Ontario has become the first province in Canada to register pharmacy technicians as a health profession.

pharmacy technicians, Ontario College of Pharmacists, OCP, Ontario Pharmacists' Association, OPA, pharmacy, pharmacist, Bonnie Hauser, Deanna Williams, Dennis Darby, Canadian Association of Pharmacy Technicians, drug therapy, health profession, patient care

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Pharmacy technicians gain 'official' status in Ontario

December 7th, 2010

TORONTO – Ontario has become the first province in Canada to register pharmacy technicians as a health profession.

The Ontario College of Pharmacists (OCP), the licensing and regulating body for the pharmacy profession in Ontario, said that pharmacy technicians officially became recognized as a new class of registrant when its new Registration Regulation (Ontario Regulation 451/10) made under the Pharmacy Act was proclaimed late last week.

OCP expects to begin registering pharmacy technicians after the regulation is published on Dec. 7. In accordance with the new regulation, only individuals registered as pharmacy technicians with the OCP will be permitted to use that title in Ontario, the college noted.

"The passing of this regulation, which authorizes our college to register qualified pharmacy technicians as a new and separate class of registrant, signifies a major milestone for Ontario and the entire pharmacy profession," OCP president Bonnie Hauser said in a statement. "The regulation of pharmacy technicians will enable pharmacists to take on an enhanced role in the provision of comprehensive patient care services to the public."

OCP said it began the process of regulating pharmacy technicians in 1998, after deciding that the creation of this class of member, with the appropriate training, could enable registered technicians to take responsibility for certain dispensing activities within the pharmacy and allow pharmacists to expand their services and scope of practice to improve patient care.

"I am very proud of the leadership demonstrated by both the college and the Ontario government in making Ontario the first jurisdiction in Canada to formally regulate pharmacy technicians as a new health profession," commented OCP registrar Deanna Williams. "The pharmacists, technicians and other stakeholders who participated in our task forces and working groups over the years helped to identify how a technician's role could evolve into a regulated position, with the same rights, responsibilities to the public and accountabilities as other regulated health professionals."

The announcement was welcomed this week by the Ontario Pharmacists' Association (OPA).

"Pharmacy technicians are vital in supporting patients' health and in improving pharmacy workflow to the benefit of the patient and the pharmacy staff," stated Dennis Darby, OPA's chief executive officer. "The association and its members look forward to working with registered pharmacy technicians to explore opportunities to allow both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to excel in their chosen fields."

OPA said it has long supported the regulation of pharmacy technicians and has been actively involved in discussions with OCP and other health care stakeholders on the issue. The association added  that it will continue to work with OCP and the Canadian Association of Pharmacy Technicians to identify processes that could be taken on by technicians to take maximum advantage of their skill set while enabling pharmacists to turn their attention to providing more comprehensive, patient-centered services in the area of drug therapy.