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About pharmacists

Pharmacists are regarded as the medication management experts of the health care team and collaborate with patients, their families and other health care providers to benefit the health of Canadians. They are health care professionals who work in a variety of different settings, such as hospitals, community pharmacies, family health teams, the pharmaceutical industry, governments, associations, colleges and universities.

Data availability

CIHI's Health Workforce Database (HWDB) collects standardized, comparative data on the supply, demographics, geographic and distribution characteristics, and education and employment details of pharmacists in Canada.

Reports and analyses

Regulatory environment

In Canada, pharmacists are regulated in all 13 provinces and territories.

Practice criteria

To practise as a pharmacist in Canada, an individual must obtain a licence from one of the pharmacy regulatory authorities in Canada. The requirements to obtain a licence are similar across the country but can vary slightly from one jurisdiction to another.

Common requirements

  • Hold a bachelor's or doctorate of pharmacy degree
  • Pass the jurisdiction's jurisprudence examination
  • Successfully complete the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada's Qualifying Examination — Part I and Part II
  • Demonstrate language proficiency
  • Successfully complete practical training requirements

Scope of practice

Pharmacists are taking on expanded roles and are increasingly being recognized as the medication management experts of the health care teami. As drug therapy experts, Canadian pharmacists use their knowledge and skills when providing patient care. They may make recommendations or adapt prescriptions to manage drug interactions or side effects and to ensure the best drug, dose, regimen and formulation for a particular patient. They may also renew prescriptions, prescribe new medications or administer medications in certain situations. The exact scope of practice may differ by province or territory.

The pharmacist's traditional role is expanding, and pharmacists across Canada now deliver a range of innovative services, including

  • Medication reviews
  • Chronic disease management
  • Immunization
  • Travel medicine
  • Wellness programs

i. Canadian Pharmacists Association. Pharmacists’ expanded scope of practice. Accessed August 28, 2018.