New PODSA Ownership Requirements: Proof of Eligibility
Setting eligibility requirements to hold a pharmacy licence is one of the key changes to the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act (PODSA). Managers and owners will need to meet the eligibility criteria in the Act, in addition to requirements under the College’s bylaws for a pharmacy to be licenced by the College. These changes allow the College to better protect the public by determining the suitability of a manager or owner.
In order to help pharmacy managers and owners prepare for upcoming changes to PODSA, this article provides additional details about the proof of eligibility requirements and how to demonstrate you meet them.
Start Preparing for the New Licensure Process
To start preparing for these changes in advance, you can:
- Determine your ownership structure
- Collect and maintain the names and current email addresses of all individuals (details below) who will need to complete their Proof of Eligibility
Proof of Eligibility
For a pharmacy to be licenced by the College, managers and direct and indirect owners need to meet the eligibility criteria in the Act, in addition to requirements under the College’s bylaws.
Proof of Eligibility is provided through:
- an attestation, and
- a criminal record history submission
Submitting Your Proof of Eligibility
Direct owners, indirect owners and managers will have to submit Proof of Eligibility when they:
- Apply for a new pharmacy licence,
- Renew/re-instate a pharmacy licence, or
- When there is a change of direct owner, indirect owner or manager.
- Note: For a change of manager or owner, only the new direct/indirect owner(s) or manager will have to submit their Proof of Eligibility.
The types of individuals required to submit their Proof of Eligibility depends on the ownership structure of the pharmacy.
|Ownership Structure (Direct Owner)||Individuals Required to submit POE *|
|Corporations or Partnership of Corporations (Non-Publicly Traded)||
If an individual has more than one role in a given pharmacy (e.g. indirect owner as well as the manager of the pharmacy), they will only need to submit Proof of Eligibility once for that pharmacy.
See the information on pharmacy ownership structures and identifying direct and indirect owners in the ReadLinks article New PODSA Ownership Requirements: Ownership Structure and Requirements for Licensure.
Completing Your Proof of Eligibility
When Proof of Eligibility is required, you will receive an email from the College notifying you that the ownership information submitted by the direct owner has been received and validated, and that you may now start completing your Proof of Eligibility.
Proof of Eligibility must be completed electronically through the College’s eServices website through your personal account.
Pharmacy owners who are not registrants of the College will be provided with access to eServices for this purpose. Once on eServices, you will be guided through an electronic form with all required information. To complete the Proof of Eligibility, you will update your personal information, complete the attestation and then complete the Criminal Record History by following the instructions on the new Criminal Record History section in eServices.
Timing for Proof of Eligibility Submissions
Pharmacy Licence Renewals or Re-instatement
Timing begins each year as part of the pharmacy licence renewal process. Proof of Eligibility must be submitted to the College no later than 30 days prior to the expiry of the existing pharmacy licence. Failure to do so will result in a review of the pharmacy file by the Application Committee.
If any requirement is not met by the licence expiry date, the pharmacy licence will not be renewed and PharmaNet connection will be ceased. The pharmacy must then remain closed until the pharmacy licence reinstatement application process is complete.
New Pharmacy Licence Applications
Timing for the Proof of Eligibility section of the application process begins as soon as you receive an email notification from the College to commence the last phase of the new pharmacy licence application process (i.e., pre-opening inspection) as all requirements to be submitted at least 30 days prior to opening.
Remember, Proof of Eligibility from each direct/indirect owner and the manager is only one of the requirements for fulfilling the application for a new pharmacy licence or a pharmacy licence renewal for community pharmacies. Please refer to the PODSA bylaws amendments for other requirements needed to complete the pharmacy licence application.
As part of their Proof of Eligibility, a manager, direct owner or indirect owner will need to make the following attestation through the College’ eServices website:
- That they are not authorized by an enactment to prescribe drugs (not applicable to pharmacists).
- That they have never been subject to a limitation imposed by the College’s discipline committee that precludes them from being a direct owner, an indirect owner, or a manager.
