Friday Five (October 16, 2020)

This week's edition of the Friday Five is now available.

Pharmacists Participating in COVID-19 Testing at Provincial Sites

On October 14, 2020, a ministerial order pursuant to section 7 of The Regulated Health Professions Act was issued by the Honourable Cameron Friesen, Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living. The order authorizes certain health care workers and health care students under specific conditions (e.g. with training, as part of the government’s pandemic response program, etc.) to perform the reserved act of nasopharyngeal swabbing used in COVID-19 testing.

Pharmacists are included in the list of eligible health care workers that may perform the reserved act while engaged by a pandemic response service provider as part of the government’s pandemic response program and only after successful completion of a nasopharyngeal swab collection training program, or if they are an employee of a regional health authority or Shared Health Inc.

Licensed pharmacies are not authorized provincial testing sites, and pharmacists are not permitted to conduct COVID-19 testing in licensed pharmacies.

As well on October 14, Premier Brian Pallister announced in a News Release that the Province has partnered with Red River College (RRC) to develop a course to train health care workers such as pharmacists on COVID-19 nasopharyngeal sample collection. Successful completion of this RRC course is said to provide the pathway to employment at a provincial testing site. For more information about the program and to register, visit

A pharmacist performing a diagnostic or screening test on a person, such as nasopharyngeal swabbing for COVID-19 testing, is not included within the definition of the practice of pharmacy in The Pharmaceutical Act or scope of practice of a pharmacist. It may be important for pharmacists contemplating training and participating in COVID-19 testing at a provincial testing site, to contact the provider of their professional liability insurance coverage with any questions regarding the limitations of their coverage.

For additional information on restrictions in place on point-of-care testing for COVID-19 by pharmacists in licensed pharmacies, please refer to the COVID-19 section of the Resource Library on the College website.


New CPSM Standard of Practice for Benzodiazepines and Z-drugs

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba (CPSM) has recently announced the approval of a new Standard of Practice of Medicine, entitled Standard of Practice for Prescribing Benzodiazepines and Z-Drugs.

  • This Standard establishes requirements for the safe prescribing of benzodiazepines and/or Z-drugs, including zopiclone and other drugs.
  • This Standard does not apply to the use of these drugs in the treatment of cancer, palliative and end-of-life patients, seizure disorders, bipolar/psychotic disorder, and acute alcohol withdrawal.
  • Prescriptions for benzodiazepines and/or Z-drugs can only be written for a maximum of three months, with dispensing to be authorized for no more than a one-month supply, unless it is for intermittent use. Please review the entire Standard of Practice for additional exceptions.
  • This Standard also encourages interprofessional collaboration between the prescriber and pharmacist in efforts to mitigate patient risk of harm from the use of benzodiazepines and/or Z-drugs.

This new Standard of Practice will come into effect for all CPSM registrants on November 1, 2020. All pharmacy managers must ensure that all staff are familiar with the new Standard of Practice and comply accordingly.

Suggested Resources:


Manitoba Health Vaccination Updates

  1.  Pneumococcal (Pneu-P-23) Immunizations: Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living (MHSAL) offers a dose of Pneu-P-23 vaccine to anyone 65 years of age and older or who meets the provincial eligibility criteria ( Each year, MHSAL sends out letters to seniors who have turned 65 years of age during the past year to advise them of this immunization program where they can access this vaccine free-of-charge. Upon receiving their letter, seniors may access this program at their convenience; there is no requirement to present the letter in order to be eligible. Health care providers are encouraged to review a client’s immunization history to determine if they have had a Pneu-P-23 vaccine and that they meet the eligibility criteria.
  2. National Guidelines for Observation Period for Influenza Vaccination during COVID-19: The national guidelines from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization have been released ( In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing impact on influenza community clinics, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) reviewed the evidence around the recommended observation period post-vaccination. NACI concluded that there was no evidence to support a decrease from the current 15 minute observation period and therefore, MHSAL recommends continuing this practice. For more information on influenza for health professionals, please see
  3. Distribution of Influenza Vaccines: The distribution of influenza vaccines has begun. As per the previous season and communicated, distribution began to high priority locations such as hospitals, First Nations communities and Long Term Care Facilities. Please check the Flu Distribution website for the latest updates on the status of the distribution (

For any questions on the Provincial Immunization Program, please email


Job Posting – Quality Assurance and Field Officer

The College of Pharmacists of Manitoba is presently in search of a Quality Assurance and Field Officer to support quality assurance and improvement programs and conduct site audits.

The successful candidate will provide practice advice to registrants, respond to questions from the public and other stakeholders, conduct pharmacy practice audits and contribute to educational materials and guiding documents for public, pharmacists, and pharmacy owners.

This is a full-time permanent position, Monday to Friday, based on a 37.5 – hour workweek.

For a complete description of the duties, qualifications, and required attributes for this position, and to apply, view the online posting:

The position is posted both internally and externally. Applications will be reviewed from all sources as received until the position is filled.

The College values diversity and inclusion and encourages all qualified people to apply.


Safety IQ: Supporting Safety Culture in Community Pharmacies

One of the primary goals of Safety IQ is to build and strengthen safety culture in community pharmacies across Manitoba. Safety culture promotes an environment in which pharmacy professionals can openly discuss and address medication incidents and near-miss events to eliminate the ‘blame-and-shame’ approach that prevails across health care professions. This entrenched ‘blame-and-shame’ approach to mistake-making can be difficult, but not impossible, to overcome.

The College developed several resources for pharmacy professionals to support the shift from a ‘blame-and-shame’ to ‘just-and-safe’ cultures in community pharmacies:

While the June 2021 implementation deadline for Safety IQ may seem far away, it’s never too soon to promote safety culture in your pharmacy practice. The College encourages pharmacy professionals to review, share, and discuss safety culture over the next months to ensure a smooth transition to Safety IQ.


Canadian Patient Safety Week

The theme of Canadian Patient Safety Week 2020 is Virtual Care is New to Us. Only 10% of Canadians have experience with virtual care, but 41% would like to have virtual visits with their healthcare providers. The way to ensure that healthcare providers and patients make the most of virtual appointments is to use tried and true basics — encourage patients to ask questions and to bring an advocate with them to appointments. Canadian Patient Safety Week runs from October 26 to 30, 2020. The Canadian Patient Safety Institute is offering a number of valuable resources and activities to keep you engaged for this year’s event:

The College looks forward to celebrating Canadian Patient Safety Week with all registrants and stakeholders. Remember to sign up for updates on Canadian Patient Safety Week here.


CPhM 2021 Licence Renewal Reminder 

All current licences issued by the College of Pharmacists of Manitoba expire on December 31, 2020.

Pharmacists, Pharmacy Managers, and Pharmacy Owners are reminded to renew their corresponding licence using the online renewal process.

This year, the deadline to complete the renewal process is Friday, November 13, 2020. The deadline is two weeks earlier in the calendar year to provide adequate time to process all renewals and complete required follow-up with individuals well in advance of licence expiry on December 31st.

Please be reminded that late penalties are automatically assessed after the deadline. Failure to renew a licence prior to the November 13th deadline will result in a late penalty, equal to 50% of the original licence fee, being added.

Further, a licence that is not renewed by December 31st is expired and invalid. A pharmacist or pharmacy that fails to renew a licence and continues to practice is in contravention of Manitoba law and will be referred to the Complaints Committee.

Thank you for your prompt attention and cooperation in the renewal process.  Avoid unnecessary late penalties. Renew your licence promptly.


Professional Development

For current professional development opportunities, click here.