Jurisprudence shows that the Order of Pharmacists and the Order
of Chemists have a history of disagreeing about the extent of each
other's scope of activities.1Courts have been
reluctant to intervene in this age old debate, so Quebec's
legislator has responded by attempting to clarify this scope.
On May 29th 2012, An Act to amend various legislation
respecting the professions and other legislative provisions in the
field of applied sciences (Bill 77) was presented to the
national assembly. If adopted, it will modify both the
Professional Chemists Act and the Pharmacy Act
and provide for a clear power-sharing structure between the two
the practice of pharmacy is defined as consisting in
"determining and ensuring the proper use of medications,
particularly to identify and prevent pharmacotherapeutic problems,
and in preparing, storing and delivering medications in order to
maintain or restore health;"2 and
the Professional Chemists Act provides pharmacists
with a broad exemption, allowing them to practice professional
chemistry in a pharmaceutical context.3
If Bill 77 is adopted, the broad exemption contained in the
Professional Chemists Act will be removed and replaced
with the following wording: "subject to the rights and
privileges expressly granted by law to other
If Bill 77 is adopted, the amendments to the Pharmacy
Act will be twofold. First, it will redefine the practice of
pharmacy as also including engaging in scientific activities that
involve analyzing, designing, determining, carrying out, monitoring
the composition, properties and transformation of a medication;
processes that act on a medication, excluding the industrial
scaling of such processes.5
Second, it will reserve the following activities involved in the
practice of pharmacy, as it is described above, to pharmacists:
determining parameters for the transport, storage or use of a
medication to ensure its quality or integrity, as well as
parameters for the disposal of a medication;
analyzing, formulating and carrying out an instruction
pertaining to a medication; and
analyzing, designing and carrying out a
With these proposed amendments, the definition of what
constitutes the practice of pharmacy is legislatively expanded.
From a practical point of view, if Bill 77 is adopted, pharmacists
will still be able to perform the same tasks as before, but they
will no longer be required to reference an exemption found in the
Professional Chemists Act in order to do so. Their powers
will be clearly defined in their own Pharmacy Act, leading
to more certainty as to the scope of their competence, and less
potential conflicts with the Order of Chemists.
1 See Ordre des chimistes du Québec c. Ordre
des pharmaciens du Québec,  R.J.Q.
2 Ibid, s. 17.
3 Professional Chemists Act R.S.Q., c C-15, s.
4 Bill 77, s. 20.
5 Ibid, s. 51.
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