Physical Barrier Requirements: Deadline for Implementation Extended Until December 31, 2020

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bc's covid-19 response

Physical barrier requirements: deadline for implementation extended until december 31, 2020

BC's COVID-19 Response

The situation regarding COVID-19 continues to evolve here in BC, Canada and other jurisdictions in the world. The College of Pharmacists of BC is working closely with the Ministry of Health and other partners to support the response to this new illness as part of BC’s health system.

The College will provide any updated information or guidance for pharmacy professionals as it becomes available.

Please follow updates provided on

Pharmacy professionals exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms should follow the COVID-19 testing process developed for all British Columbia health care workers.

In response to the increasing demands on BC’s pharmacies and pharmacy professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic, the College is extending the deadline for community pharmacies and telepharmacies to implement physical barrier requirements. 

The deadline for compliance with physical barrier requirements has been extended from April 21, 2020 to December 31, 2020.

Physical Barriers

When a full pharmacist is not present and the pharmacy is accessible by non-registrants, Schedule I and II drugs, controlled drug substances and personal health information must be secured by physical barriers. 

Physical barriers provide an additional layer of security for the protection drugs and confidential health information. Physical barriers can be tailored to the needs and structure of the particular community pharmacy. Some examples of physical barriers include: locked gates, grillwork, locked cabinets, locked doors, and locked shelving units.  

See Section 26(2) of the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act Bylaws

These requirements were part of a suite of new measures to enhance the security of community pharmacies in BC, which were brought into effect on April 21, 2017. 

The establishment of these measures was important to prevent pharmacy robberies and break and enters, and to better protect personal health information. Additional measures, which included time-delay safes, security camera systems, monitored alarms, motion sensors and signage, have all been mandatory as of April 21, 2017. 

While physical barriers have been mandatory for all new pharmacies and any pharmacies undergoing renovations, since April 21, 2017, the College recognized that existing pharmacies would need time to implement these requirements. As such, the College set out a 3-year transition period, initially set to end on April 21, 2020, for existing community pharmacies to become compliant with the physical barrier requirement. 

However, in response to the sudden onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in BC and around the world, the College has implemented a number of recent pharmacy practice changes, placing added responsibilities on BC’s pharmacies and straining their already stretched resources. 

In order to alleviate these pressures, the College is extending the deadline for compliance with the physical barrier requirements from April 21, 2020 to December 31, 2020. 

Moving forward, existing community pharmacies and telepharmacies who have not already done so, will have until December 31, 2020 to implement physical barriers. 


Pursuant to section 4.1(3) of the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act, a direct owner must give the registrar 30 days' written notice of any changes respecting the name or layout of the pharmacy.

A change in layout refers to any changes to your original pharmacy diagram, as submitted to the College. This includes the implementation of physical barrier requirements. 

Learn more about submitting a Change in Layout Application. 


For questions related to physical barriers and pharmacy security, contact the College’s Policy and Legislation department at [email protected]

Additional Resources
Apr 02, 2020