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Pharmacy Technicians

Pharmacy technicians are not new members of the pharmacy team. They have been supporting pharmacists in carrying out the practice of pharmacy for many years. What is new is the fact that in recent years, a lot of work has been undertaken by pharmacy regulatory authorities across Canada to create a regulated framework to oversee their practice.

The development of a regulated framework for pharmacy technicians was the logical next step in the evolution of pharmacy practice in an effort to increase patient safety and improve patient care. It allows the pharmacy technician to better support the pharmacist, allowing the pharmacist to focus more on the clinical aspects of patient care.

Pharmacy technicians are now a regulated health profession in several jurisdictions in Canada. The legislative changes and regulatory controls required to create a new regulated profession are in place in those jurisdictions and in progress in others. In all jurisdictions, it is intended that the competency requirements and standards of practice for pharmacy technicians be consistent across the country in order to facilitate labour mobility. Pharmacy technicians across Canada will be required to demonstrate that they meet certain criteria and register with/obtain a licence from the pharmacy regulatory authority in their jurisdiction prior to working as a regulated pharmacy technician.

These changes to the profession have also led to an expanded scope of practice for pharmacy technicians. The scope of practice and activities allowed may vary slightly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, however in all jurisdictions, the pharmacy technician must follow the standards of practice, are responsible for their own actions and are accountable to the public.

The National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) has developed national entry-to-practice competencies, national language proficiency requirements and national standards of practice for pharmacy technicians. NAPRA also maintains the National Pharmacy Technician Bridging Education Program for use across the country. Further information on the bridging education program can be found in the section of the same name.