The profession of pharmacists is a regulated one in Canada. You are not allowed to call yourself a pharmacist or practice the profession if you are not licensed as a full member in one of the provincial/territorial bodies.
These bodies are represented by the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA).
There are many steps that you can take before immigrating to Canada to improve your chances of success to practice your profession in your future country.
- Contact the Canadian diplomatic mission closest to you to find out about the employment requirements for the profession of pharmacist in Canada.
- Contact the regulatory association mandated with regulating pharmacists in the province where you will settle in Canada and enquire about the specific procedure to follow and the potential costs and time required to obtain a pharmacist’s permit. As well, ask about the steps in the licensing process that you can take prior to immigrating and afterwards.
- You can apply to have your qualifications assessed before you arrive in Canada. Contact the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (Document Evaluation) for the assessment and to determine if you are eligible to take the PEBC Qualifying Examination. If you are immigrating to Quebec, contact the Ordre des pharmaciens du Quebec for this purpose.
- You will need to prove your English or French (depending on your destination province) language competency or be tested. Even if you’re a good speaker of English or French, it’s helpful to improve your language skills and enroll in language classes while you are in your home country and continue them after moving to Canada. You can assess your language skills by taking an online self-assessment test on the Canadian Language Benchmarks website.
- It is easier for you to gather and organize your official education, work and identity documents while still in your home country. Check with your provincial or territorial regulatory body to enquire about the documents you need to bring and about verifying the translation of these documents. You might need to use a professional translation service in Canada.
- Understand how the pharmacy is practiced in Canada and familiarize yourself with the laws and legislation that govern your profession in the province where you will settle.
- Know the name of your job in Canada.
- Enquire about the procedure to get a driver’s license in Canada and apply for it right after you land, as it would be very useful when you get a job or even to get a job.
- Another helpful thing you can do is to attend a Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP) seminar which organizes “pre-departure orientation” and a Know Before You Go webinar to know more about life in Canada.