Career Map: Pharmacist
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This document was updated in March 2012 in collaboration with the Government of Ontario. Some requirements may have changed by the time you apply. Please contact the Ontario College of Pharmacists before completing your application.
Copyright in this Career Map is held jointly by the Queen's Printer for Ontario and the Ontario College of Pharmacists, © 2012. This career map may be used or reproduced by any third party for non-commercial, not-for-profit purposes, provided that no fee, payment or royalty of any kind shall be charged by the third party for any further use or reproduction of the career map by any person. Any proposed commercial or for-profit use or reproduction of this career map requires a written license from the Queen's Printer for Ontario and the Ontario College of Pharmacists.
Practising in Ontario
To practise pharmacy in Ontario, and to call yourself a "pharmacist", you must have a Certificate of Registration as a Pharmacist with the Ontario College of Pharmacists (OCP). Pharmacists in Ontario work as part of a health care team. They are responsible for the:
- custody, compounding, dispensing and prescribing of drugs
- provision of health care aids and devices
- provision of information and education related to the use of the above
- promotion of health, prevention and treatment of disease, disorders and
dysfunctions through monitoring and management of medication therapy
Pharmacists must continually update their knowledge of pharmaceuticals and developments in pharmacy practice to provide the best care for their patients.
Labour Market Information
Most pharmacists practise in a community pharmacy or in a hospital. People with a degree in pharmacy may also work in pharmaceutical industry, education and administration without being registered as a pharmacist.
Future demand for pharmacists is unpredictable. Opportunities for jobs will depend on whether you are looking for work in the cities or in smaller towns. It may be easier to find a job outside of the large cities (e.g., Greater Toronto Area).
Internationally educated pharmacists who have met the language proficiency requirements and who have practised in a pharmacy environment that is similar to Canadian pharmacy practice have been able to meet all of the requirements to register as a pharmacist fairly quickly. Applicants who are not proficient in English or French when they arrive in Canada, or whose experience is significantly different from Canadian pharmacy practice generally take longer to become registered as a pharmacist. You will need to have enough money to pay for the registration-related costs and to support yourself (and your family) for this time period.
The OCP also registers pharmacy technicians. If you do not meet the requirements to register as a pharmacist or if your registration process to become a pharmacist will be longer than you expected, you may choose to try to register as a pharmacy technician. A separate career map for pharmacy technicians will be available soon.
For more information about working as a pharmacist in Canada, see the "Working in Canada Tool" on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.
For information on working conditions for pharmacists in Ontario, Use the "Find an Occupation" search function on the t Ontario Job Futures website. In Ontario, this information is also available to you through Employment Ontario centres. You can find a service in your area online.
Pharmacy – Registration Related Organizations
During your registration process, you will likely deal with or hear of a number of different organizations that are responsible for specific registration requirements in Ontario. This section describes the key functions of these organizations.
Ontario College of Pharmacists (OCP) – The OCP regulates pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, pharmacy students, interns and pharmacies in Ontario. Its core mandate is to protect the public.
Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) – The PEBC is the national certification body for the pharmacy profession in Canada. It assesses the qualifications of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians on behalf of most provincial pharmacy regulatory bodies. The PEBC administers the following steps of the registration process:
Document Evaluation – evaluates your educational and professional credentials
Pharmacist Evaluating Examination – evaluates your knowledge in all areas of current pharmaceutical education in Canada
Pharmacist Qualifying Examination – assesses your competence to practise pharmacy safely and effectively at entry to practice as a pharmacist
National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) – The NAPRA is a national organization that consists of the provincial pharmacy regulatory bodies in Canada. NAPRA developed the professional competencies at entry to practice for Canadian pharmacists, and was responsible for standardizing the English and French language proficiency requirements among the provinces.
International Pharmacy Graduate (IPG) Program – The IPG Program at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Pharmacy is the bridging program that is approved by the OCP Council. The program consists of two separate modules—Canadian Pharmacy Skills I and Canadian Pharmacy Skills II.
To practise pharmacy in Ontario and to call yourself a “pharmacist”, you must have a Certificate of Registration as a Pharmacist with the OCP.
