New Amendments to the Manitoba Pharmaceutical Regulation Approved and In Effect - Read More


Friday Five (April 30, 2021)

This week's Friday Five includes a Safety IQ update, COVID-19 update, and a pharmacy practice reminder.

Safety IQ Timeline Extension – Training 

The past year has been one of uncertainty and anxiety for patients and the many dedicated health professionals who serve them. The COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine campaign has added pressure on community pharmacies, but our obligations to patient safety remain unchanged. In consideration of this, College Council maintains the June 1, 2021 launch date for Safety IQ but has approved a timeline extension for the staff training requirement. 

By June 1, 2021, all Manitoba pharmacies must meet the technical requirements of Safety IQ – they should have the ability to report a medication incident or near-miss within an online incident reporting platform or program. The pharmacy incident reporting program should then be able to export the incident data to the National Incident Data Repository (NIDR) housed by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada (ISMP Canada). 

By September 1, 2021, all community pharmacies must complete staff training on Safety IQ and the pharmacy’s incident reporting platform or program. As many pharmacies are still working on the technical requirements, this extension will allow time for proper training of staff on the reporting platforms and development and implementation of staff procedures for reporting. 

Although training requirements for pharmacy staff have been deferred until September 1, 2021, all medication incidents must be reported to your pharmacy’s medication incident reporting platform starting June 1, 2021. 

A new digital resource, Safety IQ Implementation at a Glance, provides for a quick overview of the new timeline and implementation steps. This document and additional supporting resources have already been shared with pharmacy managers over the last several months. Most community pharmacies have either completed or begun the implementation process. The College strongly encourages pharmacy teams that have not started this process to do so as soon as possible. 

If you have questions regarding Safety IQ or its implementation, please contact the College at


Pharmacist Must Always be on Premises  

The College has received several inquiries and been notified of actual instances whereby a pharmacy assistant, technician or other person are left completely unattended in the pharmacy without a pharmacist on the premises. Pharmacists are reminded that this is not permitted.  

Sections 3(1) and 3(2) of The Pharmaceutical Act (the “Act”) states no other person other than a member (pharmacist) shall engage in the practice of pharmacy and that a pharmacy technician, student, intern, or other person may only engage in the practice of pharmacy under the supervision of a member. Additionally, as a requirement for pharmacy licensure and obligations of owners, sections 64(2)(iii) and 68(a) of the Act state a member (pharmacist) will be physically present in the pharmacy at all times required by the standards of practice and all relevant practice directions. 

Furthermore, pharmacy managers are reminded of the additional responsibilities placed upon them regarding the supervision of staff. Section 51(c) of the Pharmaceutical Regulation states that the pharmacy manager must demonstrate to the registrar’s satisfaction that he or she will personally and adequately supervise the operation of the pharmacy. A licensed pharmacist must be present at all times when a pharmacy technician, student, intern, or other person engages in pharmacy practice to provide direct or indirect supervision as appropriate. Pharmacists should refer to the Supervision Practice Direction for more information. 

 Additionally, should there be a need for any other individual(s) to be present in the pharmacy, such as cleaning purposes, a licensed pharmacist must be present. Pharmacists are reminded to comply with the Personal Health Information Act and protect patient confidentiality when these situations occur. 

Should a situation arise such that there is no other alternative than to temporarily close the pharmacy because of the inability to have a licensed pharmacist present, Pharmacy Owners and Managers are referred to the Permanent and Temporary Pharmacy Closures – Practice Direction


Booking Second Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine 

The College would like to remind pharmacists that the province has extended the interval between the first and second doses for all COVID-19 vaccines, including the Astra Zeneca/CoviShield vaccines, to 16 weeks (4 months). This allows Manitoba to maximize the number of individuals receiving the benefit of the first dose of vaccine. This aligns with the NACI recommendations on extended COVID-19 vaccine intervals. The extended interval provides benefit from both a supply and public health perspective. 

Certain specific patient populations (ex. patients scheduled to start immunosuppressing therapy or receive a transplant) may warrant a compressed dosing schedule that follows the authorized intervals from the manufacturer. In these cases, the College recommends reviewing the Manitoba COVID-19 Vaccine: Clinical Practice Guidelines for Immunizers and Health Care Providers and collaborating with the primary care provider and the vaccine task force before providing immunization.  

Maximizing vaccine doses prior to product expiry is strongly encouraged, however, in all instances, COVID-19 vaccination must follow eligibility and any other directives set forth by Manitoba Health. The College suggests a prepared and organized approach to eliminate vaccine wastage:  

  • Reviewing your patient files for eligible patients and reaching out to them by phone 
  • Ensuring enough appointments are booked before puncturing a vial of COVID-19 vaccine 
  • Having a list of patients who can be called in case of a cancelled appointment  
  • Contacting the vaccine implementation task force for further advice or requesting they redistribute an excess amount of vaccine when required 

Resources and References  

Manitoba COVID-19 Vaccine: Clinical Practice Guidelines for Immunizers and Health Care Providers: 

NACI Recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines: 

Manitoba Vaccine Eligibility Criteria: 


Vaccine Confidence 

Manitoba is in the midst of the largest immunization program in its history. As COVID-19 vaccine eligibility criteria expand to include more individuals from a variety of ages and health conditions, pharmacists are encouraged to continue promoting vaccine confidence during the pandemic.  

To remain up to date on the latest clinical evidence on the relative risks of adverse events when compared to the risk of a COVID-19 infection, pharmacists can review the following resources:  

Updated Eligibility Criteria for the COVID-19 Vaccine 

Manitoba Health and Seniors Care recently updated the eligibility criteria for the COVID-19 vaccine at super-sites and pop-up clinics.  

Individuals aged 18 or older working at outpatient healthcare settings (regardless of their profession or role), including pharmacies, are now eligible to receive the vaccine.  

Please visit the Manitoba Health COVID-19 vaccine eligibility page for the latest information on vaccine eligibility criteria:


Blister Packing Requirements for Individuals Receiving Medication Assistance from WRHA Home Care 

For Home Care staff to safely assist in giving medications, clients should have their medications blister packed in a format that will assist caregivers in identifying the five rights of medication assistance (right drug, right dose, right time, right route, right patient). This includes having the day of the week and time of administration labelled on the front side of the blister pack, moving left to right. This ensures that Home Care clients receive their medication in the safest way possible. Please see below for an example of an appropriate blister pack. 


Upcoming Events/Professional Development Opportunities: 

CPhM AGM and Awards Presentations 

Saturday, May 8, 2021 

9:00 a.m. 

To register, click here


4th annual Communities and Collaboration Symposium 

May 5, 2021 

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM   

For more information, click here


CAPT National Professional Development Virtual Conference 2021  

 May 29 & 30, 2021  

To register, click here