March is Pharmacist Awareness Month (PAM) in Canada, an opportunity to highlight the important and increasing role that Canada’s 39,000 pharmacists play in the health care system, in the community and in the provision of high-quality, accessible care and services to Canadians.

A majority of Canadians place a high level of trust in pharmacists to provide a suite of health care services.  In a national survey conducted by Abacus Data in February 2015 to mark PAM, 85% of respondents believed that pharmacists have the education and professional training to do more for patients than fill prescriptions.  As a source for health care advice and expertise, pharmacists are granted a high-level of trust from Canadians. According to the poll, a majority of Canadians trust  pharmacists to provide key health services such as advice on vaccinations (59%), medicines (78%), the management of chronic conditions (51%), healthy lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation and weight loss (57%) and the management of common ailments like the cold or flu (67%). 

The high-level of trust Canadians place in pharmacists to provide advice and services in all these areas reflects the expanding role pharmacists are playing –and being recognized for – in the delivery of health care in Canada.  However, while evidence suggests that Canadians would benefit from pharmacists providing these expanded services, not all jurisdictions in Canada provide pharmacists with the regulatory authority to offer such services. Canadians not only trust pharmacists to provide these services, they would also be very likely to utilize them. When asked whether or not they would consider going to their pharmacist to receive health care services, a majority of respondents confirmed their willingness to go to a pharmacist.  79% would consider going to their pharmacist for a flu shot or other vaccine, 89% for advice on medications, 82% for an appointment to review and discuss medications, 75% for smoking cessation advice, 78% for prescribing medications for minor health conditions, 66% for screening and 69% for advice on the management of chronic disease such as diabetes or hypertension.

The survey demonstrates Canadians’ support for these expanded services and an even more enhanced role for pharmacists as Canadians realize high-quality care is close to home and more accessible than ever.  89% of respondents said they generally go to the same pharmacy, 51% indicated that they visit a pharmacy at least once a month and over one-third of respondents indicated that they know their pharmacist by name.  The trust that Canadians place in pharmacists is clear.  Canadians recognize and support the enhanced role and expanded scope of services that pharmacists can and should be providing.

More information about this survey, including provincial-specific results, can be located on the Pharmacists Awareness Month 2016 website at

Tip sheet to help you get the most out of your medications and your pharmacist  PAM2015PatientTipSheet