The Alberta College of Pharmacists (ACP) is the governing and regulatory body for the pharmacy profession in Alberta. We govern pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacies in order to support and protect the public’s health and well-being.
- register pharmacists and pharmacy technicians;
- license pharmacies;
- measure and support the competence of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians;
- participate in local, provincial, and national forums when health policy is debated;
- develop and enforce pharmacy practice standards and guidelines; and
- resolve complaints about pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacies.
ACP makes sure pharmacy care is appropriate, effective, and safe for you and your family.
Every year thousands of people are admitted into hospitals because they did not take their medication properly.
Please talk to your pharmacist. Do not leave the pharmacy or hospital until you fully understand how to use your medication properly.
What do you need to know to take your medication safely?
- Why am I taking this medication?
- How and when should I take this medication?
- Is there anything I should or should not eat or drink while I am taking this medication?
- What should I do if I miss my dose?
- How will I remember to take my medicine?
- I have allergies. Is it safe for me to take this medication?
- Are there any side effects I should watch for?
- What should I do if I don’t feel well after I take my medication?
- Will my medication interact with other drugs, vitamins, or herbal supplements?
- Is it safe to drink alcohol or drive while I am taking this medication?
- Can I take this medication if I am pregnant or breast-feeding?
- How will I know if this medication is working?
- If I feel better can I stop taking it?
- Where should I keep my medication?
Prescribing activities can be grouped into three general categories:
- Initial access prescribing—prescribing when a patient chooses a pharmacist for advice about and treatment of minor, self-limiting or self-diagnosed conditions, about wellness programs, or in urgent or emergency situations
- Prescription modification—modifying a prescription written by another prescriber to alter dosage, formulation, regimen or duration of the prescribed drug, or provide a therapeutic alternative to improve drug therapy or provide continuity of therapy
- Comprehensive drug therapy management—initiating, maintaining, modifying or changing drug therapy based on referral from another health provider who has made the diagnosis or upon the request of the patient upon receiving a diagnosis.
- Pharmacists prescribing is dependent on good communication between the pharmacist, the patient, and the other health professionals on the patient's health care team. Patient health and safety always come first.
- Each pharmacist must limit their prescribing to their areas of professional competence.
- Pharmacists must meet additional specific criteria set by the college to be authorized to initiate new drug therapy and/or to manage ongoing therapy.
- Pharmacists will only prescribe if they have sufficient information to make decisions on safe and effective drug therapy.
Pharmacists do not need additional training to adapt or renew a prescription, or to prescribe in an emergency. Most pharmacists have five years of university education in drugs and drug therapy. Pharmacists are able to take responsibility for drug therapy decisions.In order to initiate drug therapy or change drug therapy for ongoing management, a pharmacist requires additional prescribing authorization from the Alberta College of Pharmacists.
- why you have been prescribed this particular drug,
- how and when to take your medication,
- what potential side effects you may need to watch for, and
- how to store your medication.
Filing a complaint
The Alberta College of Pharmacists responds to concerns about:
- a pharmacist’s or pharmacy technician's practice, or
- a pharmacy's operations.
The Health Professions Act requires that complaints be submitted in writing and signed. You may mail or fax us a letter, or submit your complaint on our Complaint Reporting Form.
- Obtain a copy of the Complaint Reporting Form by calling the college office at 1-877-227-3838 or 780-990-0321.
- Send your completed, dated, and signed report to the college:
Attn: Complaints Department
Alberta College of Pharmacists
1100-8215 112 St. NW
Edmonton, AB T6G 2C8
The Complaints Director will review your written statement. If necessary, the Complaints Director will appoint a preliminary investigator to look into the allegations.You will receive correspondence from the Complaints Director to inform you of the decision concerning your complaint.
What is the complaints review process?
When the Complaints Director receives a written complaint, he may:
- encourage the complainant and the investigated person to communicate with each other and resolve the complaint;
- attempt to resolve the complaint (with the consent of the complainant and the investigated person);
- refer the complaint to an alternative complaint resolution process;
- request an expert to assess and provide a written report on the matter of the complaint;
- conduct, or appoint an investigator to conduct an investigation;
- dismiss the complaint, if satisfied that it is trivial or vexatious;
- dismiss the complaint, if satisfied that there is insufficient or no evidence of unprofessional conduct.
If a complaint is investigated:
Once the investigation is complete, the Complaints Director decides whether a complaint should be dismissed or referred for a hearing.
If alternative complaint resolution is used:
When alternative complaint resolution is used, the complaint is either successfully resolved through mediation or is referred back to the Complaints Director for resolution.
Your pharmacist can:
- Recommend over-the-counter (OTC) products, vitamins, and herbal supplements
- Teach you how to take and store your medication so you get the best results
- Monitor and help manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, or high blood pressure
- Adapt prescriptions:
- renew (refill) a prescription for continuity of care,
- substitute one drug for another, within the same class of drugs
- alter the dose, formulation, or regimen (e.g., give you a liquid instead of a tablet)
- Follow up with you to ensure your drug therapy is working and provide additional support in using your drugs properly
Alberta pharmacists can also renew prescriptions, and be authorized to administer drugs by injection and prescribe medications. To learn more about these services, read our brochure.
What else can pharmacists do?
Pharmacists also participate in the following:
- Health Promotion: Wellness screening programs for osteoporosis, diabetes, cholesterol, immunizations, nutrition and diet counseling, home visits, tobacco reduction, family planning and reproductive health, breast pump counseling.
- Disease Management: Education programs for patients that help them manage their health (hypertension, cholesterol, asthma, depression, anticoagulation, women's health, arthritis, pain management, osteoporosis), blood sugar and blood pressure monitoring, readings and interpretations.
