Pharmacists in Canada
Canada has approximately 33,000 licensed pharmacists. Of those, 24,000 work in 8,600 community pharmacies and 5,600 work in hospitals. Pharmacists also work in the pharmaceutical industry, governments, colleges and universities and associations.
What do Pharmacists do?
Today's pharmacists are highly respected as the medication management experts of the health care team. They collaborate with patients, their families and other health care providers to benefit the health of Canadians. The pharmacist's traditional role is expanding, and pharmacists across Canada deliver a range of innovative services, including medication reviews, chronic disease management, immunization services and wellness programs. Most provincial governments have approved pharmacist prescribing with varying scopes of authority, a service that complements the care provided by a doctor and can result in more convenient refills, less time spent dealing with prescription changes and collaborative medication management.
Becoming a Pharmacist in Canada
In order to become a licensed pharmacist in Canada, you need:
- A bachelor's or doctor of pharmacy degree from one of ten Canadian universities
- To complete a national board examination through the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) (with the exception of Québec)
- Practical experience through an apprenticeship/internship program
- Fluency in English or French
The profession of pharmacy is regulated on a provincial and territorial level. The regulatory authorities are directly responsible for granting pharmacist licenses, assessing the competency of pharmacists and ensuring public safety. For a detailed look at the specific provincial licensing requirements in every province, visit the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA).
International Pharmacy Graduates (IPGs)
Requirements for licensing of internationally trained pharmacists can be found on the PEBC website. To help IPGs successfully complete the licensing requirements, several programs are available:
- The International Pharmacy Graduate Program — Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto in Toronto, ON
- The Canadian Pharmacy Practice Programme — Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC
- The International Pharmacy Bridging Program — Bredin Institute in Calgary, AB and Edmonton, AB