Quick Facts


In September 2017, the College Pharmacists of Manitoba (College) implemented a project called Safety Improvement in Quality (Safety IQ) with 20 community pharmacies in Manitoba. The ultimate goal of the program is to enhance patient safety through a provincial standardized continuous quality improvement (CQI) program.

On October 15, 2018, upon review of the assessment of the Safety IQ pilot by St. Francis Xavier University and recommendations of the College of Pharmacists of Manitoba’s (College) Quality Assurance Committee, Council has approved the implementation of Safety IQ within all community pharmacies in Manitoba. Council has also directed that an Advisory Committee for Safety IQ be created to develop a plan for implementation, including considerations for different options for reporting technology provider, program requirements, training and education and timelines for provincial roll-out.

The College will provide regular updates to members on the implementation plans and timelines through the College publications including the Safety IQ newsletter – eQuipped.


College of Pharmacists of Manitoba:

To protect 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.

ISMP Canada:

To identify risks in medication use systems, recommend optimal system safeguards, and advance safe medication practices.

Current Practices in Manitoba

When a medication incident occurs in a community pharmacy in Manitoba, pharmacy staff are already required to ensure that:

  • The patient involved in the incident is safe and has any medical attention they need
  • The patient receives the right medication in a timely fashion
  • The patient involved has an opportunity to discuss his/her concerns
  • All pharmacy staff are informed including managers
  • The medication prescriber is informed of the error
  • The medication error is investigated to identify root causes and practice changes are made to prevent a recurrence

Safety IQ adds elements of standardization and shared learning to enhance patient safety and continuous quality improvement.

Safety IQ

Safety IQ enables community pharmacies to:

  • Anonymously report medication incidents and near misses to a central database
  • Enhance patient safety using standardized tools and practices
  • Learn from incidents and near misses in other pharmacies
  • Engage with medication safety experts to improve their processes
  • Contribute to research that will define and investigate the prevalence and causes of medication incidents in Canada
  • Promote a culture of safety in which all pharmacy
    staff feel comfortable reporting and talking about medication incidents

Reporting Across Canada

Nova Scotia: SafetyNET-Rx - Mandatory reporting

Saskatchewan: COMPASS - Mandatory reporting

Prince Edward Island: Pilot (2012 - 2013)

New Brunswick: Pilot (2015-2016)

Manitoba: Safety IQ Pilot (2017 - 2018)

Ontario:   AIMS - Mandatory reporting


Media Inquiries:

Gus Gottfred, Communications
College of Pharmacists of Manitoba   204-233-1411

General Inquiries   204-233-1411

Safety IQ Quick Facts PDF version [ download ]



Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI), is an ongoing approach to problem-solving and harm-prevention that focuses on identifying root causes of a problem and introducing ways to eliminate or reduce the problem.

In the pharmacy profession, CQI focuses on preventing medication incidents and continually looking for ways to improve medication dispensing, therapy management, and patient counselling.

The Safety IQ approach to CQI combines proactive and reactive elements to improve patient safety.

Proactive Elements:

Each participating pharmacy conducts a medication safety self-assessment. ISMP Canada designed the assessment to empower community pharmacy professionals to ask ‘what are we doing now and how can we do better?’

Reactive Elements:

Each participating pharmacy anonymously reports medication incidents and near misses to ISMP Canada. ISMP Canada then shares reports and recommendations with the pharmacies to form the basis of their practice improvements. Each pharmacy conducts quarterly staff meetings to analyze and discuss medication incidents and near misses and the practice changes that have been implemented.

Medication Incident:

Medication incidents are preventable errors that may result in inappropriate medication use or patient harm. Medication incidents may be related to professional practice, product labelling, dispensing processes or other factors.

Near Miss:

A near miss event is an error that could have resulted in inappropriate medication use or patient harm, but was discovered before reaching the patient. 

Safety Culture

A safety culture is the shared belief and the practice of healthcare providers that makes safety the first priority when providing care to patients. According to the US Institute of Medicine, “the biggest challenge to moving toward a safer health system is changing the culture from one of blaming individuals for errors to one in which errors are treated not as personal failures, but as opportunities to improve the system and prevent harm.”

For community pharmacy, a safety culture optimizes learning from medication incidents and near misses to prevent future errors and improve patient safety.