- Ensuring Effective Drug Therapy Outcomes: Medication reviews, home visits, specialty compounding, drug information consultations, addictions/substance abuse counseling (methadone, opiate dependency).
- Primary Health Care: Treatment of minor injury and ailments (mouth ulcers, burns/scalds, colds, influenza, constipation, diarrhea, etc.), fitting of braces, crutches, wheelchairs, walkers, pressure stockings, triage telephone inquiries and counseling natural health and herbal therapy.
Talk to your pharmacist and get to know the range of services that your pharmacy offers.
Who are the other people behind the counter?
You may see a number of other people behind your pharmacy counter who are not pharmacists.
Pharmacy technicians are regulated health professionals. They assist with the day-to-day technical functions so that pharmacists can focus their time on patient care. Pharmacy technicians not only count pills and run the cash register, but also prepare drugs, enter drug orders, control pharmacy inventory, maintain complex equipment and obtain insurance authorizations.
Other pharmacy staff
Unregulated individuals, such as pharmacy assistants, may work in the dispensary under the direct supervision of a pharmacist. All of these people must maintain the confidentiality of all patient information received in the pharmacy.
Your goal is to ensure the person who administers the drug has sufficient information to enable the patient to receive the intended benefit of the drug therapy, including proper administration of the drugs. If someone other than a regulated health professional is administering the drug, that person may be considered the patient’s agent. The standards allow you to deal with the patient’s agent when it is in the best interest of the patient. Therefore, a dialogue with the care giver responsible for administering the drug is recommended.
Some facilities have a nurse or another regulated health professional who supervises the work of non-regulated staff members. In these circumstances, you should work with the regulated person responsible for supervising the administration of drugs to ensure that the appropriate training and policies and procedures are in place to meet the goal of enabling the patient to receive the intended benefit of the drug therapy. This may include consideration of other provincial standards, such as those relating to long-term care facilities.
The Alberta Ombudsman
2800, 10303 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5J 5C3
|Narcotic or controlled drug
No refills or transfers permitted. All “re-orders” must be new written prescriptions. Part fills allowed; for part fills, prescriber must indicate the total amount of medication, quantity for each part fill, and intervals between fills.
Control Drugs Part I
No refills allowed if original prescription is verbal. If written, the original prescription may be repeated if the prescriber has indicated in writing the number of refills and the intervals between refills. Transfers not permitted.
Control Drugs Part II & III
An original written or verbal prescription may only be refilled if the prescriber has authorized, verbally or in writing, the number of refills and the intervals between refills. Transfers not permitted.
Refer to the Prescription Regulations Summary Chart for more information.
A record of care includes drug-related problems and the actions taken or monitoring plans created to deal with them, a list of any prescriptions adapted and other drugs prescribed, a list of drugs administered by injection, and other information such as prescriptions that were not filled or summaries of consultations with the patient or other health care providers.
(Appendix A, Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians)
To obtain a Complaint Reporting Form, please call us at 1-877-227-3838 or 780-990-0321.
Never, at the moment. ACP, the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta, and Alberta Health continue to work together to find secure e-prescribing solutions. However, until requirements for securing patient confidentiality, verifying authenticity, and preventing diversion are defined, e-prescribing is not acceptable.
- Prescriptions emailed to you.
- Prescriptions produced by computer but not signed by the prescriber.
- Prescriptions with an electronic signature that are not signed or initialled by the prescriber.
- Prescriptions produced by computer and hand-signed by the prescriber or with an electronic signature that is then signed or initialled by the prescriber and delivered by the patient are acceptable. However, it is your responsibility to ensure the prescription is authentic, just as you would for a prescription which is handwritten.
- Prescriptions that are produced by computer and hand-signed by the prescriber, or with an electronic signature and signed and initialled by the prescriber, that are then faxed to the pharmacy as per the guideline for fax transmission of prescriptions.
For best practices, refer to Ensuring Safe & Efficient Communication of Medication Prescriptions.
No. The audit trail must identify all staff members who were involved in filling the prescription.
(Standard 7.16, Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians)
Drug incident: any event that may cause or lead to inappropriate drug use or patient harm.
Adverse drug event: an unexpected and undesired incident that does result in patient harm such as injury, adverse outcome or death.
Drug error: an adverse drug event or a drug incident where the drug has been released to the patient(Standard 6, Standards for the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies)
Yes. All adverse drug events must be recorded as part of the pharmacy’s quality assurance process.
(Standard 6, Standards for the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies)
No, a written transaction record is not required for Schedule 2 drugs. Appendix A of the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians outlines the information that must be included in the patient record, but a written record is not required.
(Appendix A of the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians)
No. You are not required to record a drug incident if it is discovered and corrected before the drug is released to the patient.
However, if the drug incident is not discovered until after the drug has been released to the patient, it must be recorded as part of the quality assurance process. Recording is required even if the patient did not ingest any of the drug. However, you may wish to record these "near misses" to prevent them from recurring.
Note: if the drug incident is not discovered until after the drug has been released to the patient, it must be recorded as part of the quality assurance process. Recording is required even if the patient did not ingest any of the drug.(Standard 6, Standards for the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies)
Patient records must be retained for 10 years past the last date of pharmacy service provided or for 2 years past the age of majority (18 years) of the patient if the patient is a child.
See the Record Retention Chart for more details.
(Standard 8.8, Standards for the Operation of Licensed Pharmacies)
You are required to have a dialogue or a conversation with a patient or a patient’s agent in each of the following circumstances:
- When a Schedule 1 drug is dispensed to a patient for the first time. (This includes switching dosage forms such as regular-release to long-acting or vice versa)
- When a Schedule 2 drug is sold to a patient for the first time.
