The process for an international pharmacy graduate (IPG) to obtain a licence to practise in Canada involves several steps. This process can take several months and sometimes up to two years or more. A 2008 study by the Canadian Pharmacists Association estimated that the average length of time to licensure for IPGs is approximately 26 months.
The time required to complete the licensure process varies from one candidate to another and is influenced by many factors.
- Document evaluation process: Requesting documents from the university and licensing authority to be sent directly to the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) may take some time.
- Timing of the examinations: The PEBC examinations are offered twice a year. The pharmacy regulatory authorities also offer the jurisprudence examination at specific times throughout the year. It is important to be mindful of the application deadlines to avoid delays.
- Number of attempts for examinations: Candidates are permitted a limited number of attempts for the PEBC examinations. This can add a minimum of six months per attempt to the candidate’s process to licensure.
- Immigration process: It is required to be eligible to study in Canada when going through the bridging program, and to be eligible to work in Canada when going through the structured practical training. Obtaining the appropriate authorization from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada may take time and cause delays.
- Additional training: Candidates may choose to complete additional training and education to improve their knowledge and skills. Although additional training and education can be beneficial to their success, it may also cause delays. It is important to note that candidates will be required to complete additional training if they are applying for their fourth and final attempt for one of the PEBC examinations.
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 the candidates’ language-skills credentials are not up to date, they might need extra time for language testing.