Standing Up for Community Healthcare Services


The Ontario government introduced amendments to legislation for the Ontario Drug Benefit Act and the Drug Interchangeability and Dispensing Fee Act, which pharmacy felt would result in a severe reduction of front-line community healthcare services to communities across the province. Canada’s largest pharmacy association needed to ensure that the voice of pharmacy was heard throughout the legislative process to preserve the future of community healthcare across the province and the country. We formed a coalition of representatives of all pharmacy stakeholders and implemented a proactive public affairs campaign which saw pharmacists unite in their cause and let their voice be heard in an unprecedented way. We executed an intense media and public relations and public affairs/stakeholder relations strategy designed to put government on notice that pharmacy did not support the new government legislation and was ready to work with government to ensure a fair and comprehensive solution to the issue could be reached and implemented. The media relations campaign incorporated multiple news conferences delivered at Queen’s Park, ongoing media updates and a media hotline for ongoing media communications. In addition, the team engaged in continuous and proactive government and stakeholder relations throughout the campaign.

The Results

  • Generated high level of EN/FR print, broadcast and online media attention at national, provincial and regional level (more than 3,000 unique media hits over a two month campaign).
  • Engaged pharmacists as brand ambassadors and media spokespersons to convey campaign messages.
  • Worked with multiple provincial governments to secure elements favourable to pharmacy and pharmacists in resulting legislations.