National Drug Scheduling Advisory Committee (NDSAC)

The National Drug Scheduling Advisory Committee (NDSAC) reviews and analyzes submissions from sponsors requesting scheduling placements and conducts independent research of the issues, as needed.

The Committee was established to advise the provincial pharmacy regulatory authorities on matters relating to the placement of drugs within a three schedule/four category national model, through:

  • Application of the drug scheduling factors and the cascading principle in making schedule recommendations. Determination of the appropriate schedule for a drug is made using the factors to find the best “fit”;
  • Recommendations on the appropriate conditions of sale of drugs in Canada; and
  • Evaluation and maintenance of the drug scheduling factors.

Meeting quorum is five (5) voting members with voting by simple majority. 

Committee Membership

The NDSAC’s eight (8) expert members are chosen for their knowledge and experience in such disciplines as pharmacotherapy, drug utilization, drug interactions and toxicology, pharmacy practice, academic research, the drug industry and pharmaceutical regulatory affairs at federal and provincial levels. This knowledge and experience must be relevant to the Canadian public and healthcare system.

In addition to the above, candidates for appointment to the NDSAC must possess:

  • An appreciation of the health, pharmaceutical and marketplace contexts in which the Committee’s recommendations will have impact;
  • Objective analytical skills;
  • No personal stake in the scheduling recommendations of the Committee;
  • A high degree of integrity and respect for the confidential nature of the proprietary information under study;
  • Effective interpersonal skills relevant to Committee dynamics;
  • An ability to serve in the best interests of the Canadian public; and
  • Canadian residency.

In addition to the eight expert members, representatives of the Consumers’ Association of Canada as well as Health Canada’s Natural and Non-prescription Health Products Directorate and Marketed Health Products Directorate serve on the Committee as observers.

Committee appointments are made by NAPRA pursuant to consultation with a wide range of interested parties. Information on Committee vacancies, recruitment and application processes are posted on this site on an ongoing basis.

Appointments are for three-year terms, renewable once. Committee members select a Chair and Vice-Chair from among the members, both one-year term positions.

NDSAC members are mandated to serve in the public interest, aiming to promote optimal pharmacotherapy while recognizing the role and responsibility of the patient in health care. Appointments of expert members are not representational in nature and NDSAC expert members may not directly forward the views of any business, organization or association.

Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest

Committee members must declare any real or perceived conflicts of interest and adhere to confidentiality codes. In situations where a real or perceived conflict of interest arises in the course of the Committee’s work, individuals must declare its existence and thereby disqualify themselves from participation in the discussion or, depending on the situation, from membership on the Committee.

See Conflict of Interest Guidelines and Confidentiality Obligations for Members of the National Drug Scheduling Advisory Committee (NDSAC) that members must comply with.

NDSAC Members

Vaughn Chauvin, B.Mus., B.Sc. (Pharmacy), R.Ph., CDE

Coquitlam, British Columbia


Appointed: January 2021 to January 2024
Reappointed: January 2024 to January 2027

Mr. Chauvin is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia (UBC) where his teaching focuses on chronic pain, opioid use, and professional practice.  As a graduate of the University of Toronto, he has practiced community pharmacy in both Ontario and British Columbia.  He completed a post-graduate Community Pharmacy Residency at UBC and has broad clinical experience including work as a consultant in a multidisciplinary pain program.  He is currently an owner and pharmacy manager in a group of community pharmacies that are co-located and integrated into family practice and specialty medical clinics, allowing for a maximized scope of practice. 

Michael Hamilton, B.Sc., B.Ed., M.D., M.P.H.

Newmarket, Ontario


Appointed: November 2020 to November 2023
Reappointed: November 2023 to October 2026

Dr. Hamilton is the Medical Director at the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada (ISMP Canada). In addition to his oversight and leadership roles within the organization, he contributes to the investigation of both prescription and non-prescription medication errors, supports the development of mitigation strategies, and collaborates in the many ongoing research projects at ISMP Canada. He advises and educates local and international health care providers, administrators, policymakers, and legislators about issues in medication safety. Dr. Hamilton also chairs the Canadian Medication Incident Reporting and Prevention System Collaborating Group. He has had clinical experience in emergency medicine, long-term care, inpatient care, and office practice and has also served as an investigating coroner with the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario. He continues his current clinical practice as a family physician and serves on medical advisory and safety committees in the community.

Certina Ho, R.Ph., B.Sc. (Pharmacy), M.I.St., M.Ed., Ph.D.

