Canada Immigration for Pharmacy Skilled Workers

Canada has hundreds of job opportunities for pharmacy assistants, but there is a shortage of qualified workers. Pharmacy assistants can apply for quick and easy permanent residency under priority occupation lists, including express entry priority Healthcare category, BC PNP priority healthcare stream, and other provincial nominee in-demand streams like Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Canada PR for Pharmacy Skilled Workers and Assistants

In Canada, the healthcare system depends greatly on skilled workers such as pharmacists to ensure the health and wellness of the population. Over the past few years, there has been a significant increase in the need for pharmacists due to a variety of factors, resulting in a rewarding and potentially lucrative career path for those interested in this profession.

Pharmacy Assistant PR

Job Prospects of Pharmacists in Canada

There are ample opportunities for pharmacy-skilled workers in Canada, with employment available in community pharmacies, long-term healthcare facilities, hospitals, clinics and others.

Furthermore, pharmacists who want to specialize and advance their careers in this field find opportunities in oncology, geriatrics, pediatrics, management and other specialized fields.

  • The demand for specialized healthcare professionals like pharmacists is rapidly growing because of Canada’s ageing population.
  • The increasing focus on preventive healthcare highlights the importance of pharmacists who can provide essential advice on adhering to medications, managing chronic diseases, and promoting healthy lifestyle habits.
  • In Canada, pharmacists are now taking on expanded responsibilities within the healthcare system, such as conducting medication evaluations, providing immunizations, and working closely with other healthcare providers to enhance patient care.

List of Pharmacy Skilled Workers Eligible for Express Entry

After recent Express Entry changes, the following list of pharmacy skilled workers are now eligible for Express Entry to Canada:

OccupationNOC CodeJob Titles
Pharmacists31120Pharmacist Type
Clinical pharmacist
Community pharmacist
Drug information pharmacist
Health care institution pharmacist
Hospital pharmacist
Industrial pharmacist
Intern pharmacist
Pharmacist consultant
Pharmacy officer - Canadian armed forces
Registered pharmacist
Retail pharmacist
Pharmacy Technicians32124Certified pharmacy technician
Licensed pharmacy technician
Pharmaceutical technician
Pharmacy technician
Pharmacy technician supervisor
Registered pharmacy technician
Regulated pharmacy technician
Pharmacy Technical Assistants and Pharmacy Assistants33103Pharmacy aide
Pharmacy assistant
Pharmacy helper
Pharmacy side room attendant
Pharmacy supply assistant
Pharmacy technical assistant
Senior pharmacy technician

Canada PR Pathways for Pharmacy Skilled Workers

1. Express Entry FSW Program

Under the Express Entry system, the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) allows qualified pharmacists to apply for permanent residency based on their skills, experiences, language proficiency and other criteria. The candidate must score 67 out of 100 points based on the selection requirements (education, experience, language proficiency, planned work, etc.).

  • Skilled Work Experience: Have at least one year of continuous full-time or equivalent part-time skilled work experience as a pharmacist in Canada or abroad within the last 10 years.
  • Language Ability: Demonstrate proficiency in English or French through approved language tests (writing, reading, listening, speaking).
  • Education: Obtain an educational credential assessment (ECA) to prove the equivalence of your foreign education to Canadian standards.
  • Selection Factors: Score points based on age, education, work experience, adaptability, and arranged employment.
  • Proof of Funds: Show that you have sufficient funds to support yourself and your family during your initial stay in Canada.

Specific Categories

  1. Pharmacy Technicians (NOC 32124): Pharmacy technicians are also eligible. They must have at least two years of full-time work experience in their skilled trade within the last 5 years.
  2. Pharmacy Technical Assistants and Pharmacy Assistants (NOC 33103): These roles involve technical tasks for preparing medications under a pharmacist’s supervision.

Healthcare Occupations Category for Pharmacy Assistants

You may be eligible under this category if you’re a pharmacy assistant. You need at least six months of continuous work experience in Canada or abroad within the past three years in one of the eligible occupations, which can include pharmacy assistants.


  • Pharmacy technicians fall under NOC 32124, primarily concerned with professional health services such as pharmacy and nutrition.
  • Pharmacy technical assistants and pharmacy assistants are categorized under NOC 33103, performing technical tasks related to preparing medications under a pharmacist’s supervision.

Important Note for Pharmacists in Canada

  • If your primary occupation is a pharmacist (NOC code 31120), the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) must conduct an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) for you.
  • The ECA evaluates your pharmacy degree to ensure it meets the essential education requirement for practicing as a pharmacist in Canada. The minimum requirement is a four-year undergraduate degree in pharmacy.
  • Once your documents are favourably evaluated, you must take the Pharmacist Evaluating Examination.

