Media Release

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Manitoba Implements Time-Delayed Safes to Strengthen Pharmacy Security, Public Safety, and Safeguard Drug Supplies

Winnipeg, June 12, 2024 — As of January 31, 2024, community pharmacies in Manitoba are required to store all narcotic and controlled drugs in a time-delayed safe and display prominent signage indicating a time-delayed safe is in use. This marks a significant milestone in the province-wide mandate initiated earlier this year by the College of Pharmacists of Manitoba (CPhM) to combat potential theft, enhance the safety of pharmacy team members and the public, and enhance the security of pharmacy drug supply.

The implementation of mandatory time-delayed safes in Manitoba community pharmacies results from extensive research and evaluation into their proven effectiveness in deterring theft in pharmacies across western provinces. Time-delayed safes are mandated in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan pharmacies.

Insights from other jurisdictions, and consultations with law enforcement revealed a potential risk of criminal activity moving into Manitoba from neighbouring provinces due to less stringent security measures. This prompted CPhM to swiftly establish the mandate to prevent an increase in robberies targeting pharmacies for narcotics and controlled substances in the province.

The Winnipeg Police Service acknowledges time-delayed safes as highly effective deterrents against pharmacy theft.

“Time-delayed safes and visible signage serve as an effective deterrent in reducing the incidence of pharmaceutical robberies.” says a representative from the Winnipeg Police Service. “By implementing this proactive measure, pharmacies are taking a leading role in harm reduction by mitigating the risk that stolen medication contributes to the opioid crisis.  This mandate, along with security tools such as high-quality video surveillance, effective alarm systems, and protective barriers, contributes to the enhancement of safety and security to Manitoba pharmacies and their teams, who provide care to their patients.” 

Time-delayed safes feature a locking mechanism that prevents access to the safe until a pre-determined period of time passes. This impedes quick access to narcotics and controlled substances, deterring and discouraging theft attempts.

One key aspect of this initiative is transparent communication with the public. All community pharmacies must prominently display signage indicating the use of time-delayed safes, ensuring awareness, and reinforcing the efficiency of this security measure.

“CPhM Council recognized the significance of mandating time-delayed safes and prominent signage as a proactive step to safeguard Manitoba’s pharmacy teams, patients, and the community at large,” says Kevin Hamilton, Registrar and CEO of CPhM. “The deterrence of theft ensures the security of our pharmacists and patients and uninterrupted access to essential care, ultimately contributing to a safer and healthier Manitoba.”

The rationale behind mandating time-delayed safes stems from CPhM’s commitment to prioritize the safety of pharmacy team members, the public, and the security of the pharmacy’s drug supply. The implementation of this security measure aims to reduce the risk of stolen medication contributing to the opioid crises, thereby contributing to greater community safety.

For more information, please visit the Time-delayed Safes Information for Patients and the Public page.

About The College of Pharmacists of Manitoba
The College of Pharmacists of Manitoba (CPhM) is the pharmacy regulatory and licensing authority in Manitoba.  The legislated mandate of CPhM is to protect the public interest in pharmacy practice with a mission to support the health and well-being of the public by ensuring and promoting safe, patient-centred, and progressive pharmacy practice in collaboration with other health-care providers.


For more information, please contact:
Anja Sadovski, Communications Specialist