Canadian Pharmacists Association
Canadian Pharmacists Association

Unpacking CPhA's new strategic plan

A Q&A with CEO Glen Doucet
and Chair Shawn Bugden

Internal Activities

The Canadian Pharmacists Association's (CPhA) is excited to launch their new Strategic Plan 2024-2026. We sat down with CPhA CEO, Glen Doucet, and Chair, Shawn Bugden, to dive deeper into the motivations, aspirations and anticipated impact of this ambitious undertaking.

Q: What inspired the creation of this new strategic plan?

Glen Doucet, CEO (GD): Health care in Canada is in a period of transformation, and the profession of pharmacy is a big part of the solution to some of our biggest challenges. The catalyst behind the development of the plan stems from CPhA’s ongoing commitment to amplify the voices of pharmacists. It is focused on the big issues and challenges we need to address to ensure the profession is in a position to not only make a difference in the health of Canadians, but also to feel fulfilled and supported as they do that.

Q: Were there any other issues that the new strategic plan was developed to address?

GD: Yes, clarity of our mission and vision. We heard from many front-line pharmacists that they didn’t know what our mission was and what we were trying to achieve. To fix that, we needed to ensure our mission and vision are clear in terms of who we are, who we represent and what we seek to accomplish. Our new mission is to be the national voice for every pharmacist, for all of pharmacy. Combined with our vision, of a thriving profession and a healthy population, it sets a clear and essential direction for CPhA.

Q: Can you share insights into the engagement process you used in developing the plan?

Shawn Bugden, Chair (SB): It was very important for us to not only hear but really listen to what pharmacy professionals want us to be focused on and to create a plan that speaks to the issues that affect them every day. We conducted in-depth discussions with our board, members and networks. We gathered feedback from pharmacists through surveys, and organized focus groups with frontline pharmacists, students and pharmacy leaders. And we organized a Strategic Consultative Panel made up of members of diverse communities to ensure that we were considering as many perspectives and experiences as possible. The alignment among these groups was remarkable, indicating a strong consensus on the direction CPhA should take moving forward.

Q: Why should pharmacists care about this strategic plan?

SB: Pharmacists are at the heart of patient care, and this plan is intended to address their concerns directly. It will help us empower pharmacists to practise to their full education, ensure a sustainable workforce and advance the entire profession to better serve the health needs of Canadians now and into the future. Achieving the goals set out in this plan will affect every aspect of pharmacy practice. One of our driving motivations was to ensure that pharmacists see themselves in this plan, and it remains critical that they continue to see that as we move forward.

Q: How do you envision the strategic plan will affect the pharmacy profession in Canada?

SB: We believe this plan is a game-changer and that it will help elevate the profession to new heights. More importantly, we believe that moving these efforts forward will help pharmacists feel well and fulfilled in their roles. It’s not easy being a health-care professional. It never has been. But the pandemic has impacted all of us in ways that will be felt for many years to come. Now is the time to address the systemic issues that have led us here, to innovate and evolve the profession. We are confident that this strategic plan is the right way to make that happen.

Q: How will CPhA adapt the plan to address emerging challenges?

GD: If the last few years have taught us anything, its that pharmacy has an amazing ability to adapt and take on new and emerging challenges, a fact that truly underscores the strength and potential of the profession. With that in mind, the plan is designed to be adaptive. We’re focused on these overarching priorities, but will continue to address high priority advocacy files, like drug shortages and pharmacare. And as pressing issues arise, we will adjust our priorities and dedicate resources to serve the evolving needs of the pharmacy profession.

Q: What does success look like?

SB: Success will be seeing real progress in the evolution of the profession. We want to see tangible advancements in developing a national standard of practice and the ability for every pharmacist to practise to the fullest extent of their education. We want to see the right number of pharmacy professionals in the right places, who are happy and fulfilled in their roles. We want the public to know how, where and why they can access care at their pharmacy. We want to eliminate restrictive policies that negatively impact pharmacy practice and patient choice. We want all health professionals to have access to innovative, relevant products that enhance patient care. And we want the pharmacy community to continue to engage with us, direct us and ensure that we are staying true to their needs and supporting their work. This work is not easy and it is not fast, but it is vital to the well-being of the profession and we’re excited to move it forward.

Q: Any final thoughts on what the future holds for CPhA and the pharmacy profession?

SB: This strategic plan marks a significant milestone for CPhA. We are confident that, together with the full pharmacy community, we can lead the profession into a dynamic and influential era. This plan is not just a roadmap; it's a commitment to the continued growth and impact of pharmacists across Canada.

As CPhA embarks on this transformative journey outlined in its strategic plan, it is evident that the organization is poised to help support and drive positive changes and advancements in the pharmacy profession, guided by a clear vision and a commitment to the well-being of pharmacists and the communities they serve.

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