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Practice Resources - August 10, 2022

Reminder: How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Canada

Currently in Canada, nine provinces regulate pharmacy technicians: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan. Steps are underway to implement a framework for pharmacy technicians in Quebec as well.

The requirements to become a regulated pharmacy technician can vary slightly from province to province and are set by the pharmacy regulatory authority (PRA) (usually the college of pharmacy/pharmacists) in each jurisdiction. Generally, candidates are required to complete an approved education program and a number of other requirements, such as a qualification exam, jurisprudence exam, practical training program and demonstration of language proficiency.

The National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) receives questions from time to time about the education program requirements to become a pharmacy technician and whether a bridging program is still available. NAPRA managed the National Pharmacy Technician Bridging Education Program from 2013-2019. This program was designed to enable individuals already working as pharmacy assistants in Canada to transition to become pharmacy technicians. The program was only meant to be available for a short time when the profession of pharmacy technician first became regulated, to accommodate the transition periods in each province. The program is no longer offered because the transition periods set by the PRAs are now over.

The current pathway to become a regulated pharmacy technician includes completing a pharmacy technician education program that is accredited by the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP). A complete list of accredited programs in Canada can be found here. Candidates must also complete all of the other requirements set by the PRA in their province.

More information on how to become a pharmacy technician can be found on the website of each of the PRAs.  A list of PRAs in Canada can be found here.