- That they have never been the subject of an order or a conviction for an information or billing contravention.
- That they have not, within the past 6 years, been convicted of an offence prescribed under section 45 (1) (a) (ii) of the Pharmaceutical Services Act.
- That they have not, within the past 6 years, been convicted of an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada.
- That they have not, within the past 6 years, had a judgment entered against them in a court proceeding related to commercial or business activities that occurred in relation to the provision of drugs or devices, or substances or related services (within the meaning of the Pharmaceutical Services Act).
In addition to these attestations, managers, direct owners and indirect owners that are also registered pharmacists or pharmacy technicians must make the following attestations:
- That they have not, within the past 6 years, been suspended or had their registration cancelled by the College, or by a body in another province or foreign jurisdiction, that regulates the practice of pharmacy in that other province or foreign jurisdiction.
- That no limits or conditions have been imposed, within the past 6 years, on their practice of pharmacy as a result of disciplinary action taken by the College, or by a body, in another province or in a foreign jurisdiction, that regulates the practice of pharmacy in that other province or foreign jurisdiction.
Please note that if the indirect owner is new to the College, he/she will have to provide some personal information before the completing the attestation section.
When applying for a licence, direct owners must also ensure that the manager is a pharmacist, and that pharmacist will have responsibility for the actual day-to-day management and operation of the pharmacy.
Failure to attest to any of the above would result in a review of the application by the Application Committee. After reviewing the pharmacy file, the committee may request additional information or evidence and may then issue, renew or reinstate the pharmacy licence with or without conditions, or refuse to issue, renew or reinstate the pharmacy licence.
Criminal Record History
A Criminal Record History involves a search of criminal record history information in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and local police station databases.
The Criminal Record History will be conducted by Sterling Talent Solutions – a professional private criminal record check provider that partners with local police stations to provide results.
The new PODSA ownership requirements require that “no direct owner, indirect owner or manager has, within the previous 6 years, been convicted of an offence under the Criminal Code (Canada)”.
If this eligibility requirement is not met, the pharmacy file will be referred to the Application Committee for review. After reviewing the pharmacy file, the committee may request additional information or evidence and may then issue, renew or reinstate the pharmacy licence with or without conditions, or refuse to issue, renew or reinstate the pharmacy licence.
Criminal Record History vs Criminal Record Check
All registered pharmacists and pharmacy technicians currently undergo a Criminal Record Check (CRC) through the Criminal Records Review Program (CRRP) as required under Section 20(2) of the Health Professions Act at the time of initial registration and at least every 5 years thereafter at the time of registration renewal. However, this check does not provide same level of comprehensive Criminal Record History that is required to be provided under the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act. The Criminal Records Review Program is also specific to Registrants only and does not provide a means for Criminal Record History of non-registrants to be checked.
As a result, the College cannot use the same criminal record check under the Criminal Records Review Program for the pharmacy licensing process since it does not meet the Criminal Record History requirements included in the amendments to the Act.
Going forward, all direct and indirect owners and managers must submit a Criminal Record History as part of the licensure process. All owners who are registered pharmacists as well as pharmacy managers must continue to undergo the separate Criminal Record Check process to maintain their registration with the College.
When will a Criminal Record History need to be submitted?
After the PODSA amendments come into effect in early 2018, all direct and indirect owners and managers of existing pharmacies will need to provide a Criminal Record History at the time of the first pharmacy licence renewal.
For new pharmacies, as part of the new pharmacy licence application process, the corporate documents would be validated and then an email will be sent to initiate the Proof of Eligibility process which includes submitting Criminal Record History.
Once submitted, a Criminal Record History is valid for 5 years after which time a new one must be completed.
How to Submit Criminal Record History to the College
Criminal Record History for direct and indirect owners and managers will be submitted electronically. For new pharmacies, an email with instructions on how to submit a Criminal record History through eServices will be sent to each direct and indirect owner and the manager. For existing pharmacies, an email with instructions will be sent to each direct and indirect owner and manager prior to the first renewal under the amended Act.
