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A pharmacy may close for a maximum of 14 consecutive days without surrendering its pharmacy licence, if it adheres to the following Council guidelines:

  • the pharmacy closure is for a maximum of 14 consecutive days (or another period approved by ACP) each calendar year;
  • except in emergency situations, the licensee must obtain ACP’s approval for the closure 30 days prior to the temporary closure start date;
  • all prepared prescription recipients must be contacted to advise of the closure and given the opportunity to obtain their prepared prescriptions prior to the temporary closure start date;
  • except in emergency situations, notices to the public (using in-store postings and media announcements) must be made at least 30 days prior to the temporary closure start date;
  • signage must be posted at the store entrance, and a voicemail message must be provided, advising the public about the closure, its duration, the location of the nearest licensed pharmacy, and other information to assist with obtaining necessary pharmacy services during the closure period;
  • arrangements must be made for emergency access to the pharmacy’s patient records in accordance with the respective provincial or territorial privacy legislation; and
  • in single-pharmacy communities, alternate arrangements must be made with local prescribers or pharmacies in nearby communities.

If your pharmacy is contemplating a temporary closure, the licensee or temporary pharmacist in charge must notify ACP via email at

ACP will notify you if we have any questions regarding your notification.

Emergency temporary closure

A pharmacy may be forced to close unexpectedly in an emergency. An emergency temporary closure may be due to unforeseen circumstances that make the premises temporarily inaccessible to the public. Examples include flood, water damage, earthquake, wildfire, evacuation order, fire, structural damage, etc. Staffing issues do not qualify for pharmacy closures longer than 14 days.

If your pharmacy is forced to temporarily close due to an emergency, please notify ACP via email at as soon as possible. In an emergency, the requirement to obtain approval 30 days prior to the pharmacy closure is waived. If the emergency is due to a natural disaster, the pharmacy may be permitted to close for a period longer than 14 days if required.

In the event of an emergency temporary closure, if possible

  • ensure the pharmacy is locked and secured from unauthorized access to all drugs and patient records;
  • update telephone voicemail, signage, pharmacy websites, and all social media with information to notify the public of the closure and any other information that will assist your patients with obtaining necessary pharmacy services during the closure period; and
  • advise patients that they can receive care at other pharmacies.

When it’s time to reopen the pharmacy

  • Exercise caution and professional judgement in using drugs that may have been impacted or rendered non-useable during the closure.
  • Do not use refrigerated drugs or vaccines affected by fridge temperatures that were not maintained due to power disruptions. If there is no evidence that temperatures were maintained, you must assume they were not.
  • Conduct narcotic counts and reconciliation as soon as possible after the pharmacy has opened.
  • Check Netcare before providing service to returning patients, as their medication therapy may have been modified at the “emergency” pharmacy they attended during the closure of their regular pharmacy.
  • If there has been structural damage to the pharmacy or unauthorized access to the premises has occurred, consider if there may be the possibility of a breach of personal health information.

If there was a change to the physical facilities, space, or layout of the pharmacy as a result of the emergency situation, you may need to submit an application for pharmacy renovation prior to reopening.

If the physical facility is rendered un-useable, or if the pharmacy is not expected to reopen in the foreseeable future, the pharmacy may be directed to permanently close. To reopen the closed pharmacy, you may need to follow the process for a new pharmacy opening.