What can a Canadian pharmacist do for you? A Mednow pharmacist in a white lab coat stands in front of stocked pharmacy shelves

What can a Canadian pharmacist do for you? 

Did you know that pharmacists in most of Canada can refill or even prescribe certain medications? No trip to the doctor’

Did you know that pharmacists in most of Canada can refill or even prescribe certain medications? No trip to the doctor’s office (or Mednow Virtual Care appointment) required. If not, you’re not alone. There’s a lot Canadian pharmacists can do that patients may not know about. This was one of the findings in a recent survey by Maru Blue conducted on behalf of Mednow. 

Pharmacists fulfill these duties while also working as frontline healthcare providers — answering questions, completing medication reviews and more.

Canadian pharmacists can extend, refill, adjust and in some cases prescribe medications. They can also administer vaccines and even order lab tests. The rules around what a pharmacist can do vary by province or territory. 

Chat with a Mednow pharmacist in the Mednow app (Apple | Android | web browser) or by calling 1-855-MEDNOW-1 (1-855-633-6691).

So let’s take a look at what Canadian pharmacists can do based on regulations set at the provincial level.

Alberta

Alberta pharmacists have the most autonomy relative to pharmacists in other provinces. They’re allowed to prescribe medications, administer vaccines, and more.

✅ Prescribe medications independently
✅ Prescribe medications in collaborative practice (e.g. in a hospital or clinic setting)
✅ Prescribe medications for minor ailments and conditions
✅ Prescribe medications for smoking cessation
✅ Adapt and manage prescriptions independently and in collaborative practice
✅ Make therapeutic substitutions
✅ Change drug dosages, formulations, regimens, etc.
✅ Renew and extend prescriptions for continuing care
✅ Administer vaccines
✅ Order and interpret lab tests 

 

British Columbia

In British Columbia, pharmacists are more limited and can only prescribe medications in emergencies. However, they can make therapeutic substitutions and dosage adjustments, as well as administer some vaccines.

✅ Prescribe medications in emergencies
✅ Make therapeutic substitutions
✅ Change drug dosages, formulations, regimens, etc.
✅ Renew and extend prescriptions for continuing care
✅ Administer vaccines
❌ Prescribe medications independently
✅ Prescribe medications in collaborative practice (e.g. in a hospital or clinic setting)
❌ Prescribe medications for minor ailments
❌ Prescribe medications for smoking cessation
❌ Adapt and manage medications independently or in collaborative practice
❌ Order and interpret lab tests

 

Manitoba

In Manitoba, pharmacists have a wider scope of practice when it comes to prescribing, adapting and managing medications. They have more freedom in collaborative practice than when working independently.

✅ Prescribe medications in collaborative practice (e.g. in a hospital or clinic setting)
✅ Prescribe medications for minor ailments and conditions
✅ Prescribe medications for smoking cessation
✅ Prescribe medications in emergencies
✅ Adapt and manage medications in collaborative practice
✅ Change drug dosages, formulations, regimens, etc.
✅ Renew and extend prescriptions for continuing care
✅ Administer injections
✅ Order and interpret lab tests
❌ Prescribe medications independently
❌ Adapt and manage medications independently
❌ Make therapeutic substitutions

 

New Brunswick

Pharmacists in New Brunswick have a scope of practice similar to pharmacists in Manitoba. The main difference is that they can make therapeutic substitutions where Manitoba pharmacists cannot.

✅ Prescribe medications in collaborative practice (e.g. in a hospital or clinic setting)
✅ Prescribe medications for minor ailments and conditions
✅ Prescribe medications for smoking cessation
✅ Prescribe medications in emergencies
✅ Adapt and manage medications in collaborative practice
✅ Make therapeutic substitutions
✅ Change drug dosages, formulations, regimens, etc.
✅ Renew and extend prescriptions for continuing care
✅ Administer injections
✅ Order and interpret lab tests
❌ Prescribe medications independently
❌ Adapt and manage medications independently

 

Newfoundland and Labrador

Pharmacists in Newfoundland and Labrador have a broad scope of practice. However, there are stricter limits on their ability to prescribe, adapt, and manage medications and order/interpret labs.

✅ Prescribe medications for minor ailments and conditions
✅ Prescribe medications for smoking cessation
✅ Prescribe medications in emergencies
✅ Make therapeutic substitutions
✅ Change drug dosages, formulations, regimens, etc.
✅ Renew and extend prescriptions for continuing care
✅ Administer injections
❌ Prescribe medications independently or in collaborative practice
❌ Adapt and manage medications independently or in collaborative practice
❌ Order and interpret lab tests

 

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia pharmacists have broad scope of practice. The only thing they can’t do is prescribe medications independently.

✅ Prescribe medications in collaborative practice
✅ Prescribe medications for minor ailments and conditions
✅ Prescribe medications for smoking cessation
✅ Prescribe medications in emergencies
✅ Adapt and manage medications independently and in collaborative practice
✅ Make therapeutic substitutions
✅ Change drug dosages, formulations, regimens, etc.
✅ Renew and extend prescriptions for continuing care
✅ Administer injections
✅ Order and interpret lab tests (pending legislation)
❌ Prescribe medications independently

 

Ontario

Ontario pharmacists a broad scope of practice but not so broad as in other provinces. Ontario pharmacists can renew or extend prescriptions and prescribe in a limited scope. They cannot make therapeutic substitutions or independently order or interpret labs.