- If a patient requests counseling.
- If, in your professional opinion, a dialogue is needed to resolve a drug-related problem or to ensure the patient has enough information to receive the intended benefit of the medication.
(Standard 8.3, Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians)
Dialogue is not required if the drug will only be administered by a regulated health professional to the patient. This scenario includes patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and other care facilities.
(Standard 8.4, Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians)
Enter the date that the triplicate was received at the pharmacy, and write "deferred" on the prescription.
Note: A triplicate prescription must be logged or filled by a pharmacist within 72 hours of being written. Send the triplicate prescription form to the College of Physicians & Surgeons after it has been logged.
The concept of "informed consent" was developed on the premise of two distinct components:
- patients’ rights to determine what happens to their bodies, and
- health professionals’ inherent duty to provide patients with enough information to make an informed decision.
Generally, for a patient’s consent to medical treatment to be acceptable,
- the consent must be voluntary,
- the patient must have the capacity to consent, and
- the patient must be properly informed.
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL):
Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB):
International English Language Testing System (IELTS):
The Canadian Test of English for Scholars and Trainees (CanTEST)
In Alberta, a commissioner for oaths is appointed by the Inspector of Legal Offices and has been granted specific powers to complete the following:
- Administer oaths
- Take and receive affidavits
- Witness declarations and affirmations for statutory declarations
People who are Commissioners for Oaths Ex Officio
- a barrister and solicitor
- a student at law under the Legal Profession Act
- a full-time commissioned officer in the Canadian Forces
- a member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta
- a member of the Alberta House of Commons
- a member of the Senate of Canada who at the time of his/her appointment as a senator is a resident of Alberta
- a member of a municipal council in Alberta
- a member of a Metis settlement council
- a member of a board of trustees of a school district or a school division in Alberta
- a justice of the peace
- a police officer as defined in the Police Act
- all court judges in Alberta
- A notary public appointed under the Notaries Public Act
Other locations you may find a commissioner for oaths:
- main branches of banks
- municipal offices
- lawyers offices
The Alberta College of Pharmacists has commissioners for oath on staff.
When you receive a targeted substance from a licensed dealer, another pharmacist or a hospital, you must keep a record of:
- The brand name;
- The quantity and strength per unit;
- The number of units per package, and the number of packages;
- The name and address of the licensed dealer, pharmacist or hospital that supplied it; and,
- The date on which it was received.
Pharmacists must provide the following information:
- notification that they have prescribed (or adapted a prescription),
- the type and amount of the drug prescribed,
- the rationale for prescribing the drug,
- the date the drug was prescribed, and
- instructions given to the patient.
The letter of character reference must be written in the last 12 months and can be written by anyone except family members. The letter should be written by someone who has known you for at least one year. Suggested sources include:
- family friends
There is no specific format or length required for a letter of character
reference but the letter should include the following:
- the capacity in which the writer has known you
- some insight about you (e.g., work ethic, special interests, volunteer work)
- detail about why the writer feels you would make a good pharmacist
The letter may be hand written or typed; form letters or email submissions will not be accepted. The letter must be signed by the writer.
You may disclose health information to a police service without the individual’s consent if you believe that the information relates to the possible commission of an offence under a statute of Alberta or Canada and will either:
- Detect, limit or prevent fraudulent use or abuse of the health system (HIA S.37.1), or
- Protect the health or safety of an individual (HIA S.37.3).
The disclosure must be limited to the following information, any of which may be required by police to complete the investigation:
- The individual’s name, birth date, and personal health number;
- The nature of any injury or illness of the individual;
- The date on which a health service was sought or received;
- The location where the health service was sought or received;
- The name of any drug provided or prescribed to the individual, and the date the drug was provided or prescribed;
- Whether any samples of bodily substances were taken from the individual, or
- Information about the health provider who provided the service.
Document the disclosure on the individual’s record and keep it for at least 10 years.
If the prescriber is authorized to write the prescription in their province of employment, then you may fill it. Which medications various health professionals are permitted to prescribe varies by province. To confirm prescription validity, check with the prescriber’s college in their province of employment.
You must record:
- The date of the transfer,
- The name of the pharmacist to whom the prescription is transferred,
- The name and address of the pharmacy where the prescription is being transferred, and,
- If applicable, the number of refills being transferred.
This is an indirect collection; it is allowable if the patient is incapacitated and not reasonably able to present and fill their prescriptions themselves, or if the family member is an authorized representative (e.g., parent of a minor). Otherwise, you will need some reasonable indication that the patient has authorized the family member to provide you with their health information.
A good practice is to get from the patient, the first time they are able to be present, the names of others who might provide or receive information on their behalf. Otherwise, the fact that the patient is covered by the family member’s health insurance may be a good indicator that the person is acting on the patient’s behalf.
If there is any doubt about the information or status of the person providing the information, contact the patient directly before completing the collection.
British Columbia no longer requires the return of prescriptions on triplicate forms.
Saskatchewan has changed its triplicate program to no longer include specially printed triplicate prescription forms. Send photocopies of triplicate prescriptions from Saskatchewan physicians to:
College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan
500-321A-21st St. East
Saskatoon, SK S7K 0C1
ACP regulates prescribing by pharmacists through the additional prescribing authorization process that allows only qualified pharmacists to prescribe.
Pharmacists must participate in ongoing professional development and the college’s competence program throughout their careers. This includes annually completing a professional development log for review, using the self-assessment tool to identify strengths and opportunities for further development, and participating in practice assessments.Pharmacists must also adhere to the practice framework developed by the college, which includes practice policies, standards of practice, and a code of ethics.
