Canadian Pharmacists Association
Canadian Pharmacists Association

Pandemic stress, increase in harassment and staffing challenges exact heavy toll on pharmacy professionals

National survey data shows pharmacy teams are at risk of burnout at unprecedented levels

May 4, 2022 (Ottawa): Preliminary survey data from the Canadian Pharmacy Mental Health and Workforce Wellness Survey reveals a concerning picture of the health of Canada’s pharmacy workforce after more than two years on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. The national survey of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, conducted by Abacus Data, shows that only 1 in 5 consider their mental health and well-being to be ‘good’ or ‘very good,’ and almost all pharmacy professionals (92%) are at risk of burnout.

Adding to the pressure is an increase in frequent abuse and harassment with almost half (48%) experiencing abuse or harassment from patients at least weekly.

“Canada’s pharmacy teams have proudly taken on a huge role in our pandemic response, they’ve remained a steadfast resource for their communities and have become a leading provider of COVID-19 vaccinations and guidance,” says Dr. Danielle Paes, Chief Pharmacist Officer. “But the unrelenting demands, coupled with added administrative burdens and staffing challenges have pushed us to a tipping point.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken an immense toll on our pharmacy workforce and has also led to significant challenges in the recruitment and retention of pharmacy professionals:

  • Half (52%) of pharmacy professionals indicated that inadequate staffing is having a severe negative impact on their mental health and well-being
  • During the pandemic, the impact of work on mental health and well-being has caused 72% to consider leaving their position (40%) or the pharmacy profession (32%)

“Through it all, pharmacy teams in all settings have remained dedicated to supporting Canada’s health-care system, but it’s clear we need more support and resources as we continue to be there for our patients,” adds Paes. “The need to address the health care crisis we are currently facing and assist our health workers across the board has never been more evident.”  

CPhA continues to advocate and call on government to invest in mental health resources and supports for health-care providers and funding to help strengthen the pharmacy workforce, especially in rural and remote areas of the country.

Preliminary survey results were presented and discussed with the pharmacy community during a national townhall on May 3, 2022. The survey is part of CPhA’s Pharmacy Workforce Wellness initiative which seeks to address the core causes driving stress and burnout in the profession, and identify solutions and strategies aimed at minimizing the impact of the pandemic and its effect on the pharmacy workforce.

CPhA recently formed a multi-stakeholder steering committee with representatives from across the pharmacy community to help advance this important initiative and ensure a healthy, sustainable and secure future for the pharmacy profession.

About the Canadian Pharmacists Association

The Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) is the uniting national voice of pharmacy and the pharmacist profession in Canada. As pharmacists undertake an enhanced role in the delivery of health care services, CPhA ensures that the profession is recognized as a national leader in health care, influencing the policies, programs, budgets and initiatives affecting the profession and the health of Canadians. 

For more information, please contact:

Tyler Gogo
Strategic Communications Manager
Canadian Pharmacists Association