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Implementation of the National Drug Schedules

The following summary illustrates how the National Drug Schedules (NDS) model is implemented across Canada.


Scheduling by Reference means that whenever NAPRA makes a scheduling decision, the decision is automatically in force in the provinces or territories where they have elected to schedule by reference, which means the NDS are referenced in provincial/territorial legislation. There may be exceptions to the NDS in rare cases to account for specific needs of that province or territory. Changes to provincial/territorial legislation are only required if the province or territory wants to make an exception to the NDS, otherwise the NDS are automatically in force.


NAPRA + Provincial Approval means that whenever NAPRA makes an addition or a modification to the NDS, the amendments need to be approved by either the pharmacy regulatory authority or the provincial/territorial government before the change comes into effect in the province or territory. The provincial/territorial drug schedules usually match the NAPRA schedules, but there may be exceptions in some cases to account for the specific needs of that province or territory.


Jurisdiction Scheduling by Reference NAPRA + Provincial Approval
Alberta  Yes  
Manitoba Yes  
New Brunswick Yes  
Newfoundland and Labrador Yes  
Northwest Territories Yes  
Nova Scotia Yes  
Nunavut Yes  
Ontario Yes  
Prince Edward Island Yes  
Saskatchewan Yes  
Yukon Yes  
British Columbia   Yes
(Quebec currently maintains its own drug schedules and no plans are underway for provincial adoption of the national model.)
No No