Yes, you may ask to see identification such as a driver’s licence in order to confirm their identity, but should not record it as it would not be a collection under the HIA.
Whenever there is a disclosure of health information within or outside the circle of care, the pharmacy professional responsible must ensure that the following information is logged about the transaction and that it is retained for at least 10 years:
- Name of person to whom information disclosed;
- Date and purpose; and
- Description of information disclosed.
This information may be kept as a separate disclosure log (paper-based or electronic) or may simply be any documentation kept in a record that provides the same data whenever it is subsequently requested.
Note: You do not have to log the disclosure if you upload the information onto Netcare. The requirement to make a note does not apply to custodians that permit other custodians electronic access when the electronic system (e.g., Netcare) automatically keeps an electronic log of the information listed.
Health Canada no longer requires pre-authorization requests for the local destruction of unserviceable narcotics and controlled drugs. This means that pharmacists may proceed with destruction without notifying and receiving acknowledgment from Health Canada in advance.
Local (on site) destruction is one option available to pharmacists and persons in charge of hospitals when destroying unserviceable narcotics and/or controlled drugs. It is important to note that any record or written order required to be retained under the regulations made under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) or any relevant CDSA exemption must be retained in a manner that permits an audit to be made pursuant to sections 41 and 64 of the Narcotic Control Regulations and sections G.03.011 and G.05.002 of Part G of the Food and Drug Regulations). With respect to appropriate record keeping and destruction, Health Canada recommends the following :
1. Before any destruction, the pharmacist should record information with respect to the destruction, such as the destruction date, name, strength per unit and quantity of the controlled substance to be destroyed. This information should be kept for a period of two years. Beyond the two-year period, it is up to the hospital administrators, pharmacists or practitioners to determine if these records should be kept for a longer period based on other regulatory requirements such as provincial or professional practice regulations.
2. The pharmacist should destroy the drugs in the presence of another health professional. Both witnesses should record their names and destruction date on a statement indicating they witnessed the destruction. For these purposes, a health professional could be a pharmacist, practitioner, nurse, pharmacy intern, regulated pharmacy technicians (in those provinces where they are registered with the pharmacy licensing authority) or an inspector from the provincial pharmacy licensing authority.
3. The controlled substance should be destroyed using a method of destruction that conforms with applicable federal, provincial and municipal environmental legislation.
4. The controlled substance should be altered or denatured to such an extent that its consumption has been rendered impossible or improbable.For the regulatory requirements for the destruction of benzodiazepines and other targeted substances, please refer to sections 2, 55 and subsection 65(1) of the Benzodiazepines and Other Targeted Substances Regulations.
Pharmacists and persons in charge of hospitals who do not wish to destroy narcotics or controlled drugs on site may, through an exemption under section 56 of the Controlled Substances and Drugs Act, sell or provide these substances, to a licensed dealer who is licensed to destroy narcotics or controlled drugs.
Pharmacists may prescribe all Schedule 1 drugs and blood products. There are no lists of drugs; instead, all pharmacists are expected to limit their prescribing to situations where they have an adequate understanding of the patient, the condition being treated, and the drug being prescribed.
Pharmacists may not prescribe narcotics, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, anabolic steroids and other drugs regulated by the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.(Section 16, Pharmacists Profession Regulation; Standard 11, Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians)
In cases such as tax receipts and other non-continuing care matters, the person requesting the information must be an authorized representative of the patient, which includes:
- Guardian of a minor who is not competent to understand their rights (careful with minors aged 14-18!);
- Personal representative for the administration of a deceased individual’s estate, for estate purposes;
- Guardian or trustee under the Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act;
- Agent under the Personal Directives Act;
- Attorney under power of attorney;
- Nearest relative of a formal patient under the Mental Health Act;
- Person with written authorization from the individual to act on the individual’s behalf.
Be sure to verify the status of the recipient. If they are not an authorized representative, you will need the written consent of the patient before you disclose the information.
Document the disclosure unless it was to an authorized representative, and keep it for at least 10 years.
No. However, you must:
- Record, before the destruction, the name, strength per unit, and quantity of the targeted substance to be destroyed;
- Ensure the method of destruction conforms with federal, provincial and municipal environmental legislation;
- Record the date of the destruction;
- Have the destruction witnessed by a pharmacist or a practitioner; and,
- Immediately after the destruction, ensure you and the witness sign and print your names on a joint statement indicating you have witnessed the destruction, and the targeted substance destroyed has been altered or denatured to such an extent that its consumption has been rendered impossible or improbable.
These records must be kept for two years.
All pharmacists registered on the clinical register may prescribe by adapting a prescription or may prescribe in an emergency.
Pharmacists who have been granted an additional prescribing authorization may also prescribe to initiate drug therapy and/or manage ongoing drug therapy.
Yes. When doing so, you must first verify the identity of the person who is giving the order. Before filling the prescription, you must record:
- The name and address of the individual or animal for whose benefit the prescription is issued;
- The date of the verbal prescription;
- The specified name or brand name of the targeted substance, as specified in the prescription;
- The quantity and, if applicable, the strength per unit of the targeted substance;
- The name of the recording pharmacist, and the name of the practitioner who issued the prescription;
- The handwritten initials or signature of the pharmacist who reduced the verbal prescription to writing;
- The directions for use as specified by the practitioner; and
- If applicable, the number of refills authorized, and, if specified, the interval between refills.
You must also keep a hard copy or create a written record of the verbal prescription. These records must be kept for two years.
