About pharmacy technicians
Pharmacy technicians are health care professionals who help pharmacists maintain inventories of medications and prescription records of pharmaceutical products; ensure that the information on prescriptions is accurate; enter client information in databases and prepare medications for clients; compound oral solutions, ointments and creams; bill third-party insurance; and may help with scheduling and flow.
Pharmacy technicians work at retail and hospital pharmacies, long-term care facilities and pharmaceutical manufacturers.
CIHI’s Health Workforce Database (HWDB) collects aggregate-level, standardized data on the regulatory environment, supply, and demographic and education characteristics of pharmacy technicians in Canada.
- Data on pharmacy technicians from 2012 to 2016 is available on request by completing this data inquiry form or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For more information on CIHI’s health workforce data, visit the HWDB metadata page.
Reports and analyses
- Canada’s Health Care Providers: Provincial Profiles, 2007 to 2016 — Data Tables (Dec 2017)
- Canada’s Health Care Providers: Provincial Profiles, 2013
- Canada’s Health Care Providers — 1997 to 2011: A Reference Guide
In Canada, pharmacy technicians are regulated in all provinces except Quebec. Currently, Newfoundland and Labrador allows unregistered pharmacy technicians to practise the profession; however, it is transitioning to a full regulatory environment.i
To practise as a pharmacy technician in Canada, the requirements to obtain a licence are similar across the country but can vary slightly from one jurisdiction to another.
- Hold a certificate in pharmacy from an accredited, recognized program, or a diploma in pharmacy
- Pass the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) Pharmacy Technician or Pharmacist Evaluating Exam
- Complete an internship/work placement in a community or hospital pharmacy for about 8 weeks
- Register with a provincial regulatory body as required
Scope of practice
The scope of practice for pharmacy technicians is articulated by the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA), which outlines the range of responsibilities that define the boundaries of professional practice. Individual provinces and territories have adopted or adapted this scope of practice.
Pharmacist technicians are expert professionals in the knowledge, skills and abilities related to the technical elements of prescription and patient information, and of product and drug distribution. Some of their main functions includeii
- Ensuring the safety and quality of prescription-product preparation and release
- Promoting health and wellness, disease prevention and chronic disease management
- Supporting the autonomy of patients
i. Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board. Registration as a Pharmacy Technician in Newfoundland and Labrador. Accessed May 19, 2016.
ii. National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities. Model Standards of Practice for Canadian Pharmacy Technicians. November 2011.