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Pharmacy Technician Requirements For Ontario,Canada

Updated on March 23, 2017

Ontario is Canada's most popular province for immigrants, and rightfully so--It has Toronto, a hustling, bustling metro that is teeming with life, a vibrant city that has a wide variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds, and job opportunities for almost all industries. However,with overpopulation, the job market has decreased, and competition even for the most entry level job is fierce, Nonetheless, people still choose to live and make Ontario--specifically Toronto--their home.

To be able to work as a Pharmacy Assistant in Ontario, you will need to have at the least one of the following credentials:

  • Completion and passing of the PEBC Qualifying Exam and registration with the Ontario College of Pharmacy (for Registered Pharmacy Technicians only)
  • A Pharmacy Technician/Assistant Diploma/Certificate from a post-secondary institution (If you want to be a Certified Pharmacy Assistant or Regulated Pharmacy Technician) post-secondary education will most likely guarantee higher wages to start (Shopper's Drug Mart, for example) and in the long run (Safeway Pharmacy, which uses hours of experience and post-secondary education to scale and decide what to offer a starting Pharmacy Technician.)
  • Many pharmacies also like to employ internationally trained pharmacists as technicians, with proof of international credentials (transcript or actual diploma.)
  • Proof that you are either an international pharmacy student/or a local pharmacy student currently studying at the University of Toronto or University of Waterloo. Most pharmacy owners tend to hire Pharmacy students in their 3rd or 4th year of studies, as they tend to be more well-versed in their knowledge of medications and drug interactions.
  • Many pharmacy owners, depending on where you are in Ontario, often accept University and College students who are taking medicine-related programs, i.e., Nursing, Physiology, Pharmacology, Life Sciences.

* Note that depending on the pharmacy hiring manager/pharmacy owner, these requirements may be overlooked based on how well perceived you are as an applicant. For instance, we personally know an internationally trained physician working part-time as a pharmacy technician. While the physician’s educational background does not immediately fit in the same mold as a pharmacist, the individual’s ethnic and religious ties to a former employer helped get the individual hired, as well as his friendly demeanor and the fact that his knowledge about diseases was seen as an excellent asset by the pharmacy owner.

Pharmacy owners also look at these Work-Related Experience as definite assets; some, depending on the scope of work they specialize in, and the volume of prescriptions they do, make hiring decisions solely on these:

  • Customer Service Experience: Customers are the life of any business; and the same goes for pharmacies. Good customer service guarantees return clients; as such, pharmacy owners often want techs and assistants who can deliver a great customer service experience.
  • Pharmacy Work Experience: Having to train a new employee in a busy pharmacy tends to put a lot of stress on the existing pharmacy staff, and costs labor money and time. Majority of pharmacy owners we have worked for would not even hire someone, regardless of their paper credentials, if they do not have any practical pharmacy work experience.
  • Strict Attention To Detail: Although this is a given in the industry, this mostly applies to long-term care pharmacies that incorporate expensive machinery such as PacMed machines or specialty/hospital inpatient pharmacies which often deal with sensitive medications like blood products and compounded injectables.

Finally, some–but not all–pharmacy owners also take these External Factors into consideration when hiring:

  • Ethnic/Religious Background: This can both be seen as a positive or negative, depending on the scope of the issue. For instance, an East Indian pharmacy owner may only want to hire East Indian technicians or assistants, because it makes communication in the pharmacy flow smoother and also because they wish to help their fellowmen pursue pharmacy careers. Likewise, a Caucasian pharmacy owner may want to hire a Mandarin or Cantonese-speaking employee if his pharmacy serves a Chinese-Canadian community. There are laws that prohibit and penalize against discrimination, but going through the motions may prove a moot point for the practical job seeker. And besides, there are no laws saying that an employer “must” hire certain individuals. Proceed with caution–if only to guard against rejection–when applying in a pharmacy situated in a predominantly ethnocentric community.
  • Sex: Majority of pharmacy technicians and pharmacy assistants are female; sometimes, a male may find it easier to find a job simply because he can’t get pregnant. There has been some instances where the humorously called “pregnancy bug” bites, where female pharmacy techs and assistants often (not intentionally) get pregnant one right after the other; as such, hiring a male backup may prove helpful. At the same time, males may often find it harder to obtain jobs because the majority of pharmacy techs and assistants are female, as such, many pharmacy owners–both male and female–may just be accustomed to having female workers rather than male workers, not because of discrimination but sometimes simply because of habit.
  • Personality: If you’ve ever spent a day in a pharmacy, you’d realize that the variety of people that come through the pharmacy counter varies–you can have days when everyone is nice and friendly, and you can have days when patients are screaming and swearing at you. Depending on where the pharmacy is located, the type of clientele that come to that pharmacy often dictate what kind of personality type would fit well in that pharmacy. For example, pharmacies in some inner city problem areas that serve methadone or daily dispense narcotic/controlled substances may need techs and assistants with a more tougher, stronger personality to keep rowdy patients in check; likewise, a pharmacy based near retirement homes may often need a tech or assistant with a sweeter, gentler personality which many senior citizens tend to like.

