L’Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec (OPQ)

Training and Education Equivalency

In Quebec, the Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec (OPQ) will evaluate the candidate’s educational transcripts, including the course descriptions and professional certifications. The OPQ will determine whether the candidate’s education and training meet the Quebec requirements. They may decide that the candidate needs additional training to qualify for a licence. The process is different for candidates from France.

Candidates who wish to practise pharmacy in Quebec must register to become a member of the OPQ. They will have to demonstrate specific skills and knowledge, including French language fluency.

It is important to note that the OPQ has a different licensure process than the other Canadian provinces. OPQ does not require enrolment in Pharmacists’ Gateway Canada (Gateway) as they conduct their own evaluation for education and training equivalency. Enrolment in the Gateway is only required if the candidate chooses to obtain the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) Certificate of Qualification and include it as part of the evaluation for education and training equivalency. The PEBC Certificate of Qualification can be submitted to OPQ as part of the training and education equivalency application; however, it is not a requirement. Candidates are advised to note that the process by OPQ is independent of, and prevails over, the PEBC certification process.

OPQ’s education evaluation processes will differ depending on whether the candidate is a graduate from France or a graduate from another country.

Pharmacy Graduates from France

The province of Quebec has signed an agreement with France for the mutual recognition of professional qualifications between the two jurisdictions.

Graduates from France will not register with the Gateway at this time, but should contact OPQ directly:

Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec
Direction de l’admission et du perfectionnement
301-266 Notre-Dame Ouest
Montréal (Quebec)  H2Y 1T6

Pharmacy Graduates from Countries Other than France

International pharmacy graduates (IPGs) who want to practise in the province of Quebec are invited to enrol in Pharmacists’ Gateway Canada. 

After enrolling, they will need to submit the required information for an assessment of their education and training.

Candidates must send their application form (form A available on OPQ’s website) and all documents related to their education and practice experience to the Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec. Their documentation should include the following:

  1. Recent, passport-sized photo with a signature on the back
  2. Identification (birth certificate or proof of citizenship)
  3. University transcript including course descriptions and number of credits
  4. Certified copy of pharmacy diploma
  5. Proof of successful completion of practical training
  6. Proof of relevant continuing education activities
  7. Description and proof of any previous work experience
  8. Proof of eligibility to be a pharmacist in another jurisdiction
  9. Letter of recommendation from one’s pharmacy regulatory authority
  10. List of pertinent publications
  11. Application fee
  12. OPQ may also accept proof of successful completion of the PEBC Evaluating Examination and Qualifying Examination to demonstrate partial educational equivalency.

All documents in languages other than French or English must be translated into French.

When OPQ processes the candidate’s documents, the Comité de l’admission à la pratique (CAP) will evaluate them and inform the candidate of its decision in writing. CAP evaluates applications three times a year: in January, May and November.

What if the Candidate’s Qualifications are not Equivalent?

The committee may decide that the candidate’s qualifications are not equivalent to those required to practise in Quebec. If so, the candidate will need to complete a full pharmacy program at one of the universities in Quebec.

However, the committee may decide that some of the candidate’s training is equivalent. If that happens, the committee will tell the candidate about the courses, curriculum or examinations that need to be taken to be awarded full equivalence. CAP will also advise the candidate on practical experience that may be required. A bridging program may be candidates’ best choice to help them meet the standards required for licensure.

For more information, candidates are invited to contact OPQ’s Direction de l’admission et du perfectionnement.

Language Requirements

In addition to meeting the OPQ’s educational requirements, candidates will be expected to meet Quebec’s French language qualifications.

Licensure Requirements

It is important to note that the Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec (OPQ) has a different licensure process than the other Canadian provinces. OPQ does not require enrolment in Pharmacists’ Gateway Canada (Gateway) as they conduct their own evaluation for education and training equivalency. Enrolment in the Gateway is only required if the candidate chooses to obtain the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) Certificate of Qualification and include it as part of the evaluation for education and training equivalency. The PEBC Certificate of Qualification can be submitted to OPQ as part of the training and education equivalency application; however, it is not a requirement. Candidates are advised to note that the process by OPQ is independent of, and prevails over, the PEBC certification process.

Requirement

Time (Months)

Cost

Enrolment in Pharmacists’ Gateway Canada

$340

PEBC Document Evaluation (Only mandatory if pursuing the PEBC Certificate of Qualification)

2

$675

PEBC Evaluating Examination (Only mandatory if pursuing the PEBC Certificate of Qualification)

4

$870*

PEBC Qualifying Examination (Only mandatory if pursuing the PEBC Certificate of Qualification)

4.5

MCQ = $815*

OSCE = $1,835*

Application to OPQ

$672.54

Bridging Program

Jurisprudence Course

$340

Structured Practical Training

4

French Language Proficiency Requirement

Licensure / Registration

$1,410.68

* Fee is per attempt. Up to four attempts are permitted.
** Total may differ, depending on the number of attempts made to pass the PEBC Evaluation Examination and/or the PEBC Qualifying Examinations.

Financial Information

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

Costs of Licensure

IPGs often underestimate the costs associated with obtaining a licence to practise in Canada. They 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. The specific fees charged in each Canadian province or  territory are presented on their respective pages under the menu item “How to Apply”.

Candidates should also think about the costs of living in Canada while they progress through the licensure process.

Other Extra Costs

The process to licensure can incur additional unexpected costs that are important to keep in mind.

  • Additional education: Candidates may choose to complete additional training to improve their knowledge and skills in pharmacy and language. This can be in the form of registering for a course, hiring a tutor, or purchasing online tools or books.
  • Travel costs to examination centres: Candidates living outside of major Canadian cities must account for travel costs when scheduling an examination. This may include accommodations (i.e., hotel).
  • Immigration: Immigration is an expensive process. Further details are available on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website.
  • Living costs: The cost of living will vary across Canada.

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 Royal Bank.

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

Microcredit for Internationally Trained Professionals
The Microcrédit Montréal loan program offers financial support for internationally trained professionals who must update their skills or apply for training equivalency as part of an admission process with a professional order.

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