OCP Council Elections…exciting times.

It’s currently election time for council members of the Ontario College of Pharmacists (OCP) in three districts; these are exciting times.  It would be interesting to discover what percentage of the 12,000 odd practicing pharmacists in Ontario actually vote in these elections.  I recollect that in BC it was something less than 10%.

This piece is more about observations, as I would like the reader to draw his/her own conclusions

First let’s have a look at some published material.  This, from Pharmacy Connection, a publication of the OCP:



“Regulating pharmacy in the public interest is a privilege. The College exists to regulate pharmacy so that the public can be confident in the quality and safety of the pharmacy care and services they receive. They must also be able to trust in the College’s ability to make decisions and act in accordance with its public-protection mandate. Council members do not “represent” those who elected them, and those who elected them are not “constituents.” Rather, Council has a fiduciary duty to put their service to the public above all other interests”.

Fine, so Council members have no obligation to represent the interests of those individuals who actually elected them to sit on Council.  This fact, and this emphasis may surprise some pharmacist members, though it is a fact and always has been.

Nevertheless, this may surface some questions:

If this absence of representation is as described, why does anyone bother to participate in the election process?  What are the qualities a member pharmacist would look for in someone running for council?  How does a person differentiate one from the other?  If a nominee cannot take any personal position on anything, then how does a prospective voter decide on voting one over the other?


In this same Pharmacy Connection publication, an OCP staff member goes on to emphasize:

“Please note that considerable weight will be given to candidates who have served on statutory committees as a Non-Council Committee Member (NCCM) prior to seeking election”.

This NCCM designation means individuals who have volunteered to sit on statutory committees, and those who were never elected to council in the first instance.  So what this OCP staff member is stating is that even if an individual is overwhelmingly endorsed by fellow pharmacists in the district he/she is to represent, that individual would likely be set aside by another individual who was never elected, and who happened to volunteer to sit on a statutory committee.  Wow.

If the election process is supposed to be completely in the hands of OCP members to nominate members by the process set out in the ByLaw, meaning being nominated by 3 members in a given district, how can this process be arbitrarily overridden by OCP staff/management?  How did they get this power?

If this is the case, how does “new blood” ever get a chance to make an impact?

Notice how many times the same old faces appear for re-election or are “voted in” by acclamation.  Check out the latest line up.

Some might describe this as ‘abuse of process’.

Some may describe this as an old boys’ club.

Some may wonder why the voting participation rate for these Council elections is so low.

But as declared at the beginning, draw your own conclusions.


14 thoughts on “OCP Council Elections…exciting times.

    • Interesting. I don’t see any of your referenced info disclosed in his campaign bio for council election, in the interest of “transparency.” I find that slightly unsettling.


  1. And on top of all this, the OPA has just released a news/media release that Justin Bates has become its new CEO. Yes, Justin Bates from the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada, formerly CACDS.


      • Bates may be a great choice, but the optics don’t look so good.
        Why did it take the OPA selection committee a whole year to find a guy right under their nose?
        Out of 37,000 pharmacists in Canada, not one of them had the right combination of management skills combined with a pharmacy degree to qualify for the job?
        And then the committee chooses the one guy who heads up the advocacy group formerly known as the Chain Drug Association?
        The chains who are controlled by non pharmacists, and have taken the profession to the point of despair?
        Just a few questions which come to mind.


    • I just have never forgotten the Marketplace “Dispensing Harm” story in January 2015, where they went to interview him and how he shunned any comment:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ci5noQyQ3oM (at the 8′ mark).

      This is now the CEO/”voice of Ontario pharmacists”. Might as well put this here, because to do so on the current CHN would likely result in censure.

      And then, there are the random musings over a strong cup of coffee:

      – CACDS becomes NPAC
      – OPA creates the Owner’s Council
      – OPA joins CPhA under new structuring
      – OPA and CACDS begin submitting conjoint comments to government, etc. (the start of the optics of conflict of interest/bias, even if not “real” — appearance is there notwithstanding the stated mandates of the various organizations)
      – OPA and NPAC continue conjoint submissions to provincial and federal governments, associations
      – OPA hires the CEO of NCAP as its CEO
      – NCPA also issues a corresponding statement of that appointment (https://www.medgazette24.com/opa-hires-mr-justin-bates-as-their-new-chief-executive-officer/)

      Optics, as Bill states…


  2. Sorry Randy, I’m not about to start re-hashing all the concerns people have expressed everywhere about the alliance between OPA/NPAC/et al. and so on and so forth. You can read all those comments to date during downtime. I’m sure others will express them in due course.


    • Why on earth would a practicing pharmacist vote for an organization that does not represent them. OCP has consistently gone out to hang out to dry members for the most ridiculous reasons….in the name of “protecting the public”. We all remember the postman pharmacist? Wonder what happened to him? Maybe OCP should ask the public to vote. Afterall, they do serve the public , not us.


  3. Does anyone know how much money (my money….our money) is being spent on this election and those before? I’m sure it costs money to employ a company to send out ballots and then to collect and count the votes? It’s an old boys club, so just appoint council members and be done with it. I’m sure that the percentage of voters will be less than 10%.


  4. Bill:
    Just to clarify for readers, where you are talking about the NCCM members of committees being given preferential consideration should they decide to actually run for council….

    You state “…that individual would likely be set aside by another individual who was never elected, and who happened to volunteer to sit on a statutory committee.” In fact, “never” is not entirely accurate, because the NCCM may have been elected in prior years, but after serving the maximum time permitted by By-Law, has to leave council (and associated committees). Now — having said that, nothing has prevented the College from then appointing those “can’t run again for at least one term” members to specific committees as NCCMs. And this is where the worm turns: it’s done more often than just once, or twice. In fact, the blood doesn’t change when this happens, and there are multiple instances where past-presidents, etc. are on committees as NCCM — even though there are some 15,000 pharmacists in Ontario that could, as well.

    There are even instances where Part B pharmacists, whose register information shows “no place of practice,” are sitting on such committees as Discipline, etc. Others wishing to apply now have to go through a vetting process, but those former elected members of council, even employees of OCP, remain on crucial committees yet are not even in a “patient-care setting”, but are judging pharmacists actively practising. Go figure….


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