In any given situation, a mix of these–and more–would dictate what a Pharmacy owner/Pharmacy Manager may be looking for when hiring a Pharmacy Technician or Pharmacy Assistant. Always make sure that you highlight your strengths, based on your credentials, your work experiences, and maybe even use some of the External factors to leverage your profile and get that job.

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    • TheYoungDad profile image
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      Retired Pharmacy Tech 3 years ago from Canada

      You are extremely bitter and I wont even waste time replying to your comment. But what I will suggest is that you don't become a Pharmacy Assistant or Technician. Financially, unless you can get into a hospital, be prepared to make less than $20 an hour.

      By the way, you have never worked with retail pharmacists, pharmacy owners, or in any pharmacy whatsoever so you really should shut up and let someone who has actually worked in the industry speak the truth.

      Bitter, bitter bitter.

    • profile image

      Kid141289 3 years ago

      I am from India and I have completed my bachelor in pharmacy and masters in pharmacy in India. Is it possible for me to work as Pharmacy technician in Canada especially in Toronto without taking pharmacy technician course? Is it legal? Or WES credential evaluation is required? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    • TheYoungDad profile image
      Author

      Retired Pharmacy Tech 3 years ago from Canada

      Hi Kid141289!

      Technically, you CANNOT work as a "Pharmacy Technician" in any capacity if you don't take an approved Pharmacy Technician program. However, you CAN work as a "Pharmacy Assistant" because there are no legal requirements to be a Pharmacy Assistant. Something I always absolutely stress to foreign pharmacy individuals is that your credentials from your home country mean absolutely NOTHING to a potential employer in Canada, unless you'll be working ina research and development position. In retail, hospital, and long term care pharmacy, no amount of credentials matter except work-related experience. If you plan on being a pharmacist here in Canada, work towards your credentials re-evaluation and then attending the necessary courses. However, if you just want to become a Pharmacy Assistant, focus on improving your attitude--friendliness, willingness to learn, and courtesy towards customers. Those qualities will get you hired. But if you want to become a Pharmacy Technician, you will have to attend an approved training program. Or contact the OCP to see if they can evaluate your credentials and apply them towards a Pharmacy Technician program here in Canada. At the most, you probably won't have to do as many courses compared to other Pharmacy Technician students, but I am not aware of any situation where foreign credentials automatically allow you to become a Regulated Pharmacy Technician. All the best and keep me posted!

    • profile image

      tritchie 3 years ago

      I think these informations are very helpful. I am a pharmacy grad. from jamaica an interested in the pharmacy internship programme in ALberta, can an iternational pharmacy graduate apply for this programme?

    • TheYoungDad profile image
      Author

      Retired Pharmacy Tech 3 years ago from Canada

      Hello Trithchie, Im not a pharmacist but I do have friends who are both foreign and canadian pharmacists. Im not aware of a "pharmacy internship" program, I know organizations such as The Bredin Institute help foreign professionals get their foreign credentials recognized via equivalency (as well as assist them in the necessary schoolwork also needed) to become pharmacists, doctors, etc. here in Aberta. However, if what you're talking about is an "internship" where you ( a foreign pharmacy grad) want to work and gain experience in a canadian retail pharmacy setting, then there are certain programs (depending on the company that owns and operates the pharmacy) but the best you can do is inquire with each individual store owner about doing an internship-like "work experience" at their pharmacy. Hope this helps and the best of luck to you!

