Time-delayed Safes Information for Patients and the Public

Time-delayed Safes Information for Patients and the Public

Quick Facts      Quotes      FAQ

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 mandate, initiated by the College of Pharmacists of Manitoba (CPhM), aims to enhance safety for pharmacy team members and the public while securing the drug supply. Time-delayed safes, proven effective in deterring robberies in other western provinces, are already mandated in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan.

The decision followed extensive research, consultations with law enforcement, and insights from other jurisdictions. The Winnipeg Police Service recognize time-delayed safes and prominent signage as effective robbery deterrents. Transparent communication with the public is crucial to ensuring awareness of this security measure. The mandate reflects CPhM’s commitment to safety and taking measures to reduce the risk of stolen medication contributing to the opioid crises.

Quick Facts

  • Significant Reduction in Robberies: Evidence from other jurisdictions that have adopted time-delayed safes shows significant reductions in pharmacy robberies. After introducing time-delayed safes, Alberta saw an 80% reduction in Calgary and zero incidents in Edmonton. British Columbia experienced a 94% decline in pharmacy robberies.
  • Preventative Measure: Although pharmacy robberies in Manitoba have been infrequent, this requirement aims to prevent an increase and protect public health and safety.
  • Effective Deterrent: A minimum time delay for safes discourages criminals by increasing the risk of being caught, giving law enforcement more time to respond.


FAQ for Patients and the Public

This FAQ explains the purpose, function, and impact of time-delayed safes in pharmacies, highlighting their role in enhancing medication security and deterring robberies.

What is a time delayed safe and how does it work? 

A time-delayed safe is a safe equipped with an electronic timer that prevents access to the safe’s contents until the correct combination has been entered and a pre-set amount of time has elapsed.

Will time delayed safes affect my ability to pick up prescriptions from my pharmacy? 

While prescription pickups may take some additional time, patients continue to have complete access to the medications they need from their pharmacy. The implementation of time-delayed safes serves as an additional measure to enhance medication security, ensuring that medications are dispensed exclusively to patients.

How do time-delayed safes make pharmacies safer? 

Thieves rely on getting in and out of a robbery as quickly as possible. A time delayed safe creates a waiting period between when the safe is accessed and when it can be opened to deter thieves who want to enter and leave a pharmacy quickly.
Time-delayed safes along with prominent signage have been effective at deterring robberies in other provinces. Robbery prevention protects patients and pharmacy staff from a potentially dangerous and traumatic experience and decreases the risk of prescription drugs being diverted to illegal markets.

How will I know if a pharmacy is using a time-delayed safe? 

All community pharmacies in Manitoba are required to use a time-delayed safe to secure narcotic and controlled medications. Other kinds of medications may also be stored in the safe at your pharmacy’s discretion.

Pharmacies must post signs at the pharmacy entrance(s) and the dispensary indicating a time delayed safe is in use.