No. A pharmacist must not prescribe a drug or blood product unless the intended use is:
- An indication approved by Health Canada,
- Considered a best practice or accepted clinical practice in peer-reviewed clinical literature, or
- Part of an approved research protocol.
You may deal with the patient’s agent if you are satisfied that dealing with a patient’s agent rather than directly with the patient is in the best interest of the patient. Some factors that you may take into account in making this decision are:
- the patient’s express wishes,
- the patient’s health,
- the patient’s age,
- the patient’s mental state or capacity, and
- the patient’s absence from the pharmacy.
Yes, you may refill a prescription for a targeted substance if:
- The practitioner who prescribed it expressly directs that the prescription may be refilled and specifies the number of refills;
- The pharmacist makes a record of each refill;
- Less than one year has elapsed since the day on which the prescription was issued by the practitioner;
- At least one refill remains on the prescription; and
- In the case where an interval between refills has been specified by the practitioner, the interval has expired.
Prescribing Schedule 2 and 3 drugs is not a restricted activity. It is not mandatory to notify other members of the patient’s health team; however, pharmacists will use their discretion to determine when it is appropriate to do so.See the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians for responsibilities when selling either Schedule 2 or 3 drugs.
No. All pharmacists and pharmacy technicians must complete and submit a professional portfolio to ACP to be eligible to renew their practice permit for the following registration year. If you maintain your licence to practise pharmacy, you are responsible for maintaining your competence. Even outside of practice, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians should be able to meet the CCP requirements.
If you feel that you cannot complete the requirements of the competence program and are NOT currently practising in Alberta, you may choose to go to the associate register. Please note that when you move into the associate register, you are NOT permitted to practise as a pharmacist/pharmacy technician and no fees will be refunded. When you are ready to return to practice, you would have to reinstate as a clinical pharmacist/pharmacy technician and complete requirements per the reinstatement policies.
Any licensed pharmacist may dispense methadone and buprenorphine-naloxone. No exemption is required.
Before dispensing methadone or buprenorphine-naloxone, review the ODT Guidelines located under Resource Centre > Tools & Guidelines and compounding methadone addendum and become familiar with federal guidelines and local programs.
A prescription submitted to a pharmacist or pharmacy technician by a patient becomes the property of the pharmacy. The pharmacist or pharmacy technician has the right to retain the prescription; if a forgery is suspected, the prescription could serve as evidence.
If an irate patient demands the return of an unfilled prescription, the pharmacist or pharmacy technician may choose to return it after stamping and initialling it to indicate that they refused to fill the prescription in question.
Methadone can only be prescribed by physicians who hold a methadone exemption granted by Health Canada’s Office of Controlled Substances for opioid dependency or pain management. In addition, physicians must comply with training requirements required by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta.
In order to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid dependent patients, physicians must complete an online buprenorphine prescribing course required by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta.
To ensure authenticity, pharmacy professionals must confirm that the prescriber is authorized to prescribe methadone or buprenorphine. Confirmation regarding whether a physician is exempted can be obtained by contacting either the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta at 1-800-561-3899 or Health Canada directly (613-946-5139 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please remember that in Alberta, methadone and buprenorphine-naloxone are subject to the rules of the Triplicate Prescription Program.
Although your documents (e.g., certificates of course completion, evidence) are uploaded into the CCP web portal, you are still required to keep them for 2 years in case the college requires hard copies.
No, there is no minimum requirement for accredited CEUs. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians may complete any combination of accredited or non-accredited learning activities to a minimum of 15 continuing education units each CE cycle.
Understanding your pharmacist's role in renewing or adapting your presrcription
A brochure to help explain adapting to patients
In Alberta, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are granted the privilege of self-regulation and professional autonomy through the Health Professions Act. As a regulated health professional, it means that:
- You have met the educational requirements and have demonstrated the entry-to-practice competencies;
- You are legally responsible and accountable for your work; and
- You are directly responsible to the public and your health care colleagues for maintaining your professional competence.
Patients have a right to assume that a healthcare professional’s practice permit is assurance of current professional competence. Healthcare colleagues want assurance that those with whom they practice are current and competent. For these reasons, the Health Professions Act requires that council establish a continuing competence program to ensure health professionals fulfil their professional responsibility of maintaining competence.
Accredited learning includes any learning activity that has been accredited for pharmacists/pharmacy technicians by a recognized accrediting body. These programs or learning activities have gone through an accreditation review process to ensure that it:
- Has current, evidence-based, and unbiased content;
- Is relevant to pharmacists/pharmacy technicians; and
- Provides a quality learning experience.
The Alberta College of Pharmacists recognizes the following accrediting bodies:
- The Canadian Council on Continuing Education in Pharmacy (CCCEP), and
- The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).
- Note: ACPE’s “0.1 CEU” is equivalent to “1 CEU” in the competence program
Every year, a percentage of pharmacists/pharmacy technicians, as determined by council, will be selected to have their professional portfolios audited. Your portfolio may be selected for an audit as a result of:
- Random selection,
- A late or incomplete submission, or
- A request of the registrar as a result of concerns received about your practice.
All clinical pharmacists and pharmacy technicians must:
- Complete at least 15 CEUs during each CE cycle.
- Record all learning on one or more Learning Records.
- Implement at least one CEU worth of learning into your practice and document this on an Implementation Record.
- Complete any required learning that has been assigned by the Competence Committee.
