As of January 1, 2021, there were 45,637 licensed pharmacists in Canada.
Detailed information on the number of licensed pharmacists in each province or territory is available on the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities’ (NAPRA) website.
The links below provide information that may help to gain a better understanding of the opportunities and limitations regarding the job market for pharmacists in Canada.
- Trend Analysis – Pharmacist in Canada
- 2013/14 Student Guide – Supplement from Pharmacy Practice
- Postgraduation employment experiences of new pharmacists in Ontario in 2012-2013 (Paul Gregory, MLS; Zubin Austin, BScPhm, MBA, MISc, PhD). This article was made available with written permission from the Canadian Pharmacists Journal.
Types of Practice Environments
There are two types of practice environments: patient environments and non-patient environments. Below is a list of career options with different work environments.
1. Patient Environments:
Pharmacists interact with members of the public in organizations such as:
Some pharmacists work in hospitals, serving either patients who are admitted to the hospital (“in-patients”) or patients accessing the hospital for less than a day (“out-patients”).
Most pharmacists find employment in community pharmacies. These are independent organizations that serve the public directly. Canadians often refer to these businesses as “pharmacies” or “drug stores.”
Pharmacists may work as a salaried full-time or part-time employee of a drugstore chain or independent pharmacy.
They may also be employed as managers, taking on duties such as business administration, budgeting, hiring staff and handling customer complaints.
Some pharmacists own their pharmacies. In addition to their roles as pharmacists, owners also undertake management duties and business operations such as building rental and maintenance, utilities and bill payments, bookkeeping and payroll, business registration and licensing, and government and regulatory reporting.
Long-Term Care and Assisted-Living Facilities
Pharmacists at these facilities work alongside doctors, nurses and other health practitioners serving residents who require long-term care for conditions related to ageing or disabilities.
Family Medicine Clinics
Family medicine clinics serve people of all ages. These organizations focus on disease prevention and treatment, as well as health promotion. Pharmacists work alongside doctors, nurses and other health practitioners as members of a team. Pharmacists oversee dispensing, drug inventories and packaging. They also educate team members about new drugs and new drug-research findings.
Canadian Armed Forces
Pharmacists who are Canadian citizens may find work with the Canadian Armed Forces — the military department of the federal government. Pharmacists in this environment provide injury treatment, emergency medicine and intensive-care therapy. They may work at a military base, a medical depot or a field medical unit. In addition to meeting the education and skill levels required of Canadian pharmacists, pharmacists with the Canadian Armed Forces must meet a high physical and mental fitness standard.
2. Non-Patient Environments:
Pharmacists in these work settings would rarely interact with the public. These environments include:
- Government departments
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Quality assurance
- Insurance companies
- Regulatory affairs
Only a small number of pharmacists work in non-patient environments, where they participate in research and education efforts.
Pharmacists’ salaries in Canada are dependent on many factors, such as the province or territory in which the pharmacists work, their experience level and whether they are self-employed or work for a company.
According to Labour Market Information, the average 2010 wages for Canadian pharmacists range between $30 and $60 per hour. Often, location will influence salary levels.
Hours of Work
Pharmacists’ hours of work will depend on their workplace. While many community pharmacies serve the public during regular business hours and slightly later (9 a.m. to 8 p.m. or 9 p.m.), some are open even later, and a few are open 24 hours a day. Commonly, community pharmacies are open seven days per week. Pharmacists at hospitals and long-term care facilities may have to work during evenings and overnight. An average work shift for a pharmacist is 8 hours.
Where to Find Pharmacy Jobs
Here are some websites offering work opportunities for pharmacists across Canada.
Alberta Pharmacists’ Association
Association des pharmaciens des établissements de santé du Québec
Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada
New Brunswick Pharmacists’ Association
Ontario Pharmacists Association
Pharmacists’ Association of Newfoundland and Labrador
Pharmacy Association of Saskatchewan
Public Job Search Sites: