Quick Links

Use the quick links below to find the resources and information you need to implement and maintain Safety IQ in your pharmacy.

Safety Self-Assessment

As a mandatory element of Safety IQ, completing an SSA is a condition of pharmacy licence renewal. New pharmacies have at least one year to complete an initial SSA and CPhM requires your pharmacy to complete a new SSA once every three years. An SSA can be conducted more frequently if the pharmacy undertakes a significant change such as a manager change or several staff changes or implementation of new services like opioid agonist therapy, for example.

An SSA is a quality improvement tool pharmacy teams use to assess the safety of current medication practices, proactively identify areas of potential risk, and support the development of improvement strategies or plans. An SSA helps to increase pharmacy staff awareness of safety issues and practices and sets a baseline for pharmacies to review their progress over time. When using an SSA tool, pharmacy staff consider several areas of pharmacy practice from collecting patient information to patient education and rate how well or consistently the pharmacy performs in each area. 

It is the pharmacy manager’s responsibility to ensure an SSA is sourced and completed, but the SSA should be completed with the involvement of a variety of pharmacy team members. 

Your chosen medication incident reporting platform may or may not offer an SSA as part of its service. Two medication incident reporting platform providers offer an SSA as a stand-alone product:

A pharmacy review by corporate or regional staff does not satisfy the SSA requirement for Safety IQ. A casual observance of pharmacy practice also does not fulfill the SSA requirement. An SSA is a tool specifically for pharmacy staff to systematically reflect on the many steps of dispensing processes and set measurable goals for quality improvement.

If your reporting platform does not offer an SSA, please visit ISMP Canada and Pharmapod for information on their SSA tools and subscribe to the one that meets your needs. If your pharmacy wants to use an SSA product not listed here, please contact the Safety IQ team at safetyiq@cphm.ca

Documenting SSAs

There will be variation in what reporting platforms offer for documenting SSAs, so pharmacy managers must ensure

  • All CQI improvement plans and outcomes, as a result of completion of SSA are documented and available for regulatory review
  • The pharmacy manager must declare the date the pharmacy’s SSA is complete on their Pharmacy Portal at cphm.ca. Because of a technology upgrade, registrant logins are temporarily unavailable. Keep track of the date your CQI meeting was completed as you may need to enter recent meeting details into the new portal once it is released.


*Note: Filling out the self-declarations in the pharmacy profile does not meet documentation requirements set out in the Medication Incident and Near-Miss Event Practice Direction for SSAs and CQI Meetings.

Frequently Asked Questions

A small group of pharmacy staff should work together to complete an SSA. The prescription processing system involves many steps and the actions of various individuals. Each member of the pharmacy team may have a different perspective on how the system works and what is actually happening. Therefore, it is important to engage a variety of pharmacy team members including a pharmacist, technician and/or assistant to work together with the pharmacy manager or CQI Coordinator (if applicable) on an SSA.


Generally, an SSA takes only a few hours to complete and can be done over more than one meeting if needed. The SSA team members review each self-assessment item and discuss how well the pharmacy implements each one and agree on a rating for the pharmacy.

The pharmacy team members conducting the SSA review the results to determine which areas to focus efforts to reduce risky practices and close patient safety gaps. It may be helpful to begin with a small change first - make a plan, implement the change and then evaluate the results of the change. You do not want to take on a big change to only become overwhelmed and discouraged. Involve pharmacy staff in developing process or procedures changes and have discussions on how changes are proceeding and decide if the changes are beneficial. By starting small, your team can make the change and see the results and then move on to develop additional improvements based on your SSA.

Celebrate your success and re-evaluate if things don’t work out as planned.


Your team can use the analysis tools available at the following link if you don't know where to start: http://safetyiq.academy/analyze-and-act/


Once your SSA is complete, the pharmacy manager must log into their Pharmacy Portal on cphm.ca to declare the date of completion and product used. Pharmacies are not required to share their completed SSA with the CPhM, but your SSA and subsequent improvement plan(s) must be documented and available for regulatory review.


Pharmacy field officers will check-in with pharmacy managers during inspections to provide support, confirm that the SSA has been completed by the deadline, and discuss what improvements the pharmacy has undertaken.

While it is recommended that a SSA is completed by several pharmacy team members to include a variety of perspectives, the goals of the SSA are to

  • assess the safety of current medication practices;
  • proactively identify areas of potential risk;
  • and support the development of improvement strategies or plans.

These goals remain the same whether you have one staff member or many.

It may be even more important to complete the SSA when you have only one staff member because you do not have the benefit of other team members to complete important processes like independent double checks during prescription procedures.