    • profile image

      Zan988 3 years ago

      Hi, I'm nursing graduate and now working as pharmacy assistant for 2 years. Is it possible for me to apply in Canada as pharmacy technician or I need to attend another training even though I have an experience? Thank you.

    • TheYoungDad profile image
      Author

      Retired Pharmacy Tech 3 years ago from Canada

      Hello Zan, in Alberta (where I am) to become a pharmacy technician via pure experience alone , using 2000 hours in the past 3 years, was only available up until January 2014. After January 2014, you would have to obtain proper training. Since 2009, pharmacy technicians without proper certification and training via an approved post-secondary institution (especially those working in hospitals) were given a deadline of Jan,2014 to complete a Bridging Program comprised of 4 courses that will allow you to take the PEBC Qualifying Exam. In 2014, you will have to take the PEBC Evaluating Exam to be able to determine eligibility into the Registered Pharmacy Technician Bridging Programs I believe.

    • profile image

      Zan988 3 years ago

      Hi youngdad, I am in the Philippines how to take the PEBC exam, and also the requirements to allow me to take the said qualification exam?

    • TheYoungDad profile image
      Author

      Retired Pharmacy Tech 3 years ago from Canada

    • profile image

      Aritra 3 years ago

      Hi,

      I am from India and planning to work in future as pharmacist in Canada but if I go for Registered Pharmacist Assistant program given by Nigara College ..Will it help me for preparing towards PEBC .

    • profile image

      Motheo Pitseetsile 3 years ago

      Hellowa want to work as a pharmacy technician in canada, have 3 years experience in Botswana.please contact me in mpitseetsile@gmail.com

    • TheYoungDad profile image
      Author

      Retired Pharmacy Tech 2 years ago from Canada

      Sorry Motheo, but contact you as to why? I don't have job offers and I can't get you into Canada. You seem confused about the purpose of this hub my friend, sorry I can't help you.

    • TheYoungDad profile image
      Author

      Retired Pharmacy Tech 2 years ago from Canada

      NOPE. Aritra, if you are already a pharmacist in India, don't downgrade and spend money to become an Assistant in Canada. There are legally no educational requirements by law for someone to be a Pharmacy ASSISTANT. Just for TECHNICIAN. Tap into your huge Indian network of pharmacists wherever you land when you come to Canada and you can get a job as an Assistant no problem. As I said, I've seen it happen, it does happen. But please, don't be like me and spend $14,000 on a Pharmacy Assistant "diploma" and get paid $13 an hour to start. All the best.

    • profile image

      magret mangani 2 years ago

      iii am a qualified pharmacy technicuan trained in zimbabwe would like to work in canada what should i do

    • profile image

      bhakti 2 years ago

      Hi

      Have completed nvq level 3 pharmacy technician course here in uk. Is this valid in canada or not.

      thanks

    • TheYoungDad profile image
      Author

      Retired Pharmacy Tech 2 years ago from Canada

      WHy don't you check the actual government website instead of posting a seemingly entitled to an answer question?

    • TheYoungDad profile image
      Author

      Retired Pharmacy Tech 2 years ago from Canada

      1.)Pharmacy Tech isn't an in-demand career in Canada and applying as an immigrant/work visa to work here as a Pharmacy Tech wont get you in. You'll have an easier entry into Canada applying for a low entry level, contract work @ Tim Hortons in Yellowknife than expect to get a work visa/citizenship as a Pharmacy Tech. However,if you are a PHARMACIST it's a different story, as Canada is high on foreign pharmacists--they seem to let Indians and Egyptians easily into the country as ¨skilled, highly needed professionals¨.

    • profile image

      dnext 20 months ago

      hello,

      I'am from Philippines now currently in Saudi Arabia working as a Community Pharmacist , I was offered a Job as a Pharmacy assistant in Iqaluit Province but unfortunate i didn't went due to some issues regarding my current employer here in Saudi Arabia its a long story.Anyways is there a possibility that some Canadian Employer are hiring a foreign worker? i browse site but usually they hire locally resident,any suggestion you could recommend?

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