Canadian Pharmacists Association
Canadian Pharmacists Association

On embracing change

On our new direction
May 2024

It’s good to be back! It’s been a year since I paused my work at CPhA to focus my attention on my family. It was a privilege to be able to fully embrace parenthood in all it’s glory—the fun, messy, challenging, exhausting and yet incredibly rewarding rollercoaster ride that it is. My maternity leave also provided me with an opportunity to rest and recharge. I was able to step back and reflect on how far our profession has come in the last few years. We’ve truly built momentum and are making good progress, so I am quite excited to get back to work on the advocacy front.

So much has happened over the last year. Have you seen our most recent national scope of practice chart? I personally like to think of all those blue checkmarks as indications of our verified status. Pharmacy is legit and it’s clear that we’re moving towards a whole new era in Canadian health care… let’s call it the pharmacy era… or maybe we could call it Health care (Pharmacy’s Version)?!  I’m hoping at least some readers are getting all my punny references.

Strategic Plan 2024-2026

What’s most interesting about my return to CPhA is that we recently launched our new strategic plan. The plan was created in collaboration with members of the pharmacy community. This was one of the most consultative processes we’ve undertaken to date, because we wanted to understand what matters most to pharmacists. One of the recurring themes we heard throughout was that both the public and our interprofessional colleagues don’t fully understand the breath of pharmacists’ education. With this in mind, we are working on an initiative to shed more light on the subject. I predict that with a growing understanding about our education, we will likely see growing confidence from our patients and other health professions that pharmacists are capable of—in fact are already—helping transform health care delivery.

The reality is that as our scope expands, new funding programs emerge, which translates into an organic rise of new practice models for care. Pharmacist-led clinics are seeing success all over the country. The program in Nova Scotia has been a remarkable example of successful collaboration between regulators, advocacy bodies and the government. The end result being better access to care for patients and caregivers. 

Workforce and wellness 

Of all the work we are doing at CPhA, what hits the closest to home are our efforts to support the frontline when it comes to building strong, healthy teams working in strong healthy environments. We’ve seen the national stats on risk for burnout within the profession, as well as the ongoing pressures around pharmacist-delivered services and professional autonomy. Earlier this year, CPhA put out a statement sharing our belief in the value of pharmacist-delivered services as well as the importance of pharmacists being able to exercise their judgement and professional autonomy when delivering health-care services. We know that the image and reputation of pharmacy is under threat, and we are committed to engaging with stakeholders to address and remedy the situation. 

Another challenge that has moved into the spotlight is the influence of pharmacy benefits managers and preferred provider networks on the pharmacy landscape. We have expressed concern with the increasing trend of payer-directed care, which we believe ultimately compromises the quality and accessibility of health care in Canada. This is an incredibly important issue for the entire profession, and we remain committed to protecting pharmacy practice and patient care.

The consequences of the pressures on our workforce continue to be felt when it comes to health human resources. CPhA is involved in dialogues at the national level with governments and other health-care associations to think strategically about how we face the growing needs of people in Canada with creative yet realistic solutions.  
Before I left, I spoke to many international pharmacy graduates (IPGs) about their experiences coming to Canada.

Time and time again, I was reminded of the unfair barriers and systemic bias that exist. Earlier this year, CPhA received funding from Employment and Social Development Canada to lead a four-year project to help support unlicensed IPGs through mentorship, practical experience and other key integration supports. I’m so excited to see this initiative take shape and look forward to hearing from our program participants as the project advances.

Primary care

If we are to position pharmacy as a viable solution to the primary care crisis in Canada, we must be ready for change. Change in the way community pharmacies are set up. Change in the way pharmacy teams are structured. Change in the way pharmacists are enabled to deliver services. In fact, we feel so strongly that pharmacists need to be part of the solution, that we are hosting a national summit to help build consensus on the future role of pharmacists in primary care. We have invited health-care leaders from across the country to participate in important discussions on this very crucial topic. Pharmacists are primary care providers. For many patients, we are the first point of contact, and in some cases the ONLY consistent point of contact, to the health-care system. 

Innovative solutions

Though I’ve focused my thoughts here on our work in advocacy and leadership, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the remarkable efforts of our CPS team, who are working tirelessly behind the scenes to create CPhA products and services that are relevant and valuable to you. We want to support your clinical decision making by bringing evidence-based content to your practice, and we want to explore ways to build upon modern technology and nurture partnerships to innovate and develop new solutions for pharmacists and the health-care community.  


As a representative of the pharmacist community, I have and promise to continue to push for equity, diversity and inclusion in everything we do at CPhA. One area that deserves more attention than it gets is accessibility. Having worked with children with unique abilities for years, I have a very personal connection to this area of health-care practice. I am so proud to have been able to connect with Ashley Walker as part of our IDEA Dialogues, and I’m humbled to bring her voice to CPhA and now, to you… I encourage you to take a look at these meaningful educational sessions that will hopefully cause you to pause and reflect on how you can better care for patients who are deaf and/or hard of hearing. 

As I settle back into my role at CPhA, I am reminded of the first conversation I had with you here in January 2022. Back then, I stated that we needed more unity and a collective commitment to move this profession toward the bright future I know is ahead of us. I’m confident that our new Strategic Plan and the priorities we’ve identified will get us closer to realizing that vision.

Be well,

Daniel Paes Signature

Daniel Paes

Dr. Danielle Paes
Chief Pharmacist Officer at the Canadian Pharmacists Association

Follow Danielle on Twitter and Instagram (@CdnPharmChief)