Non-accredited learning includes any learning activity related to pharmacy practice that has NOT been accredited by CCCEP or ACPE or the accreditation has expired. Examples:
- Online programs, courses (e.g., PharmD course), or presentations that have not gone through the accreditation process or the accreditation has expired
- Structured learning activities accredited for another health professional (e.g., programs that have been accredited for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, physicians)
- Informal, independent learning activities such as reading, research, or discussing practice issues with colleagues (e.g., journal club, in-services)
Because you submit all of your information when you submit your portfolio, you will not be notified until the audit has been completed. When the audit is complete, you will receive a letter indicating whether your portfolio has met the established standard. If you have achieved the established standard, you are placed in Category 1 which means no further action is required and you are to continue your activities within the current CE cycle.
No. Pharmacy technician is a restricted title. This restriction is stated in Section 15 of the Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians Profession Regulation.
Authorization to use titles, etc.
15.1(1) A pharmacy technician and a courtesy pharmacy technician may use the words “registered” and “regulated” and may use the following titles, abbreviations and initials:
(a) pharmacy technician;
(b) pharmacy technologist;
(c) dispensary technician;
(d) dispensary technologist;
(2) A provisional pharmacy technician may use the title provisional pharmacy technician.
A professional portfolio consists of the Learning Records, the Implementation Record, and supporting documentation that verify a registrant’s participation and completion of program activities. Your professional portfolio must be submitted annually to ACP for each continuing education (CE) cycle. For help with submitting your professional portfolio, please refer to Guide to submitting your professional portfolio.
First Aid and CPR can be claimed as non-accredited learning. You can maximize your CEUs by completing more than one Learning Record. For example, you might do one Learning Record for the First Aid portion and another for the CPR portion, allowing you to claim up to 16 non-accredited CEUs.
Reporting a forgery attempt to ACP:
- promotes awareness of recent prescription forgery attempts and forgery tactics;
- helps prevent diversion of drugs, thus maintaining the integrity of the drug system; and
- helps us create a listing of forgery attempts for the calendar year, so that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have another tool to aid them in forgery detection.
If selected, your portfolio will go through an administrative audit and your Implementation Record will be peer assessed by two pharmacists/pharmacy technicians trained in assessment. The peer assessment is a criterion-based assessment (i.e., based on established criteria). This means the assessment will be as objective and fair as possible.
All pharmacists on the clinical register and all pharmacy technicians must complete and submit a professional portfolio to ACP to be eligible to renew their practice permit for the following registration year. Registrants must complete a professional portfolio each CE cycle and must submit to ACP via the CCP web portal.
Yes, you may claim learning activities from any country if they are relevant to your pharmacy practice.
- Your pharmacy name, location, and city
- Date of (attempted) forgery
- “Patient” gender
- What the prescription was written for (including strengths and quantities)
- What the prescription form looked like (TPP, computer-generated, written)
- The prescriber’s name and clinic information printed on the form
- Why you suspected (or how you discovered) a forgery (e.g., signs of alteration, checked Netcare, the form appeared to be a photocopy)
- Whether or not you were able to confirm the forgery with the prescriber
- Any other relevant information
Yes, all pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are required to complete the Continuing Competence Program each year. However, registrants who have been randomly selected for audit and achieved the established standard within the last five years and pharmacists who have been granted additional prescribing authorization within the last five years will not be selected for random audit. The portfolios for these registrants will only be selected for an audit if there is another reason such as a late or incomplete submission or a request from the registrar.
After registering on the Provisional Pharmacy Technician Register, you need to identify a pharmacist preceptor who will supervise and verify that you have completed 100 final checks with 100% accuracy. You must complete a minimum of 20 checks per day over a maximum of a three-month period. Candidates who have successfully completed the Alberta Health Services or the Edmonton Zone Covenant Health Technician Checking Validation Procedure may submit that as proof of proficiency.
Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can access all program materials through the CCP web portal. You will fill out all forms, upload documents, and compile a portfolio of your learning in your own secure online repository.
A forged prescription may constitute fraud and/or theft. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have a responsibility to act ethically regarding their profession, with honesty and integrity. Reporting forged prescriptions to the police is an important step in working to decrease the number of prescription forgery attempts.
If you do not complete all requirements by the renewal date, you may not renew your practice permit. You will be directed to call the ACP registration department for further instructions.
No. For an accredited course, you may combine all the learning activities represented on the course certificate and document on one Learning Record. For non-accredited courses, you must document each learning activity individually. You may document a maximum of 8 non-accredited CEUs on one Learning Record. If a non-accredited course is more than 8 CEUs, you must document your learning over two or more Learning Records.
Please contact your local police or RCMP non-emergency line, as found on their website or in your community phone directory.
Note: according to Health Canada, all those working with controlled substances and precursor chemicals must take proper security measures. If a theft, loss or forgery occurs it must be reported to the local police immediately and to the Office of Controlled Substances no later than 10 working days after its discovery. To learn more, visit: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/substancontrol/substan/compli-conform/loss-perte/index-eng.php
To report a forgery to ACP, which will then be shared with other pharmacists across the province via our Forgery Alerts, click here.
To report a forgery to the Office of Controlled Substances, click here.
The college staff will first determine if the discrepancy is simply incorrect recording or a lack of understanding of the Continuing Competence Program. If it is, we will help you correct the problems.
However, under the Health Professions Act, "the competence committee, registration committee or registrar must make a referral to the complaints director if, on the basis of information obtained from a practice visit or continuing competence program, the competence committee, registration committee or registrar is of the opinion that a regulated member has intentionally provided false or misleading information" (s. 51.1(1)).
Yes, pharmacy technicians must maintain a minimum of $1 million of personal malpractice insurance (claims made or occurrence). The policy must be in the technician’s name.
You do not require insurance while you are on the Provisional Register.