Richmond Hill, Ontario

Appointed: April 2024 to April 2027

Dr. Ho is an Assistant Professor at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy and the Director, Educational Program Evaluation and Scholarship at the Department of Psychiatry, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. She also holds faculty appointment at the School of Pharmacy, University of Waterloo, and the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University. Her teaching and research involve patient/medication safety and quality improvement, as well as educational program evaluation and scholarship. Dr. Ho retains her affiliation with the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada as a Medication Safety Advisor, with a focus on community pharmacy reporting and learning. After graduating from the University of Toronto, Dr. Ho worked in a variety of pharmacy practice settings, including community, corporate office, drug information, and provincial pharmacy regulatory authority before her recent academic career in higher education. Since December 2018, Dr. Ho has been serving on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Council on Continuing Education in Pharmacy (CCCEP) as the representative of the Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada (AFPC).

Husayn Kassam, B.Sc. (Pharmacy)

Toronto, Ontario

Appointed: February 2022 to February 2025

Mr. Kassam is currently a member of the Clinical Services team at Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) in Ontario. In addition to his role as an educator in providing drug information, he has been and continues to be involved in several projects assisting the interprofessional team at WSIB. Prior to his current role, he practiced as a Clinical Pharmacist in a Family Health Team, as well as in a variety of retail settings, including as a manager and pharmacy owner. Mr. Kassam continues to remain involved in the profession by mentoring and training future pharmacists in his role as a volunteer preceptor at the Imagine Clinic in Toronto and as a Clinical Instructor at the University of Toronto.

Jason Kielly, B.Sc. (Pharmacy), Pharm.D.

St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

Appointed: October 2016 to October 2019
Reappointed: November 2019 to November 2022

Extended: November 2022 to October 2024

Dr. Kielly is an Assistant Professor at the School of Pharmacy, Memorial University, where he lectures on a broad range of therapeutic topics such as musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular disease, headache disorders, geriatric psychiatry and clinical toxicology. He is a Clinical Pharmacotherapy Specialist with the Rheumatic Health Program at Eastern Health. Dr. Kielly has served as the Newfoundland and Labrador representative on the Atlantic Common Drug Review (ACDR) Atlantic Expert Advisory Committee since May 2011. He is currently involved with a number of research projects that aim to assess the value of pharmacy practice activities in both collaborative practice and in community pharmacy settings. Most recently, Dr. Kielly was the co-principal investigator on a successful Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) grant that aims to assess the feasibility and acceptability of point-of-care testing for HIV by community pharmacists.

Carole Kierstead, B.Sc. (Pharmacy)

St. Catherines, Ontario

Appointed: August 2022 to August 2025

Ms. Kierstead currently consults on the commercialization of cell and gene therapy. Previously, she was the Director of Drug Safety and Risk Management at Celgene Canada where she was responsible for overseeing a team with a responsibility for pharmacovigilance and the operation of a controlled distribution program to prevent fetal exposure to potentially teratogenic drugs. In addition, Ms. Kierstead has worked in a variety of pharmacy practice settings and has extensive experience as a consulting and practising pharmacist for pharmaceutical companies, retail pharmacies, hospital pharmacies and associations.

Kevin Pothier, B.Sc., B.Sc. (Pharmacy)

Fredericton, New Brunswick

Appointed: May 2020 to May 2023
Reappointed: May 2023 to April 2025

Mr. Pothier is a Manager with the National Prescription Drug Utilization Information System, Policy and Economic Analysis Branch, at the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board. Previously, he was the Executive Director, Pharmaceutical Services, with the New Brunswick Department of Health. After graduating from Dalhousie University, Mr. Pothier worked in a variety of pharmacy practice settings, including community, corporate, association and pharmacy industry. He spent the majority of his career in corporate pharmacy, before beginning a career in government in 2010 with the New Brunswick Department of Health and then moving to the federal government in 2022.

Marjorie Rempel Friesen, B.Sc. (Pharmacy)

Montreal, Quebec

Appointed: January 2023 to January 2026

Ms. Rempel Friesen is a hospital pharmacist and coordinator for the drug information centre at McGill University Health Centre, as well as a clinical associate at the Faculty of Pharmacy at the Université de Montréal. She is a practising pharmacist with extensive experience in drug information and toxicology. In addition to her work at the drug information centre, Ms. Rempel Friesen is the Chair for the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists’ Drug Information, Pharmacy Specialty Network. She is a pharmacist collaborator with the Centre antipoison du Québec, she previously worked for the BC Drug and Poison Information Centre, and she is a member of the Canadian Association for Poison Centres and Clinical Toxicology. She also serves on many committees related to her area of practice, including the Canadian Antidote Guide Steering Committee. Ms. Rempel Friesen’s expertise in this area has led to her being invited to share her knowledge and expertise at scientific meetings and to author various publications related to drug information and clinical toxicology.

Committee Observers

Joan Sayer – Consumers’ Association of Canada
Michel Ntemgwa – Natural and Non-prescription Health Products Directorate, Health Canada
Kevin Bernardo – Marketed Health Products Directorate, Health Canada