Criminal Record History Results
There are four categories of possible results of a Criminal Record History:
- Clear - This result indicates that no criminal conviction history was identified.
- Not Clear, No Disclosure Provided - This result indicates that, based on the candidate’s name, date of birth and place of birth, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has located a criminal record that does not match the information provided by the candidate which indicated that they had no criminal record.
- Not Clear, Disclosure Confirmed - This result indicates that, based on the candidate’s name, date of birth and place of birth, the RCMP has located a criminal record that matches the information provided by the candidate. The “Confirmed” result means that the offence(s), date(s) of conviction and location(s) disclosed by the candidate are representative of what the RCMP found.
- Not Clear, Not Confirmed Disclosure - This result indicates that, based on the candidate’s name, date of birth and place of birth, the RCMP has located a criminal record that matches this information provided by the candidate. The “Not Confirmed” result means that the offence(s), date(s) of conviction and location(s) disclosed by the candidate does not match what the RCMP found.
Under the Privacy Act, the RCMP is unable to disclose details of an individual’s criminal record to third parties – only individuals to whom the record belongs may access and disclose this information. As a result, the College is unable to provide details on the discrepancies between the disclosure provided by the candidate and the details found through the Criminal Record History search.
For results categorized under “Not Clear, No Disclosure Provided” and “Not Clear, Not Confirmed Disclosure”, there is an option to “Zero-In” on the record for an additional cost. This option gives the candidate a chance to correct or provide additional details about their criminal record history. The information is then forwarded to Sterling to conduct a second query on the candidate. A result of “Not Clear – Disclosure Confirmed” will be returned if the revised declaration is now accurate.
A “Not Clear” result does not automatically decline your eligibility to own a pharmacy. The Application Committee may request for more information, issue/renew/reinstate a pharmacy licence with or without conditions or refuse to issue/renew/reinstate a pharmacy licence after considering whether the conviction was for an offence that is or is not relevant to the provision of drugs or devices or to the operation of a pharmacy.
Note that even if your conviction was over 6 years ago, you will still have to disclose this correctly to avoid needing to zero-in and avoid delays in the process. However, only convictions within the last 6 years, are required to go to the Application Committee.
The College will be using the information collected only for the purpose of licensing pharmacies and regulating registrants, including for the discipline of registrants. The College has measures in place to safeguard the information and will set appropriate retention and disposal periods that are in accordance with privacy legislation.
Questions or concerns about privacy and confidentiality should be directed to the College’s Privacy Officer who is responsible for ensuring compliance with the appropriate privacy legislation and can be reached at Privacy@bcpharmacists.org.
Looking for More Information
Looking for more information about the new pharmacy ownership requirements? Here’s some suggestions:
- Refer to the approved amendments to the PODSA bylaws and forms. Most of the forms will be incorporated into College’s eServices website as part of an electronic submissions process.
- Note: The PODSA bylaws and forms have been approved by the College of Pharmacists of BC Board and will come into effect in early 2018.
- Review the information available at bcpharmacists.org/ownership which includes an overview of the PODSA amendments and related changes to the licensure process.
- Check out the Pharmacy Ownership FAQs to see if your questions have already been answered.
A detailed Licensure Guide is in the process of being developed and will be available in early 2018 – stay tuned.
New Pharmacy Ownership Requirements ReadLinks Series
Watch for additional New Pharmacy Ownership Requirements articles in the months ahead on ReadLinks. These articles feature important new requirements for pharmacy licensure and renewals to help pharmacies prepare to meet the new requirements.
- What is a Criminal Record History and why is it required?
- What is the difference between a Criminal Record History and a Criminal Record Check?
- How is a Criminal Record History submitted the College?
- How will the College use and protect Criminal Record History information?
- Who should I talk to at the College if I have any questions, concerns or complaints regarding privacy and confidentiality of my Criminal Record History information?