You must meet the following requirements to register as a pharmacist in Ontario:
- Sufficient English or French proficiency (see Language Assessment section below)
- Demonstration of Good Character
- Authorization to work in Ontario
- Successful completion of the
- PEBC Document Evaluation
- PEBC Pharmacist Evaluating Examination
- International Pharmacy Graduate Program, unless you:
- Passed the PEBC Pharmacist Qualifying Examination on your first attempt, or
- Were a registered pharmacy student before December 3, 2011
- Minimum 12-week structured practical training studentship
- Minimum 12-week structured practical training internship
- PEBC Pharmacist Qualifying Examination
- OCP Jurisprudence Examination
- Personal professional liability insurance
Before You Come to Canada
To streamline your registration process, you may complete the following requirements before you come to Canada:
The Document Evaluation evaluates your educational and professional credentials. The Pharmacist Evaluating Examination – evaluates your knowledge in all areas of current pharmaceutical education in Canada.
If PEBC does not approve your credentials, you will not be allowed to write the Pharmacist Evaluating Examination or to register as a pharmacist in Ontario. You may be eligible to become registered as a pharmacy technician. To become a pharmacist, you Career Map for Internationally Educated The Pharmacy Profession In Ontario For Internationally Educated Pharmacists would have to complete a Canadian entry-to-practice pharmacy degree program. In Ontario, this program is offered at the University of Toronto’s Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy and at the University of Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy. Each year, the University of Toronto program reserves space for some non-Ontario applicants (including international students) who meet all of the published requirements and are comparable to the Ontario applicants.
You must show that you can understand, speak and write in either English or French with reasonable fluency. You can demonstrate your language proficiency by meeting the minimum scores on language tests accepted by the OCP. Since test scores are valid for only two years, you may wish to complete the English or French proficiency tests required by the College immediately before you come to Canada. The test scores must be sent directly by the testing agency to the OCP or confirmed by the OCP directly with the testing agency. Currently, the OCP will accept one of the following combinations of tests as proof of your language proficiency:
|1.||Test of English as a
|Internet-based test (iBT)||Speaking||27||2|
|2.||Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)||Computer-based test (CBT)||Writing||26||5|
|Test of Spoken English (TSE)||50||-|
|3.||Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)||Paper-based test (PBT)||Test of Written English (TWE)||5||0.3|
|Test of Spoken English (TSE)||50||-|
|Grammar, cloze, reading,
|6.||Canadian Test of
English for Scholars
|FRENCH TEST||DETAILS||MINIMUM SCORE||STANDARD ERROR OF MEASUREMENT (+/-)|
|Test du français pour étudiants et stagiaires au Canada (TESTCan)||Speaking||4.5||-|
* No minimum score set; all components are required. Please contact the testing agency for more information.
- The CBT-TOEFL is no longer available. OCP will continue to accept current, acceptable CBT-TOEFL scores.
- All components of the IELTS, MELAB and iBT-TOEFL fluency tests must be attempted at the same sitting for the results to meet OCP's language proficiency requirement.
- Scores must be valid for you to progress from being a student to an intern, and from intern to pharmacist. If test scores have expired during your registration process, you may request an extension by contacting Registration Program staff at the OCP.
When You Arrive in Ontario
If you have not already done so, you will need to complete the registration requirements in the previous section.
Step 1) Pre-registration
Before attempting the OCP Jurisprudence Examination or obtaining any level of registration with the OCP, you must pre-register. To pre-register with the OCP, you must submit the completed Pre-Registration Form and fee, and the following documents:
- Notarized copy or original of your
- Canadian passport, birth certificate or citizenship card; or
- Non-Canadian passport AND Permanent Resident Card, Record of Landing, valid work permit, or valid study permit
- Letter* from each previous licensing body verifying that you are/were licensed and have not committed any offences
* Certified English or French translation required if applicable
Step 2) Structured Practical Training Studentship
You may register as a student with the OCP if you have:
- Been accepted to the IPG Program, or
- Been granted permission to register by a panel of the Registration Committee
As a registered pharmacy student, you may only compound, dispense and sell drugs, and provide information on the use of drugs under the direct supervision of a pharmacist. To register as a pharmacy student, you must submit the completed Studentship Application form, and fee. As of January 1, 2012, you must also provide proof of sufficient personal professional liability insurance.