✅ Prescribe medications for minor ailments and conditions (pending legislation)
✅ Prescribe medications for smoking cessation
✅ Prescribe medications in emergencies
✅ Change drug dosages, formulations, regimens, etc.
✅ Renew and extend prescriptions for continuing care
✅ Administer some vaccines
❌ Prescribe medications independently or in collaborative practice
❌ Make therapeutic substitutions
❌ Order and interpret lab tests

 

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island pharmacists have a broad scope of practice with some limits on their autonomy to prescribe, adapt, and manage medications, though.

✅ Prescribe medications for minor ailments and conditions
✅ Prescribe medications for smoking cessation
✅ Prescribe medications in emergencies
✅ Make therapeutic substitutions
✅ Change drug dosages, formulations, regimens, etc. 
✅ Renew and extend prescriptions for continuing care
✅ Administer vaccines
✅ Order and interpret lab tests
❌ Prescribe medications independently or in collaborative practice
❌ Adapt or manage medications independently or in collaborative practice

 

Quebec

Pharmacists in Quebec are second only to pharmacists in Alberta in their scope of practice; they can prescribe certain medications as well as manage and adapt medications, order and interpret lab results and more. 

✅ Prescribe medications in collaborative practice
✅ Prescribe medications for minor ailments and conditions
✅ Prescribe medications for smoking cessation
✅ Prescribe medications in emergencies
✅ Adapt and manage prescriptions independently and in collaborative practice
✅ Make therapeutic substitutions
✅ Change drug dosages, formulations, regimens, etc.
✅ Renew and extend prescriptions for continuing care
✅ Administer vaccines
✅ Order and interpret lab tests
❌ Prescribe medications independently 

 

Saskatchewan

Pharmacists in Saskatchewan can carry out many of the same tasks as pharmacists in other provinces. The only exceptions are independently prescribing, adapting, and managing medications.

✅ Prescribe medications in collaborative practice
✅ Prescribe medications for minor ailments and conditions
✅ Prescribe medications for smoking cessation
✅ Prescribe medications in emergencies
✅ Adapt and manage prescriptions in collaborative practice
✅ Make therapeutic substitutions
✅ Change drug dosages, formulations, regimens, etc.
✅ Renew and extend prescriptions for continuing care
✅ Administer vaccines
✅ Order and interpret lab tests
❌ Prescribe medications independently
❌ Adapt and manage prescriptions independently

  

Territories

In the territories, the pharmacy practice is most limited, leaving responsibility for things like prescribing for minor ailments the responsibility of other healthcare providers. 

Northwest Territories

The scope of Pharmacists in the Northwest Territories is limited relative to pharmacists in the provinces; they can only renew or extend prescriptions for continuing care.

Prescribe medications in collaborative practice
Prescribe medications for minor ailments and conditions
Prescribe medications for smoking cessation
Prescribe medications in emergencies
Adapt and manage prescriptions in collaborative practice
Make therapeutic substitutions
Change drug dosages, formulations, regimens, etc.
✅ Renew and extend prescriptions for continuing care
Administer vaccines
Order and interpret lab tests
❌ Prescribe medications independently
❌ Adapt and manage prescriptions independently

Nunavut

The scope of pharmacists inNunavut is the most restricted. Here, pharmacists are not allowed to carry out any of the tasks mentioned in previous sections. Residents must rely on other healthcare providers. 

 Prescribe medications in collaborative practice
 Prescribe medications for minor ailments and conditions
 Prescribe medications for smoking cessation
 Prescribe medications in emergencies
 Adapt and manage prescriptions in collaborative practice
 Make therapeutic substitutions
 Change drug dosages, formulations, regimens, etc.
Renew and extend prescriptions for continuing care
 Administer vaccines
 Order and interpret lab tests
❌ Prescribe medications independently
❌ Adapt and manage prescriptions independently

Yukon

Pharmacists in Yukon cannot prescribe medication in any situation, even emergencies. The scope of a pharmacist in Yukon is limited to therapeutic substitutions, changing dosages, renewing and extending prescriptions for continuing care, and administering vaccines

 Prescribe medications in collaborative practice
 Prescribe medications for minor ailments and conditions
 Prescribe medications for smoking cessation
 Prescribe medications in emergencies
 Adapt and manage prescriptions in collaborative practice
✅ Make therapeutic substitutions
✅ Change drug dosages, formulations, regimens, etc.
✅ Renew and extend prescriptions for continuing care
✅ Administer vaccines
 Order and interpret lab tests
❌ Prescribe medications independently
❌ Adapt and manage prescriptions independently

Ask a pharmacist anything

Regardless of your location in Canada and the differing rules around what a pharmacist can do in the provinces and territories, Mednow pharmacists are here to help.

Chat with a Mednow pharmacist in the Mednow app (Apple | Android | web browser) or by calling 1-855-MEDNOW-1 (1-855-633-6691).

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