with a minimum of 2,000 hours of work experience in the field of pharmacy in Canada within the past three years to become members on the voluntary register. (Note: PEBC requires candidates to have 2,000 hours of work experience before writing the Evaluating Exam. They will make an extension to 48 months to accommodate maternity leaves.)

Effective March 1, 2011, the criteria for membership on the voluntary register are as follows:

  • Previous membership on the voluntary register OR
  • Graduation from an accredited pharmacy technician training program OR
  • Successful completion of the PEBC Evaluating Exam (or PTCB-Alberta or OCP exam) OR
  • A minimum of 2,000 hours of work and/or teaching in the field of pharmacy in Canada in the past 36 months. *

*An application form for the voluntary register is posted on the ACP website. The application includes a declaration that must be completed by those who are registering based on their work experience.

This change means that all candidates who qualify to write the PEBC Evaluating Exam and to follow the transition pathway to regulation are now eligible for membership on the voluntary register. The voluntary register for pharmacy technicians will remain in place until the new regulation comes into effect.

When the regulation comes into effect, pharmacy technicians will become regulated health professionals under the Health Professions Act. The regulation creates new registers for pharmacy technicians. The provisional pharmacy technician register will be for those individuals who are working toward regulation but have not yet completed all the requirements. The qualifications for the provisional register will be the same as the new qualifications for the voluntary register. However, because provisional pharmacy technicians will be regulated health professionals some additional information will be required.

More information on the registers and registration requirements that will be created after the regulation comes into effect.

Changes in Deadlines in Transition Pathway
In light of the legislative delay, ACP council voted to remove the deadline to complete the PEBC Evaluating Exam by January 1, 2013. Instead, two new rules have been put in place.

  1. Candidates must successfully pass the PEBC Evaluating Exam within two years of registering on the provisional register.
  2. Effective January 1, 2014 the qualifications for registration on the provisional register will require that candidates have either graduated from an accredited training program or have successfully completed the PEBC Evaluating Exam (or PTCB-AB or OCP exam).

As described previously, the provisional pharmacy technician register will be for those individuals who are working toward regulation but have not yet completed all the requirements. The regulation includes a rule that registrants can only stay on the provisional register for two years. There is a provision that allows candidates to apply for an extension; however, extensions will not be granted unless the individual has passed the PEBC Evaluating Exam.  The Evaluating Exam is offered twice each year, usually in April and October. This schedule and the change in the deadline provide individuals who are currently working in the field with five opportunities to write the exam before the deadline. Please consult the PEBC website for more information on exam schedules and application deadlines.

Clarifying transition process deadline
Previous ACP communications indicated that all individuals who intend to qualify as regulated pharmacy technicians via the transition path must complete the transition process by 2015. However, there have been inconsistencies regarding whether this deadline is at the beginning or the end of 2015. The deadline to complete the transition process is December 31, 2015.

For additional information about regulation of pharmacy technicians, the transition pathway and the requirements for becoming a regulated pharmacy technician please consult the ACP website.