How to Become 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 10 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)
Enrolment in NAPRA’s Pharmacists’ Gateway Canada is a mandatory first step towards licensure in Canada for international pharmacy graduates (IPGs) in all provinces except Québec.
Pharmacists Gateway Canada (Gateway) provides a number of tools for IPGs, including a public website where IPGs can find everything required to better understand and navigate the Canadian licensure process. The Gateway provides access to clear and up-to-date information on the licensure requirements in every province and territory across Canada and is a confidential national document repository accessible to the candidate, the PEBC and the pharmacy regulatory authority.
For further information about bridging programs that help IPGs successfully complete the licensing requirements to practice pharmacy in Canada, 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
The following organizations also offer bridging programs and services to help IPGs prepare for pharmacist licensure exams:
- Directions for Immigrants in Trades and Professional Careers offers free, live structured PEBC exam preparation study groups for IPGs in Alberta, facilitated by staff and pharmacists. Directions for Immigrants is operated by the Bow Valley College and funded by the Government of Alberta and Government of Canada.
- The Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia offers a bridging program for IPGs, which includes PEBC exam study groups as well as a communication skills lab program. This organization is funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Workforce Development, among others.