While you are registered as a registered pharmacy student, you must successfully complete a minimum 12-week, student-level Structured Practical Training (SPT) period. Your SPT Studentship must be supervised by a pharmacist preceptor who meets the SPT Preceptor Criteria, and who practises in a community or hospital pharmacy in Ontario that meets the SPT Practice Site Criteria.
It is your responsibility to find a pharmacist preceptor who is willing to teach and supervise you in the SPT program. Finding a preceptor may take some time because there are a limited number of preceptors available, particularly at certain times of the year and in certain areas. The pharmacy may or may not pay you for your work as a student. You can negotiate the matter of pay with your employer. Your application must be verified by the OCP before you begin your Studentship.
Step 3) Structured Practical Training Internship
You may register as an intern with the OCP if you have:
- Successfully completed the IPG Program, and
- Successfully completed your SPT Studentship; or
- Been granted permission to register by a panel of the Registration Committee
As an intern, you can do all the duties of a pharmacist, but your preceptor or another pharmacist must be available in person for advice and consultation at all times.
Applicants who were granted permission to register as an intern by a panel of the Registration Committee may be required to first pass the OCP Jurisprudence Examination. To register as an intern, you must submit the completed Internship Application form, and fee, and provide proof of sufficient personal professional liability insurance.
While you are registered as an intern, you must successfully complete a minimum 12- week, intern-level Structured Practical Training (SPT) period. Your SPT Internship must Career Map for Internationally Educated The Pharmacy Profession In Ontario For Internationally Educated Pharmacists be supervised by a pharmacist preceptor. Your application must be verified by the OCP before you begin your Internship.
The eligibility and availability of preceptors, and the issue of payment for Internship are the same as for Studentship.
Step 4) Certificate of Registration as a Pharmacist
You may register as a pharmacist with the OCP if you have:
- Successfully completed your SPT Internship
- Successfully completed the OCP Jurisprudence Examination
- Successfully completed the PEBC Qualifying Examination
To register as a pharmacist, you must submit the completed Pharmacist Application form and fees, and provide proof of sufficient personal professional liability insurance. Your application must be verified by the OCP before you may practise as a pharmacist.
2011 Registration-Related Costs*
|Language testing agencies||CanTEST/TESTCan @ $210.00 (Ottawa) & $240.00 (Toronto)||Various|
|IELTS @ $285.00 + HST|
|MELAB @ $ 170.00 (Toronto)|
|TOEFL @ $200.00 U.S. (Canada)|
|Evaluating Examination ($365 additional fee to write in London, UK)||$515.00|
|Qualifying Examination – Part I MCQ||$400.00|
|Qualifying Examination - Part II OSCE||$1,520.00|
|Canadian Pharmacy Skills I tuition||$6,500.00|
|Canadian Pharmacy Skills II tuition||$6,500.00|
|OCP||Toronto Jurisprudence Seminar (optional)||$101.70|
|Studentship Training (due with pharmacist application)||$463.30|
|Internship Training (due with pharmacist application)||$463.30|
|Pharmacist Annual Fee (pro-rated after September 1)||$678.00|
* Canadian dollars unless specified otherwise; HST included unless specified otherwise
For More Information
For more information on application, please contact:
Ontario College of Pharmacists
483 Huron Street
Toronto ON Canada M5R 2R4
Toll-free in Ontario: 1-800-220-1921
For information on where and how to get help with settlement in Ontario, visit www.settlement.org or contact:
For information about regulated non-health professions, trades and other occupations in Ontario, please contact:
Government of Ontario
Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration
Global Experience Ontario
Tel: 416-327-9694 or 1-866-670-4094
TTY: 416-327-9710 or 1-866-388-2262
For additional counselling and support to help find the most effective path to professional practice or alternative professional avenues in Ontario, please contact:
Access Centre for Internationally
163 Queen Street East, 2nd Floor
Toronto ON M5A 1S1
Tel. 416-862-2200 or 1-800-596-4046
In person contact:
If you have documents to submit or questions you would like to ask in person, an Ontario College of Pharmacists Client Services representative is available for consultation Monday to Friday, from 9am to 4:30pm at 483 Huron Street, Toronto.
Copyright in this Career Map is held jointly by the Queen’s Printer for Ontario and the Ontario College of Pharmacists , © 2012.