Welcome to the Fall edition of The Beat. October 25-29 is Canadian Patient Safety Week and this year’s theme is Who knows? Essential Care Partners do. GS1 Canada acknowledges the role of everyone – healthcare providers, patients, caregivers (both formal and informal), as well as health system support services and agencies – in ensuring Canada’s healthcare system delivers the safest possible care and services to every patient.

GS1 Canada’s Boards, including the Board of Governors, continue to advocate for a safer, more efficient healthcare system for all Canadians. Read on to discover more about our community initiatives, as well as how you can get involved.

GS1 Canada in the Community

Welcome New Council and Board Members

GS1 Canada is pleased to announce the appointment of two new members to the Healthcare Pharmacy Board.

Healthcare Pharmacy Board

Jean-Philippe Simon Vice President, Professional Affairs and Services,
Professional Services, Familiprix
Kristin Willemsen Vice President, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs,
Food, Healthcare & Consumer Products of Canada (FHCP)

We are pleased to have such a diverse group of leaders representing a wide range of stakeholders on the GS1 Canada Boards. As always, we are grateful to all Board members for their commitment to advancing safety and efficiency through the adoption of GS1 global standards within the community.

How to Solve Common Barcode Issues and Improve Patient Safety

On September 20, 2021, GS1 Canada and HealthPRO Procurement Services, Inc. hosted a joint webinar on Solving Common Barcode Issues and Improving Patient Safety.

Managing and administering medications within a hospital is very complex, and barcode data is integral to helping ensure safe medication management.

The webinar presenters reviewed common barcoding errors for pharmaceutical products and demonstrated ways in which GS1 Canada and HealthPRO Procurement Services, Inc. are working to help manufacturers identify and correct them. The presentation was followed by a live Q&A, which allowed for direct engagement with suppliers and other stakeholders.

To learn more about HealthPRO and the importance of barcoding, visit here.

News from Canada

Health Canada Considers a Unique Device Identification System in Canada

Health Canada recently conducted a consultation on the introduction of a Unique Device Identification (UDI) system for medical devices in Canada. A UDI system is currently used in the United States, Europe, China, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Taiwan.

Amongst many benefits, a UDI system in Canada can enable:

  • The tracking of medical devices right down to the administrator or patient, improving patient outcomes and safety.
  • Line-of-sight to medical devices that Canada’s healthcare providers, patients and consumers rely on.
  • Better inventory management, including indication of when to rotate stock.
  • Cost savings and resource efficiencies in our strained healthcare system.

Health Canada’s leadership brings Canada one step closer to benefiting from a national Unique Device Identification (UDI) system in Canada’s healthcare system. Thank you to everyone who sent letters and submissions to Health Canada in support of GS1 Canada and GS1 global standards! The response was tremendous.

GS1 Canada, with the support of our community, submitted a response to Health Canada with the following recommendations:

  • GS1 and GS1 Canada fully support moving forward with UDI implementation in Canada. GS1 already supports UDI implementation in other jurisdictions internationally, including the United States and the European Union.
  • GS1 Canada supports Canada joining many other countries worldwide in implementing changes to improve the management of medical devices. Alignment and harmonization are encouraged by GS1 and the users of GS1 global standards.
  • GS1 is the largest UDI Issuing Agency to regulators worldwide and we are well prepared to assist a smooth implementation in Canada. GS1 Canada supports UDI policy implementation daily, and can continue to be a trusted, strategic partner in this process. Specifically, GS1 Canada will work to ensure that Canadian regulations are based on current global supply chain best practices and existing processes which have the support of all affected sectors.
  • Creating a Canadian UDI database with its foundation formed from GS1 Canada’s National Product Registry, given its track record of data excellence and its interoperability capabilities.

It’s not too late to lend your voice to positive change in Canada’s healthcare system. Add your name to a growing list of Canadians who support a UDI system for medical devices at

News from Around the World

The Digital Clinical Safety Strategy Released in the United Kingdom

The Digital Clinical Safety Strategy is a joint publication between the NHS (National Health Service) England, NHSX, NHS Digital and NHS Improvement. It is an addendum to the NHS Patient Safety Strategy, outlining the case for improved digital clinical safety across health and social care.

It builds on the NHS patient safety strategy, as well as setting out two additional clear aims:

  1. To improve the safety of digital technologies in health and care, now and in the future.
  2. To identify, and promote the use of, digital technologies as solutions to patient safety challenges.

GS1 UK’s Scan4Safety report was referenced as evidence that using barcodes to track data and devices has reduced medical device recall time from days to hours and preventable medication error rates by up to 76%.

Congratulations to GS1 UK for such an acknowledgement!

Get Involved

Advancing a Clinically Integrated Supply Chain

The collective experiences of the healthcare community in managing the pandemic established a burning platform for greater healthcare supply chain visibility and traceability capabilities in Canada. As a result, GS1 Canada’s healthcare community advanced a national roadmap for transformation to a clinically integrated supply chain.

The vision of the roadmap is that every patient record incorporates global standards, which are the common global supply chain language, as well as accurate data to establish the foundation of:

  • Patient safety
  • Best possible patient outcomes
  • Robust clinical outcome and value-based procurement analytics
  • Safe and effective product recall management
  • Cost savings
  • System efficiencies

GS1 Canada’s Healthcare Provider Deployment Committee (HPDC) members participated in a series of workshops to validate the current state of adoption and use of global standards in the Canadian healthcare system, define the desired future state and identify the transformational requirements to close the gap.

Next steps involve formalizing a Statement of Direction for the adoption of GS1 global standards and an implementation plan to address the transformational requirements to achieve the desired future state. Click here to access tools and resources to support global standards adoption in healthcare.

The next meeting of the Healthcare Provider Deployment Committee is taking place on November 2, 2021. To learn more about the work of the committee and to join, email

For pharmacy stakeholders, join the Pharmacy Deployment Committee. To learn more about the work of the committee and to join, email

Upcoming Events

  • NPAC Specialty Pharmacy Summit, November 9-10, 2021 Featuring experts from across the sector and attendees from around the country, the Specialty Pharmacy Summit is a one-of-a-kind event in the Canadian pharmacy sector. The NPAC will bring together the pharmacy sector by creating a forum to explore and address the questions that are critical to patients, members, partners and the broader stakeholder community. This online, interactive event will feature opening and closing keynotes, a business stream, a clinical stream, as well as opportunities for open forum discussions with speakers and panelists.

  • 3rd GS1 Global Healthcare Online Summit, November 15-18, 2021 GS1 Healthcare is excited to announce the third GS1 Healthcare Online Summit, which will take place from November 15-18, 2021. This event will showcase speakers from across the world and is designed to bring together the entire global healthcare community. Participants will hear how GS1 standards can help to improve clinical outcomes and supply processes, how they are used to help secure the supply chain, gain insights about important regulatory developments, and much more!

  • CAPDM Supply Chain Boot Camp, November 23-24, 2021 CAPDM’s Supply Chain Boot Camps are comprehensive primers on Canada’s drug supply chain. Participants learn from senior supply chain leaders and market experts on a range of essential topics, including: stakeholders in the supply chain from manufacturers through wholesalers, distributors, and third-party logistics (3PL) firms to the patient’s point-of-care; regulators and key regulations; sector trends and data; and current and emerging issues.