New FAQs surrounding IPAC General Standards (standards in effect as of June 15, 2016)

Morgan Hrynyk CPSA, Infection Prevention and Control

Post updated January 10, 2017

Applies to all private, non-governmental facilities NOT accredited by the CPSA

Following extensive consultation and piloting, the IPAC Program has released standards for general infection prevention and control in private, non-governmental medical facilities not accredited by the CPSA.

The standards replace the Checklist for Physician’s General Office Environment and will serve to clarify the expectations of clinics in topics for which there were previously no minimum requirements.

Meeting the IPAC general standards will help ensure the clinic environment in Alberta is safe for patients and staff alike.

If you or your staff have questions, please contact the IPAC Program at or 780-969-5004.

Your questions answered…

Since releasing the standards, a number of physicians have responded with questions or comments. Below are answers to those FAQs:

Q1. What does it mean the standard “will not be enforced until standardized IPAC templates are in place”?

The IPAC program is currently developing standardized templates for all clinics to use. These templates will make it easier for physicians to have effective and consistent policies and procedures in place. IPAC has now published policy & procedure templates for general infection prevention & control (Nov. 2016)

Q2. Why the need to have a specialized refrigerator to store vaccines?

We included some standards in our document as they are prescribed in provincial legislation, regulation, or policy. Vaccine refrigeration is one such standard (see Alberta Vaccine Cold Chain Policy). The Alberta Government and Alberta Health Services (AHS) is directing community providers to meet this provincial policy, and effective September 30, 2016, will only distribute publicly funded vaccines to providers with compliant fridges.

See more FAQs from AHS

The Public Health Agency of Canada has also noted “bar” fridges as a leading cause of cold chain breaks. Purpose-built vaccine refrigerators differ from those manufactured for food and drink in mechanisms for temperature regulation, defrost mechanisms, spatial temperature differential, effects of change in ambient temperature, and temperature recovery. Unfortunately, thermometer-based temperature monitoring is unable to provide assurance of protection from all of these elements.

Q3. How do you define “training in infection prevention & control” (G.1.2) and “appropriately trained” for the designated individual responsible for infection prevention & control (G.1.3)?

Training must include education on all topics in the General Infection Prevention & Control Assessment and the associated clinic policies & procedures (G.1.1.1-1.1.14). As noted in Q1 above, the IPAC Program is currently developing templates for clinics to use. All training must be documented. An appropriately trained IPAC designate is an individual that is familiar and competent in the application of the standards and policies & procedures. This person is a trainer/educator and a resource to other staff.

Formal education (e.g. courses) is not a requirement but is highly recommended, particularly for the clinic’s IPAC designate. The IPAC Program is currently reviewing the curricula of a number of courses to see if any would meet the needs of community medical clinics. The IPAC Program will post any endorsed courses on our website.