Study Pharmacy in Canada

Study Pharmacy in Canada - Education Street

Study Pharmacy in Canada

Today pharmacists in Canada are garnering the utmost respect. They are being perceived as the management experts in the field of medication and healthcare. Their collaboration with the patients, their families and other healthcare providers ultimately benefits the well being 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, and less time spent dealing with prescription changes and collaborative medication management.

Pharmacy in Canada is evolving rapidly. Given the increasing numbers of medications, the aging population and the growing cost of pharmaceuticals, pharmacists are key to ensuring safe, cost-effective drug therapy for Canadians.

Study Pharmacy in Canada

Rules and Regulations

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.

Irrespective of the province or territory you wish to work in, you must meet requirements set by the individual provincial and territorial licensing bodies across Canada known as Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (PRAs).

While Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (PRAs) have many similar requirements across provinces, the rules and conditions that you have to meet varies by jurisdiction where you want to obtain licensure.

How to become a Licensed Pharmacist in Canada?

For International Students looking to Study Pharmacy in Canada 

Canadian university pharmacy programs are designed to ensure that graduates have all the necessary skills,

knowledge and abilities when they enter into pharmacy practice. In Canada, there are there are ten schools of pharmacy, all of which are accredited by the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP).

List of Universities in Canada - Education Street

Admission Procedure & Requirements as an International Student

1.      Register for English Proficiency Test, IELTS, TOEFL or PTE.

2.      Shortlist desired universities/colleges. Make sure to go through their website and curriculum so that your goals are aligned.

3.    Make sure to visit the admission requirements page of your desired universities’ undergraduate pharmacy course to undernstand any school specific admission prerequisites.

4.      Report your official test scores at your selected universities/colleges.

5.      Send your official transcripts to the desired universities.

6.      Prepare you Statement of Purpose (SOP), Letter of Recommendation or any other admission form that the university may need you

7.      Filling in the Online Application Form for the university. You should also update the required document online such as LORs or SOP. Also, send them separately via courier to the department or at the address mentioned in the university website.

8.      Once you have sent all the required documents, wait for the response from the university. Most of the universities do revert or send the Acceptance Letter or I-20 via mail or courier with 2-4 weeks after receiving the application.

9.      Apply for a Student Visa once you have received the Offer Letter from the institutions. For this you need to get in touch with the Embassy or Consulate near your region.

International Pharmacy Graduates (IPGs)

Enrolment in National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities NAPRA’s Pharmacists’ Gateway Canada is a mandatory first step towards licensure in Canada for international pharmacy graduates (IPGs) in all provinces except Québec. If you are graduated in pharmacy in a country other than Canada and U.S.A and would like to get a pharmacist license in Canada, then the first step is Assessment of the foreign pharmacist’s academic qualifications and knowledge by the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC).

Evaluation of documents: Pharmacy

Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) is the national certification body for the pharmacy profession in Canada. Evaluation of documents is the first step you start with to get certificate from PEBC which includes the evaluation of certain documents to make sure that you have a degree in pharmacy that is acceptable to the PEBC.
or July.

The following steps are common to both International Students looking to study pharmacy in Canada and IPGs:

1.  The PEBC evaluating exam: The PEBC examination consists of two tests on consecutive days, each with 150 multiple choice questions on pharmaceutical science and pharmacy practice. The pass mark is 60%. It can be taken in January

2.   The PEBC qualifying exam (part 1): The PEBC qualifying exam (part 1) consists of two MCQ papers with 150 questions on consecutive days on pharmacy practice and clinical topics. It is offered in May and November every year and must be taken in Canada.

3.  The PEBC qualifying exam (part 2): of the PEBC qualifying exam is an objective structured clinical examination. It examines the candidate’s knowledge of pharmacy practice, plus clinical and communication skills. There are 16 stations, each lasting seven minutes. Some stations require interaction with mock patients or healthcare professionals.

Once you pass 2 parts of qualifying exam, you get PEBC Certification. PEBC certification alone is not enough to practice pharmacy in Canada. That is only a part of licensing process. Next part is to get the license in the province you desire to work.

4.   English Language Proficiency Exam: Language proficiency is one of the requirements in licensing process here in Canada, but each province has their own options for type of English test you take and score you should get. For example, Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, accepts, TOEFL (IBT), TOEFL (CBT) with TSE, MELAB (Michigan English Language assessment battery, IELTS (International English Language Testing system) Academic module, Can Test (to be taken only in Canada).

5.      Studentship and Internship: You need to undertake (usually) a studentship and an internship in your chosen province. Most provinces require you to undertake a studentship, which is a taught course, often six months in duration, at the faculty of pharmacy for the province. An internship is compulsory for all provinces, and may vary in length between three and 12 months

6.     Jurisprudence Exam: As every province has its own regulating body, passing this exam is must to be registered as pharmacist in that province. This tests your knowledge of Canadian pharmacy law and ethics, which varies substantially between provinces. It is generally offered several times a year in most provinces.

For detailed information on the steps above, please visit

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The unique case of Quebec

Although foreign pharmacists wishing to practice in Quebec can complete the process in place in Canada, the Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec in 2011 set up a supplementary program intended for foreign pharmacists. The training, available in French only, has been revised to reflect replacing the Bachelor’s degree in pharmacy with an undergraduate doctorate in the province. Language proficiency in French is required.

Why Should You Consider Enrolling in a Bridging Program?

Bridging programs are extremely helpful to all IPGs new to Canada. These programs will aid in preparing for the Canadian certification exams and familiarize you with Canadian practice environment and a pharmacist’s role.

Benefits of Bridging Program

  • Increases the chances of success in licensing exams; regulated professions have reported significantly higher pass rates for those who complete a bridging program.
  • Increases IPGs’ awareness of the realities of the Canadian practice setting.       
  • Increases IPGs’ understanding of differences in professional roles, regulatory requirements and client service relationships.        
  • Increases professional and social interactions for IPGs and develops networks within the profession.

Several programs are available  :  

  • International Pharmacy Graduate (IPG) Program offered by the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario.
  • Canadian Pharmacy Practice Programme offered by the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • French Bridging Program-Université de Montréal in Montréal, Quebec, offers a 16-month (64 credits) specialized program for international pharmacy graduates (IPGs).

Also, Orientation to the Canadian Health Care System, Culture and Context is a course for international educated health professionals who are in the process of becoming licensed in Candad. It is offered two times per year. This course will provide learners with a deepened understanding of the Canadian health care system, what Canadian patients expect from their healthcare providers, and how to communicate with patients and caregivers.





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