Yes, registrants on the associate register will have access to the Continuing Competence Program through the ACP CCP web portal. Registrants on the associate register can complete and submit a professional portfolio voluntarily each CE cycle. Completing a professional portfolio annually will prove beneficial if a registrant decides to return to an active status.
Learning Records are designed to help you reflect on your learning activity. To facilitate more meaningful reflection of a non-accredited learning activity, ACP has set a limit of 8 hours of non-accredited learning per Learning Record. Since the Learning Record requires you to identify the competencies, results, key elements, and impact associated with a learning activity, it may be easiest to record separate topics on separate Learning Records.
No. All pharmacists and pharmacy technicians must complete and submit a professional portfolio to ACP to be eligible to renew their practice permit for the following registration year. The competence program was designed to be applicable to registrants practising in different environments, including registrants who are not in direct patient care.
No, all CEUs must be claimed and documented on Learning Records for a current CE cycle.
The progress indicator on the CCP portal home page lists the three components of the competence program: 1. Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities; 2. Learning Records; and 3. Implementation Records. Once you have met a component’s requirements, a checkmark should appear next to its title; you may need to log out and into the portal again in order for the checkmark to appear. Each component’s requirements are listed below.
- Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activities
- Complete the prescribed activity assigned by the Competence Committee.
- Learning Records
- Complete a minimum of 15 CEUs within the current CE cycle and document your learning on one or more Learning Records.
- You must answer questions one through seven in the Learning Record for the record to be marked as complete.
- Implementation Records
- Select one completed Implementation Record for submission.
- Your Implementation Record must be directly related to at least 1 CEU you completed during the current CE cycle.
- Upload one piece of documentation that provides evidence of your implementation.
- You must answer questions one through eight in the Implementation Record for the record to be marked as complete.
- Select one completed Implementation Record for submission.
The competence program was designed to be applicable to pharmacists/pharmacy technicians practising in different environments, including those who are not in direct patient care. Registrants should be able to meet the requirements of the program even outside of clinical practice or during a maternity leave. What you choose to learn and implement should be based on your personal and professional learning and practice needs.
For registrants who are not in direct patient care, possible outcomes from your implementation may be:
- A transfer of knowledge, skill or ability to others (e.g., execute a health promotional activity or educational session); or
- An improvement to your organization and/or the way care is delivered (e.g., implement or propose a new or revised policy, procedure, program, or tool).
To determine what you can implement, it may help to consider:
- What are your learning and practice needs?
- Who can you transfer knowledge to?
- How can you affect changes in practice?
If you do not have access to patients, potential audiences for your implementation may be the people you work with, other healthcare professionals, or perhaps the general public.
No, what you choose to implement does not have to be directly related to your current practice. In the competence program, the term “practice” refers to the overall practice of pharmacists/pharmacy technicians. What you choose to implement could be related to your current practice, your future practice, or your overall professional practice. We recommend that you implement something that is meaningful, relevant, and beneficial to you and/or the people around you.
Before beginning the SPT program for pharmacy technicians, a learner must:
- register on the provisional pharmacy technician register
- find a site and a preceptor
- submit a completed Pharmacy Technician SPT Notification Form to ACP, and
- receive approval from ACP to begin the program.
For more information about program requirements, please visit: pharmacists.ab.ca/structured-practical-training-pharmacy-technicians.
This is a continuing competence program and we encourage you to continuously build upon your knowledge and skills. You may implement learning that was completed in a previous CE cycle; however, your implementation still needs to be tied to 1 CEU worth of learning completed during the current CE cycle. Therefore, if you choose to implement learning that was completed in a previous CE cycle, you just need to complete 1 more CEU in the current CE cycle that is related to your objective.
Eligibility requirements to be a preceptor for the Structured Practical Training (SPT) program for pharmacy technicians include:
- Your preceptor must be a pharmacist or pharmacy technician who has been registered with ACP for two years or more
- You must not be in a close personal relationship with your preceptor
- Your site must be a licensed community or hospital pharmacy in good standing with ACP
For more information, please visit: pharmacists.ab.ca/structured-practical-training-pharmacy-technicians.
You only need to upload one piece of documentation that provides evidence of your implementation. Select the documentation that you believe best showcases that you’ve achieved your implementation objective. Ensure that the evidence uploaded directly relates to your implementation objective. Depending on your objective, this evidence may be a patient’s record of care (ensure all patient-identifying information is removed), the revised policies or procedures, or the presentation or resource you’ve developed.
Your implementation must:
- Directly involve the application of at least 1 CEU
- Relate to one of the pharmacy domains (pharmacy practice, medical/medication/device knowledge, or systems-based practice)
- Result in one of the following outcomes:
- Improvement to your practice or organization
- Transfer of knowledge, skill, or ability to others
- For pharmacy technicians only: Verification of your competence by one of your peers
- Affect another individual (e.g., a patient, a coworker, another healthcare professional)
- Produce evidence of implementation
For pharmacists, you could:
- Incorporate a new step/tool into your care process
- Manage drug therapies and complete care plans
- Implement a new/revised policy, procedure, or program
- Execute a health promotional activity or educational session
For pharmacy technicians, you could:
- Collaborate with the pharmacist to support patient care
- Develop, implement, or evaluate a policy, procedure, tool, or program
- Contribute to a health promotional activity and/or educate a patient or another health care professional
- Perform a new/reinforced skill or technique and demonstrate competence to a peer
1 hour of non-accredited learning is equivalent to 1 CEU. You may claim to the nearest quarter of an hour for the time spent on a non-accredited learning activity. Since you may only claim up to 8 CEUs of non-accredited learning per Learning Record, you may need to document your learning on two or more Learning Records if your non-accredited activity is more than 8 hours.
