Coming to Canada

Canadians consider pharmacists to be one of the most trusted professions in the country. Pharmacists’ patients and colleagues value their skill and knowledge, and rely on them for professional advice and medication expertise.

During their transition to living and working in Canada, international pharmacy graduates (IPGs) will need to be aware of how life may be different here than in their current location and how to prepare for those new realities. IPGs can learn more about Canada’s provinces and territories, including services to help them settle and resources for Francophone immigrants, by visiting the Government of Canada’s Get to know Canada web page.

IPGs may discover that the work environment in a typical Canadian pharmacy practice environment is very different than their previous experience. As well, they may need some time or guidance to adapt to Canadian society and culture.

Depending on where they decide to settle in Canada, IPGs may find that some living expenses—such as rental costs or home purchase prices, food and clothing, transportation—may be higher compared to where they have lived previously.

This section provides basic information to help IPGs understand some of the practical aspects of working and living in Canada. It also provides links to organizations that assist immigrants with the settlement process and provide programming and support for immigrants and their families.

IPGs who decide to move to Canada to work as pharmacists must also apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to be granted permission to enter and remain in the country. After they have spent some time in Canada, they may decide to apply for permanent residency and the Canadian citizenship after meeting the requirements. Various options for living in Canada (citizenship, permanent residency, or a work or study permit) may be reviewed on the Government of Canada’s Immigration and citizenship web page.

IPGs may also want to contact an organization that helps immigrants settle in Canada and learn about living costs in Canada.

Settlement Service Providers

Settlement service providers are located across Canada’s provinces and territories and each one offers a unique set of services to help new immigrants adapt and adjust to life in Canada.

Settlement services include:

  1. Interpretation and translation of documents, or help arranging these services
  2. Help filling out forms and applications
  3. English as a second language (ESL) classes for IPGs and their families
  4. Help finding a job or training
  5. House or apartment hunting
  6. Information about other community services, schools for their children and health care for IPGs and their families
  7. Social skills development

IPGs are advised to contact their local Settlement Service Provider to learn about specific services in their area.

Because settlement service providers are funded by the government, these services are usually free of charge and are always confidential.  Many settlement service providers have staff who can speak languages other than English and French. If a settlement service provider does not have the service or language requested, they will help IPGs find another provider that does. A list of settlement service providers can be found on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s website.

Settlement service providers may also be called immigrant services, settlement agencies, refugee-serving agencies, or newcomer services. Some schools and libraries also have settlement services.

Many agencies have eligibility requirements that immigrants must meet to use their services. For example, they might require that those seeking service live in a particular area or have a specific immigration status.

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