What you need to know banner

costs and time to licensure iconCOSTS AND TIME TO LICENSURE

International pharmacy graduates (IPGs) who want to work as a pharmacist in Canada should be aware of the various fees and costs for each stage of the licensure process. Fees are charged for such things as enrolment in the Gateway, Document Evaluation, examinations, registration for internships and other components.

If you need to take additional training and education to qualify for a Canadian licence, you will also need to plan and budget for those additional costs.

Costs of Licensure

International pharmacy graduates are often unaware of the costs associated with obtaining a licence to practise in Canada. IPGs will need to submit fees to separate organizations at different times throughout the process, such as when enrolling in the Gateway, registering to write exams and applying for their final licence.

Costs will differ for each province and territory. See Licensure Requirements to learn about fees for specific regions.

You should also think about the costs of living in Canada while you progress through the licensure process. See Coming to Canada for information about living costs.


Other Extra Costs

Pharmacy Bridging Program

English Bridging Programs vary from 16 to 24 weeks in length and cost between $11,100 and $13,500.

The French Bridging Program at the Université de Montréal runs for 16 months and costs between $7,500 and $8,000. This program is only available to international pharmacy graduates who have a decision on partial equivalency from l’Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec, and the number of students that can be accepted is limited.

Despite the seemingly high costs, these courses have been shown to greatly increase international pharmacy graduates’ success rates at the licensure exams. That, in turn, may help to reduce the total time and expense for IPGs, especially if it reduces the number of attempts required to pass exams.

Financing Resources

Some financing options may also be available for candidates wishing to take a Bridging Program, in the form of short-term loans from a Canadian banking institution such as Scotiabank or RBC.


The Windmill Microlending provides micro loans to immigrants to help them pay for the costs of obtaining the licensing or training they require to work in their field in Canada.


The Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society (PICS) in British Columbia offers a Foreign Credential Recognition (FCR) Loan Program, which is partially funded by the Government of Canada’s Foreign Credential Recognition Program. This program provides loans to evaluate credentials, Short-term training courses, examination fees or membership fees up to $15,000. The goal of this program is to help internationally trained professionals from the health, education and technology sectors to get back to their professional field or alternative career field in British Columbia.


The Atlantic Immigrant Career Loan Fund (AICLF) is a micro-loan fund for internationally trained immigrants in Atlantic Canada. Providing micro-loans to newcomers allows them to overcome financial barriers to upgrade their skills and obtain their license or certification so that they can:
• Practice their occupation, regulated or unregulated
• Find opportunities in field or a related field
• Change career to adjust to the labour market needs

To learn more, take our eligibility test, apply or discover successful applicant testimonials, visit www.aiclf.ca.

Time to Licensure

The process for an international pharmacy graduate to obtain a licence to practise in Canada involves several steps. These steps include: enrolment in the Pharmacists’ Gateway Canada, evaluation of your previous education and training, assessing language skills, qualifying for and writing examinations, and undergoing a period of work placement training in a pharmacy.

This process can take many months and sometimes up to two years or more. It will also depend on whether you pass exams on the first attempt or whether you need additional training.

You may need or choose to complete additional educational courses, such as a Bridging Program.

A 2008 study by the Canadian Pharmacists Association estimated that the average length of time to licensure for international pharmacy graduates is approximately 26 months.

It is important to be aware of time limits, schedules and deadlines for each of the steps. For example, many provinces and territories only accept language-proficiency test results that are no more than two years old. If your language-skills credentials are not up-to-date, you might need extra time for language testing.

A convenient time and cost calculator is available to help you estimate the cost and time to licensure. Please note that the calculator will not work for U.S. graduates.