2. BC PNP Skills Immigration (Health Authority)

BC PNP Health Authority stream is under the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) for healthcare professionals and provides a pathway to permanent residence for healthcare professionals working in a health authority in British Columbia.

The BCPNP program allows a faster application process than the traditional visa process. Furthermore, the candidates receive 600 points (out of a maximum of 1200) in their Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score by being nominated by the province of British Columbia. An eligible candidate first submits an online form via BC PNP Online under the Health Authority stream.

Eligibility Criteria

You must have one of the following:

  • An indeterminate (no defined end date) full-time job offer from a B.C. public health authority.
  • A letter from a health authority or midwife practice group confirming that you are a physician, nurse practitioner, or midwife in British Columbia.

Application Process

You do not need to register for this stream. You can apply directly to the BC PNP if you meet the eligibility requirements.


  • At least two years of relevant work experience in the healthcare industry.
  • Meeting other program-specific requirements.

3. Manitoba Provincial Nomination Program (MPNP) for In-Demand Occupations

The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) lists pharmacists among its in-demand occupations. Eligible candidates must register under the Express Entry system, which gives them a better chance of being nominated through Express Entry draws.

The program emphasizes language proficiency, especially French, as the authorized French result is given more weight than certified English test results. The minimum CLB 7 score is required to receive a nomination for this program.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Work Experience: You must have relevant work experience as a pharmacist. The MPNP typically requires at least one year of experience, but specific requirements may vary.
  • Language Proficiency: Demonstrate proficiency in English or French by providing valid language test results (e.g., IELTS, CELPIP, or TEF).
  • Education: You should have completed a pharmacy degree from a recognized institution.
  • Adaptability: Factors such as connections to Manitoba (family, friends, previous education, work experience) contribute to your adaptability score.

Other PNP Programs

Each province and territory in Canada has its own PNP streams with unique requirements. Some may have specific streams for healthcare professionals, including pharmacists.

Requirements for Foreign Pharmacists in Canada

1. Educational Credential Evaluation

  • Candidates must evaluate their educational credentials through the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC).
  • The evaluation process involves submitting educational certificates, academic transcripts, and other relevant documents.

2. Language Proficiency

  • Candidates need to demonstrate proficiency in English or French, the two official languages of Canada.
  • They must appear for language proficiency tests such as IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or CELPIP (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program) and achieve appropriate scores.

3. PEBC Examinations

  • International candidates must pass the following PEBC examinations:
  • Evaluating Exam (EE): This assesses knowledge of pharmacy practice in Canada.
  • Qualifying Exam (MCQ and OSCE): The MCQ (Multiple-Choice Question) component evaluates theoretical knowledge, while the OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) assesses practical skills and competencies.

4. Structured Practical Training (SPT)

  • Some Canadian provinces may require international pharmacists to complete a period of practice experience or internship.
  • This experience is known as the Structured Practical Training (SPT) program.
  • Candidates should refer to individual provincial guidelines to understand the specific requirements for participating in the SPT program.

5. Licensure

  • Once candidates have fulfilled the above criteria, they become eligible for licensure.
  • Licensure is granted by the provincial regulatory body in the province where the candidate intends to practice.

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FAQs: Pharmacy Skilled Workers in Canada

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Canadian immigration for Pharmacy Skilled Workers.

How I can successfully immigrate to Canada as a pharmacist?

There is no short-cut or straight answer to this question. The process is complex and you need to under eligibility criteria and other requirements. You can, in general, follow these tips:

  • Start planning early
  • Seek professional guidance
  • Stay updated
  • Connect with other pharmacists and healthcare professionals in Canada
  • Prepare well for PEBC exams
  • Prepare well for language proficiency tests

Can I specialize in a specific area of pharmacy practice in Canada?

Yes, after receiving your licensure, you can pursue a specialisation in different domains such as hospital pharmacy, clinical pharmacy, management, pharmacy research etc.

What continuing education requirement for foreign pharmacists in Canada?

It is a fundamental requirement for foreign pharmacists to participate in continuing education programs to maintain their licensure. These education programs include the development of pharmacy practice, medications, patient care and so on.

How long does it take to receive a pharmacy license in Canada for foreign pharmacists?

There is no fixed timing, and it depends on the processing time for the immigration application and work permit, completion of the PEBC exams, and timeframe for provincial internship requirements (if applicable). Generally, it takes anything between 12 months and 24 months.

Do I need Canadian work experience to immigrate?

No, Canadian work experience is not mandatory for immigration programs for foreign pharmacists.

If you’re seeking guidance on Canada Express Entry, connect with our team of experts for their professional advice.

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