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Registration Practices Assessment Report — Summary

ONTARIO COLLEGE OF PHARMACISTS (OCP):

Pharmacy Technicians

Introduction

In September 2011, Ontario’s Office of the Fairness Commissioner assessed the way the Ontario College of Pharmacists   registers people who apply for a licence to practise in Ontario, to ensure that the registration practices are fair and continue to improve.  

This summary of the assessment includes commendable practices that are under way and recommendations for improvement.

The Ontario College of Pharmacists is subject to Ontario's fair access law, which amended the law about health professions, the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA). The law spells out the college’s obligation to have transparent, objective, impartial and fair registration methods and requirements.

The Office of the Fairness Commissioner

To encourage accountability under the fair access law, the Office of the Fairness Commissioner (OFC) works with professions’ regulatory bodies to improve the way they register people who apply for professional licences. As a result of the OFC’s work, qualified people, no matter where they were originally trained, will have faster, fairer access to their licence to practise here.

In its work with regulators so far, the OFC has found that they have succeeded in streamlining their registration processes, but they need to do more. For example, regulators need to be more transparent and hold their assessment agencies more accountable for fairness.

To encourage, and hold regulators accountable for, continuous improvement, the OFC assesses their licensing practices in a two-year cycle. This cycle includes recommending improvements where needed and monitoring the bodies’ action plans that address the OFC’s concerns. This approach benefits applicants, the professions and the province.

You can read more about the OFC’s strategy for continuous improvement and its guide for assessments elsewhere on this site.

For more information about this particular assessment, contact the OFC.

Note: The words license, register and certify all refer to authorizing a person to practise a profession.

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Commendable Practices

The Ontario College of Pharmacists (OCP) is demonstrating many commendable practices, in the following areas. (These areas correspond to the sections of the assessment guide, and are derived from the fair access legislation.)

Information for Applicants

  • The OCP uses its website as its primary vehicle for communicating with applicants. The website provides extensive information about the registration process. Clear information is provided about amendments to Ontario Regulation 202/94 (General Regulation) under the Pharmacy Act, giving applicants key knowledge about how this regulation will affect registration.
  • Certain steps in the registration process can be completed outside of Canada.
  • Information that is specifically for pharmacy technicians is complete, clear, and easy to locate online.

Documentation of Qualifications

  • The OCP provides information about the documents that must accompany an application. In addition, it provides links to third-party assessors. Supporting documentation can be found online through multiple access points, including documentation that is specific to:
    • individuals entering the profession. (They are new graduates of a pharmacy technician education program accredited by the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP).)
    • individuals currently working in the profession. (They are individuals who were working as pharmacy technicians before the profession was regulated. They have different registration requirements than graduates of a CCAPP-accredited program.)
  • The OCP provides information about missing or incomplete documentation, using a process consistent with that of their third-party assessors.

Assessment of Qualifications

  • The OCP provides access to a significant amount of information about the assessment of qualifications, including information and resources for its jurisprudence examination. The OCP also provides access to the information specific to the third-party educational and language-proficiency requirements. The Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) demonstrates objectivity and transparency by using standardized multiple choice methods for its exam and by developing it in accordance with Professional Competencies for Canadian Pharmacists at Entry to Practice (2007), developed by the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA).

Transparency

  • The OCP registration requirements and process are clearly documented and easy to find.

Objectivity

  • The OCP relies on objective measures to consistently determine whether or not an applicant meets the registration criteria. Examples of these measures include the exam blueprint (which directly links exam questions to competencies), and the declaration of good character (which is clear and uses specific "yes or no" questions).

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Recommendations

The OFC recommends improvements in the following areas. (These areas correspond to the sections of the assessment guide, and are derived from the fair access legislation. Recommendations marked "Required" correspond to the practices regulators must demonstrate in order to meet the specific duties in the legislation. Recommendations marked "Good" correspond to the practices the OFC encourages a regulatory body to adopt in order to meet the general duty to provide registration practices that are transparent, objective, impartial and fair.)

Information for Applicants

Status
  • Make the following changes to the OCP website:

November 2011
  • Include a sentence stating that information is available in French upon request. [Good]

November 2011
  • Identify, in the Registration section, the documents that are kept and the ones that are returned to the applicant. For example, the OCP returns original official documents to applicants, and can return others on request. [Good]

November 2011
  • State that the OCP accepts confirmation of documentation from the PEBC, to help reduce duplication in documentation [Good]

November 2011
  • Describe how long the registration process typically takes and the timeframes at each stage of the registration process. [Required; Good]

November 2011

Documentation of Qualifications

 
  • Provide a written description of OCP's existing process for handling situations where an applicant cannot get documentation, and make the process transparent by posting the description on the website. [Good]

November 2011

Assessment of Qualifications

 
  • Include information on the OCP website about applicants' opportunity to appeal the results of a qualifications assessment to the registration committee. [Required]

November 2011

Access to Records

 
  • Include all information about access to records (including limitations) on the OCP website in the Registration section, not solely in the Privacy Policy. [Good]

November 2011
  • Provide information about how long it takes to access registration records in the Registration section of the OCP website, or provide a link to the policy, to increase transparency. [Good]

November 2011
Blank = Implementation is in progress.
= Recommendation is implemented.
Acceptable alternative = Regulator implements acceptable alternative to this recommendation.

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