To work as a pharmacist in Canada you need to apply for licensure. The provincial regulations and requirements for getting a license may differ, so you need to check for the procedure of obtaining the license in the province where you intend to apply. International Pharmacy Graduates (IPGs) may need extra training to be qualified for working in a Canadian pharmacy. The University of British Columbia offers Canadian Pharmacy Practice Program (CP3) that includes 500 hours of structured practical training (SPT). The program is intended both for foreign graduates and Canadian-trained pharmacists who want to re-enter practice in British Columbia. The SPT is mandatory to meet requirements the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia for getting the license.

pharmacist in Canada

What CP3 includes

3 months lecture course is held in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Building of the University of British Columbia.

Lectures include the following modules:

  • Therapeutics

The therapeutic module includes basic knowledge of common health conditions as hypertension, diabetes, pediatric issues, gastrointestinal disorders, geriatric health, men’s health, women’s health, and others.

The module also covers such topics as drug therapy problems (DTPs), drug safety and drug interactions.

  • Health Care System Overview

In this module, students are provided with information on the legislation, ethics, the Canadian system of PharmaCare, pharmacy administration, and drug abuse. You also get instructions on how to write SOAP notes and care plans and will be explained how the things are done in British Columbia.

  • Communication class

This class prepares you for the work field, teaches Canadian Workspace Culture, explains about communication styles, asking questions, diversity of customers and understanding, and gives recommendations on how to make notes, write reports, work with documents, etc.

It also includes a section on how to apply for a job, write a CV and present yourself when you have an interview.

  • Practice Skill Lab

This part of classes follows the communication class and includes patient dialogue skills and practice skills required to manage prescriptions properly.

The dialogue part gives practical recommendations on how to enter Canadian community pharmacy practice, how to engage in dialogue, ask the right questions on prescriptions and patient’s condition, and manage time frames. A theoretical part is followed by a role-playing section that helps to practice the skills.

The Practical Skills Lab includes filling and reading prescriptions, choosing the correct product, managing the dosage, pricing, calculations, checking and verifying prescriptions, and working with prescriptions on the phone.

Lecture course is followed by 3-month Structured Practical Training (SPT) placement. Only those who achieved at least 60% score in the classroom portion are allowed to continue to the SPT part.

During the SPT, you work in a community pharmacy as a trainee under the supervision of an experienced pharmacist. This period allows applying the knowledge and skills obtained during the classroom hours and be prepared better for pharmacy practice. The course is finished with one-day “getting ready” session which gives strategies and resources that can be helpful to pass national exams of the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC). The completion of the course doesn’t guarantee to pass the exams but helps to get ready for it.

Canadian Pharmacy Practice Program Schedule

The courses start 3 times a year: in January, April and September (browse the official website of CP3 for the exact dates). The application may be submitted at least one month before for Canadian citizens and permanent residents and at least 4 months before for those who need a study permit.

Practice Program Cost

The program fee includes:

  • The entire cost of the course in the amount of $11,500, including classroom instructions, SPT and “Getting Ready” session
  • A $1,000 practice fee
  • A $250 non-refundable application fee

The program fee is paid in two steps:

  1. A $2,000 program non-refundable deposit and the $250 application fee are due at the time of an application.
  2. The rest of $10,500 is due one week before the program starts.

The similar bridging program for International Pharmacy Graduate is also available in Ontario at the University of Toronto.