OTTAWA, Ontario, September 14, 2005, (—Â Events are unfolding rapidly in Ontario that may see the Ontario Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council (HPRAC) rule in favour of restricting pharmacists ability to exercise their conscience.

On March 22, 2005, the Ontario College of Pharmacists submitted their recommendations regarding the “Code of Ethics for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians”. Iain T. Benson, executive director of the Center For Cultural Renewal in Ottawa, issued a release yesterday calling attention to “Principle 4” of that submission.

The statement reads: The pharmacist and pharmacy technician respects the autonomy, individuality and dignity of each patient and provides care with respect for human rights and without discrimination. No patient shall be deprived of pharmaceutical services because of the personal convictions or religious beliefs of a pharmacist or pharmacy technician.”

Mr. Benson, in his statement, writes, “For pharmacists and pharmacy technicians the accommodation of religious belief and conscience guaranteed by Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms will be suspended should this principle go ahead as drafted. This is not the approach taken by doctors, and the Canadian Medical Association would not endorse this blunt and unfair kind of principle. Why are Pharmacists deemed to be so different as citizens or professionals that they cannot exercise the full rights of other citizens and professionals? Why indeed.”

Mr. Benson’s release continues: “There are some by invitation only ‘focus groups’ going ahead this month in Sudbury and Windsor and Ottawa but the deadline for comment has passed. It might be possible, however, for concerned individuals or groups to make an appearance and express their views.

Contact information to make a submission can be found at:

But the dates for the focus groups are as follows:

September 13, 2005 – Sudbury
  September 14, 2005 – Ottawa
  September 20, 2005 – Windsor

For further information contact:
  Karen Lane, Consultation Co-ordinator
[email protected]
  416-325-8928 / toll free 1-888-377-7746

  Ontario Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council (“HPRAC”)

Ontario College of Pharmacists submission to the HPRAC.