December 2021

As 2021 draws to a close, we reflect on a year of pandemic-related challenges, but also one of optimism, with the introduction of vaccines that we hope will re-establish a sense of normalcy. The healthcare sector has been especially challenged and pushed to its limits during this time, but it has also seen a unique period of transformation through innovation and adaptation.

We thank everyone who contributed their time, energy, support and collective goodwill to make positive changes that will ultimately benefit every patient. Read on to learn about the inspirational work being done by our healthcare and pharmacy communities.

The GS1 Canada Boards are united to stay the course on strategic priorities going into 2022. The community’s championing of initiatives enables safety and efficiencies in the healthcare system. To our GS1 Canada community, we wish you a safe, healthy holiday season and a fulfilling 2022.

What's Happening at GS1 Canada

Coming Enhancements to Product Certification for Pharmaceutical Content

The pharmacy community, including pharmaceutical manufacturers, have rallied to support Project Enhanced Data Integrity for Patient Safety. This project has expedited and enabled the capturing of pharmaceutical product images, weights and dimensions data, as well as a pharmaceutical barcoding audit. The project is near completion and becomes the foundation for manufacturers to certify 100% of their data in the enhanced Product Certification tool.

Certified pharmaceutical content and images help protect the health of Canadians to ensure accuracy at the point of dispensing, patient verification and electronic medical record traceability.

Pharmaceutical Content Capture Service includes 2-3 high resolution images per unit of use GTIN including:

  • Front-side facing view
  • Reverse facing view
  • Side facing view (if necessary, for a two-toned product)

Soon, this will also include the capture of data and images of the inner and outer packaging:

This will allow the brand owner to certify the content at each packaging level – unit of use (pill/application unit), primary (inner packaging) and secondary (outer packaging) - for all GTINs linked to each Drug Identification Number (DIN).

If you have questions about how to access the certified data or to inquire about how to submit your pharmaceutical products for image and data capture, please contact

GS1 Canada Contributes to CSA Group Report: Realizing a Made-in-Canada Pandemic Response Products Ecosystem

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed important gaps in the Canadian pandemic response products ecosystem. A report published in May 2021 included 12 recommendations across three domains (quality infrastructure, supply chain and sustainability) to make this ecosystem self-sufficient and sustainable. The objectives of the new report released in October 2021 were to understand the feasibility of the 12 recommendations and explore in greater detail what specific actions are needed. Action items, potential impacts and lead actors were identified where possible. These findings are aimed broadly at stakeholders across healthcare, public health, manufacturing, standards development and government.

Stakeholders suggested that a traceability standard regulation should come from the federal government to avoid barriers to trade between provinces. GS1 Global Standards were recommended as the optimal choice to facilitate global trade. Key steps to achieving traceability include regulated adoption of global barcode standards, healthcare system leadership to facilitate adoption and awareness, adoption of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, alignment with electronic health records and development of evaluation criteria. The use of barcodes that align with international standards is a key foundational element of a traceability system.

Click here to read the full report.

Call for Volunteers - PPE & Industrial Cleaning Supplies (ICS) Work Group Launching in December

At the direction of GS1 Canada's Boards, a multi-sector PPE & Industrial Cleaning Supplies (ICS) Work Group has been established. The COVID-19 pandemic propelled PPE and industrial cleaning supplies to universal use. During that time, we saw an unprecedented demand and urgent need for products such as gloves, masks, gowns, sanitizers and cleaning supplies across all sectors and industries, to help limit the spread of COVID-19. The demand included the need to have instant access to information about the product, including who made it, where it came from, its features, uses and content.

This forum will serve to identify PPE and ICS related processes, systems, and standards (e.g., data capture, sharing) based on Canadian regulations and business requirements, that will enable seamless PPE and ICS product information and data sharing capabilities for businesses and governments.

For more information or to join the Work Group, please contact

GS1 Canada in the Community

2D Barcoding Advancing Safety and Enabling Healthcare Providers with Digital Readiness

GS1 Canada, in collaboration with the Canadian Association for Pharmacy Distribution Management (CAPDM), hosted a free webinar, “2D Barcoding: Your Questions Answered”, on November 4, 2021. The webinar focused on answering questions related to 2D Barcoding initiatives in healthcare. Alicia Duval, Senior Vice President, Industry Relations at GS1 Canada presented along with George Craigie, Senior Director, Supply Chain Data and Analytics, McKesson Canada and Edith Rolko, Director of Pharmacy, North York General Hospital.

The critical need for barcoding precision was reinforced by the guest presenters in terms of the realities that digital healthcare at the point of prescription dispensing, patient care and electronic medical record traceability require the readiness of pharmaceutical barcoding including the GTIN, Lot and Expiry Date. Without this readiness in place, digitally enabled healthcare organizations are sometimes forced to relabel. The advancement of the pharmaceutical roadmap is a critical community initiative to advance Canada’s digital state of readiness.

For more information related to the implementation of GS1 DataMatrix barcodes on pharmaceuticals in Canada, click here.

News from Around the World

GS1 Health Reference Book 2021 – 2022

The latest edition of the GS1 Health Reference Book has been released which includes several interesting case studies from around the world related to the implementation of global standards. Click here to read some of the inspiring stories about how GS1 global standards are enabling the transformation of healthcare around the world.

GS1 Healthcare 3rd Online Summit

The third GS1 Healthcare Online Summit was held on November 16-18, 2021. This event brought together the global healthcare community and featured several international speakers. Topics included “How do digital technology and global standards improve clinical outcomes?”, “Helping Healthcare emerge smarter: What does the future of healthcare need to consider?”, as well as spotlights on medical device and pharmaceutical regulation. As always, the opportunity to hear from others in the industry and learn from their experiences is invaluable. Click here to learn more.

Get Involved

Pharmacy Deployment Committee: November 24, 2021

The November 24 Pharmacy Deployment Committee meeting featured:

  • Pharmacy sector development updates.
  • A guest presentation on Fostering Standards Based Supply Chain Traceability in Long Term Care Pharmacy by Speaker Henry Mah from Island Health.
  • A roundtable covering the global standards adoption plan to enable digital transformation in all pharmacy practice channels.
  • A platform to establish clarity on category scope for the Pharmacy GS1 Datamatrix Roadmap.

The next Pharmacy Deployment Committee will take place on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. EST.

For more information on the Pharmacy Deployment Committee, contact:

GS1 Canada launches Digital Readiness Scorecard for Healthcare Provider Organizations

GS1 Canada’s Healthcare Provider Deployment Committee (HPDC) members have collaborated on the development of a GS1 Digital Readiness Scorecard, designed to provide all healthcare supply chain stakeholders with a set of criteria to use as a tool for self-assessment of current state of global standards adoption and/or planned capability, by business or clinical use case.

Global standards are the foundation of effective supply chain management, resource efficiency and ultimately, patient safety, across the healthcare value chain – including procurement, inventory management, patient care, product recall, as well as business and clinical analytics.

The Healthcare Provider Scorecard is now available. Contact to access the scorecard and instructions for use.

The Healthcare Provider Deployment Committee will reconvene in March 2022. To learn more about the movement toward global standards adoption and to join the Committee, send us an email at

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