The 20,000 pharmacy professionals practicing in 4,600 pharmacies across the province have been working tirelessly during the pandemic to protect and support the community. Pharmacists are performing COVID-19 testing, administering vaccinations (including the COVID-19 vaccine) and continuing to help support patients with their medication and healthcare questions
As we approach a year into the pandemic, continue to battle the virus and new variants as well as preparing to deliver the vaccine to millions of Ontarians we need to use every health resource we have. This is why, it is critical that pharmacy graduates are able to write the mandatory Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) Objective, Structured and Clinical Examination (OSCE) to obtain full licensure.
Pharmacy graduates are at risk of experiencing their third cancellation of the exam since May 2020 if there is no clarification from the Ontario government to allow for the exam to go forward on February 28, 2021. We are urging the Government of Ontario to allow for pharmacy students to complete their performance examinations as part of Ontario’s reopening plan announced on February 8, 2021.
PEBC has been able to safely administer these examinations within public health protocols to more than 1,000 exam takers in other provinces. The same measures can be enacted right here in Ontario to allow for the safe completion of the exam. PEBC is ready to work directly with Ontario Public Health (OPH) or local Public Health Units (PHUs) to ensure compliance and complete any additional measures required to be in place for the OSCE to be held safely.
PEBC has indicated that if clarification is not received by mid-February or if the local PHUs do not move into the orange or yellow categories by mid-February, PEBC will have no choice but to cancel the February 28 exam across Ontario, disappointing 300 candidates who are anxiously waiting to write this exam.
Pharmacy interns have been left in a vulnerable position, many carrying student debt and looking for work as new graduates. This has left some graduates with family and dependents, struggling to make ends meet. At this time, we need all frontline healthcare providers including our pharmacists and pharmacy interns, practicing to their full abilities to support our health system through this pandemic.