If the deficiency is determined to be minor in nature, you will be placed in Category 2, which means you will receive feedback on how to improve your professional portfolio and you will automatically be audited in the following CE cycle.
If your professional portfolio has significant gaps, errors, or omissions, your case will be referred to the Competence Committee and they will determine which category you will be placed in for the following CE cycle.
- Category 3 requires you to complete additional mandatory activities.
- Category 4 requires you to complete a competence assessment within the timelines prescribed by the Competence Committee.
The continuing education cycle is when you are required to complete the competence program requirements. The cycle coincides with your registration renewal deadline.
- For pharmacists, the CE cycle starts June 1st of any year and ends May 31st of the following year.
- For pharmacy technicians, the CE cycle starts December 1st of any year and ends November 30th of the following year.
We encourage you to start this annual learning process early and complete a Learning Record right after you complete an activity.
Basically 1 hour of learning is equivalent to 1 CEU. You may claim to the nearest quarter of an hour for the time spent on a learning activity.
- For an accredited activity, the number of CEUs is determined by the accrediting body.
- For a non-accredited activity, the number of CEUs is equivalent to the amount of time you spend completing the learning activity.
You may find accredited programs by visiting the CCCEP or ACPE websites. Alternatively, you may find potential accredited programs or events directly on the website of organizations that offer accredited programs, such as:
- Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA)
- Alberta Pharmacists’ Association (RxA)
- Pharmacy Technician Society of Alberta (PTSA)
- Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists (CSHP)
- Canadian Healthcare Network
- Pear Healthcare Solutions Inc.
- Teva Pharmacy Solutions
- Pharmacist’s Letter/Pharmacy Technician’s Letter
Although the self-assessment tools are optional unless otherwise directed by the Competence Committee, we encourage all registrants to complete an annual self-assessment.
The self-assessment section of the CCP web portal contains many tools that can help you identify your learning needs, relevant implementation objectives, and plan accordingly. The Alberta College of Pharmacists does NOT monitor or track your self-assessment results.
After completing a learning activity, you are required to reflect and document your completed learning activity on a Learning Record. You must complete a Learning Record for each learning activity, regardless of whether it is accredited or non-accredited.
By reflecting on what you’ve learned, it should help reinforce your learning. The Learning Record was designed to be easy to complete and we recommend that you fill-out a record soon after completing a learning activity.
For non-accredited learning activities, you may only claim up to 8 CEUs per Learning Record. If you’ve spent more than 8 hours completing a non-accredited activity, you may document your activity over multiple Learning Records.
Pharmacists who register for the first time in Alberta between January 1 and June 30 do not have to complete the Continuing Competence Program before renewing their practice permit for the upcoming registration year (July 1 – June 30).
Pharmacy technicians who register for the first time in Alberta between July 1 and December 31 do not have to complete the Continuing Competence Program before renewing their practice permit for the upcoming registration year (January 1 – December 31).
You will have access to the program through the ACP CCP web portal prior to your renewal; however, any activities/records completed prior to the start of the next CE cycle will be for your own personal development and may not be used towards the next CE cycle.
When you renew your practice permit in the following registration year, you are required to complete and submit a professional portfolio to ACP. All activities included in this submitted portfolio must be completed during the corresponding CE cycle (i.e. June 1-May 31 for pharmacists; December 1-November 30 for pharmacy technicians).
Every CE cycle, the Competence Committee may prescribe additional learning activities that you must complete in order to submit your professional portfolio. The prescribed learning is available in the CCP portal under the Self-Assessment/Prescribed Activity section. You may complete a Learning Record for completing the prescribed activity; however, it is not required unless directed otherwise. The portal will keep track of whether you have completed the prescribed activity. We recommend that you read communications from the Alberta College of Pharmacists to stay up-to-date on the program’s requirements.
Yes. In addition to the standard list of triplicate medications, veterinarians must also provide a triplicate for the following medications:
- All barbituate preparations
- All codeine-containing preparations
- Benzodiazepines and all other targeted substances listed in Regulation under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
- Anabolic steroids
ABVMA policy requires that there will be no dispensing of the following products from a veterinary clinic, even if prescribed on a TPP form:
- Euthanasia solutions
- Sodium pentobarbital
- General anaesthetics (e.g., propofol, halothane, isoflurane)
- Alpha -2 - agonists
Veterinarians do not require a methadone exemption to prescribe buprenorphine.
No, you may only add and complete records that correspond to your current CE cycle. If you wish to prepare for a future implementation, consider using the Implementation Objective planning tool available in the Self-Assessment section of the portal.
Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians may access the CCP portal at any time during the CE cycle to work on their professional portfolio. When you have completed all of the CCP requirements and the college has enabled the submit button in the CCP portal, you may submit your professional portfolio. The submit button is only active during the online registration renewal period (i.e. end of April for pharmacists and end of October for pharmacy technicians).
Section 23 of the Pharmacy and Drug Regulation outlines the information that a licensee must ensure is displayed on the pharmacy website:
- A copy (scanned is fine) of the pharmacy licence
- The location, mailing address, e-mail address and telephone number of the licensed pharmacy
- The name, pharmacist practice permit number, and business address of the licensee
- A statement that the licensee is required to provide, on the request of a patient, the name and practice permit number of any regulated member who provides a pharmacy service to the patient or who engages in the practice of pharmacy with respect to a patient
- The name and business address of the proprietor
- If the proprietor is a corporation, the name of the proprietor’s representative
- A copy (scanned is fine) of the Patient Concerns Poster
For more information, see the Manage Your Pharmacy section.