Canada’s healthcare sector continues to grapple with serious and longstanding labour shortages, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To address the crisis, the federal and provincial governments are multiplying efforts to attract internationally educated health professionals to pursue opportunities in Canada and to more effectively utilize the skills of existing newcomers trained abroad in the areas where they are most needed. These include facilitating permanent residency through the Express Entry system, streamlining of foreign credential recognition, and easing labour mobility between jurisdictions in Canada for healthcare professionals.
Like other health professions, pharmacy struggles with a workforce shortfall across the country, with smaller communities most acutely affected. The shortage of family doctors, an aging population, and the expanding scope of practice of pharmacists all contribute to demand for pharmacy services outstripping supply. An estimated third of pharmacists working in Canada are internationally educated, highlighting the key role that international pharmacy graduates (IPGs) play in supporting patient care and the need for an efficient licensing process, as well as tools and resources for international pharmacists seeking to join the Canadian workforce.
Pharmacists’ Gateway Canada for International Pharmacists
Recognizing the importance of streamlining the licensure process for IPGs who wish to practise pharmacy in Canada, the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA), in collaboration with provincial/territorial pharmacy regulatory authorities and the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada, developed Pharmacists’ Gateway Canada for International Pharmacists (Gateway). Administered by NAPRA, this website offers the most current and accurate information about licensure in Canada and guides IPGs through every step in the licensure process for each province and territory, starting with helping them identify what requirements can be completed before they even arrive in Canada. In addition, Gateway establishes a central and confidential national document repository for IPGs, thus eliminating the need for IPGs to submit the same documents (copies of pharmacy degrees, university transcripts, language proficiency test results, etc.) to the various organizations involved in the licensure process.
NAPRA Diagnostic Tool and Learning Modules
The NAPRA Diagnostic Tool and Learning Modules (DTLM) help IPGs assess and further develop their knowledge and skills relevant to Canadian pharmacy practice in three areas of knowledge, namely: Knowledge of the Canadian healthcare system, Cultural diversity and awareness, and Professional communication. This learning program increases understanding of pharmacy practice in a Canadian setting and prepares IPGs to meet the requirements of the pharmacy regulatory authorities for licensure in their respective jurisdiction.
IPGs may enroll in the DTLM by visiting the NAPRA DTLM registration page.
Information regarding the role of a pharmacist, Canada’s healthcare system and what working as a pharmacist in Canada may be like as well as additional resources to improve practical skills are also available on the Gateway website.
For further information and support, contact the Gateway team by email at [email protected] or by phone at + 1 613 569 9800 (Monday-Friday, 08:30-16:30 EST).
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