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Study of Registration Practices of the
ONTARIO COLLEGE OF PHARMACISTS, 2007

  1. 1. INTRODUCTION
  2. 2. BACKGROUND OF THE REGULATORY BODY
    1. a. Legislation
    2. b. Protected Titles
    3. c. Definition of the Profession
    4. d. Labour Market/Economic Trends
    5. e. New Developments Within the Profession
    6. f. Staffing
  3. 3. REGISTRATION PRACTICES
    1. a. Registration Requirements and Application Process
    2. b. Documentation Required from Internationally Trained Individuals
    3. c. Credential Assessment (Third Party and/or Internal)
    4. d. Academic/Program Requirements
    5. e. Work Experience Requirements
    6. f. Examinations
    7. g. Language Requirements
    8. h. Fees
    9. i. Third Parties
    10. j. Typical Length of the Registration Process
    11. k. Accredited Programs
    12. l. Internal Review/Appeal Process
  4. 4. BRIDGING PROGRAMS
  5. 5. MUTUAL RECOGNITION AGREEMENTS
    1. a. Mutual Recognition Agreement for the Profession of Pharmacy in Canada
    2. b. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Quebec
  6. 6. APPLICANTS’ INTERACTIONS WITH REGULATORY BODY
    1. a. Nature and Frequency of Communication
    2. b. Backlogs
    3. c. Complaints Regarding the Registration Process
  7. 7. CHANGES SINCE THE 2005 SURVEY
  8. 8. REGISTRATION INFORMATION AND STATISTICS
  9. 9. SOURCES

ISBN 978-1-4249-6490-1 [HTML English version]


1. INTRODUCTION

The Office of the Fairness Commissioner (OFC) undertook a study of registration practices of Ontario's regulated professions during the fall and winter of 2007–2008. The purpose of the study was to understand each regulated profession's 2007 registration practices and to establish baseline data and information to enable the OFC to measure progress as it fulfills its mandate under the Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act, 2006.

This report reflects the registration practices of the Ontario College of Pharmacists as of December 31, 2007. Information in this report was gathered from:

The Ontario College of Pharmacists also provided registration information and statistics for 2005, 2006 and 2007 through a standard spreadsheet designed by the OFC.

An analysis and summary of the findings for all of the regulated professions is contained in the OFC's Ontario’s Regulated Professions: Report on the 2007 Study of Registration Practices.

2. BACKGROUND OF THE REGULATORY BODY

a. Legislation

The Ontario College of Pharmacists (OCP) regulates the practice of pharmacists in the public interest, under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 and the Pharmacy Act, 1991. Part IV of Ontario Regulation 681/93 concerns registration.

b. Protected Titles

Each province in Canada is responsible for issuing licences to practise pharmacy in its own province. To practise pharmacy in Ontario, individuals must have a Certificate of Registration (licence) as a pharmacist with OCP. Individuals will need this certificate to use the title “pharmacist” and provide pharmacy services to the public in Ontario.

There are three levels of registration with title protection within OCP:

With the changes introduced by the Health System Improvements Act, 2007 (Bill 171), there will be an additional class with title protection: “registered pharmacy technician.”

c. Definition of the Profession

The Pharmacy Act defines the practice of pharmacy as “the custody, compounding and dispensing of drugs, the provision of non-prescription drugs, health care aids and devices and the provision of information related to drug use.” According to the act, “In the course of engaging in the practice of pharmacy, a member is authorized, subject to the terms, conditions and limitations imposed on his or her certificate of registration, to dispense, sell or compound a drug or supervise the part of a pharmacy where drugs are kept.”

d. Labour Market/Economic Trends

According to the career map for the pharmacy profession in Ontario on the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration website, most pharmacists practise in a community pharmacy or in a hospital pharmacy. People with a degree in pharmacy also work in the pharmaceutical industry, education and administration. Some of these positions do not require a Certificate of Registration.

Future demand for pharmacists is unpredictable. Opportunities for jobs will depend on whether individuals are looking for work in the cities or in smaller towns. It may be easier to find a job outside of the Greater Toronto Area.

The practice of pharmacy is rapidly changing, with increased emphasis on electronic drug information and record keeping. Pharmacists should be able to use the computer and understand new technology used in the profession. Another major change is that pharmacists are doing less dispensing and moving toward more patient-centred services such as medication therapy management and reconciling patient medication histories, through programs such as MedsCheck, now paid for by the Ontario government. In some provinces, pharmacists now provide continuing care prescriptions, and other expanded roles for pharmacists, such as adjusting doses and ordering lab tests, are being considered.

The ability to provide client-centred services with a focus on good communication skills and patient counselling is an important requirement for future employment in this profession. Employers will be looking for pharmacists who can provide these patient-centred services, especially those reimbursed by government or other third parties.

e. New Developments Within the Profession

The Health System Improvements Act, 2007 (Bill 171) was passed by the Ontario legislature on June 4, 2007. This act, which amends the Regulated Health Professions Act, the Pharmacy Act and the Drug and Pharmacy Regulation Act, as well as many other health profession acts, enables pharmacists to provide more comprehensive care by regulating pharmacy technicians.

Several steps need to be put in place before OCP will be ready to register pharmacy technicians. OCP has been working with national stakeholders to develop a process for regulating pharmacy technicians that could be implemented broadly. A set of national competencies for pharmacy technicians has been approved, and the national technician educators have produced a set of educational outcomes necessary for accreditation of institutions providing pharmacy technician programs.

OCP is also working with the Canadian Council on Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs to develop a national certification process for institutions offering pharmacy technician education programs. The first accreditation visits are just beginning in spring 2008, and 20 educational programs in Ontario are making applications for accreditation.

OCP also has been collaborating with the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC)[1] to undertake the development and pilot of a national entry-to-practice examination for the assessment and certification of the competence of pharmacy technicians by 2009.

Additionally, focus groups were held around the province to determine the knowledge and skill gaps which will need to be addressed in the bridging program for the regulation of technicians. OCP is working with community colleges to develop a bridging program that will allow pharmacy technicians currently in practice to bridge the new educational outcomes required for regulation.

A revised registration regulation is being drafted, which includes the entry-to-practice requirements for pharmacy technicians. It will be reviewed by OCP Council in June 2008, circulated to the membership, and ratified in September 2008, for submission to government to reach the June 2009 deadline. It is anticipated that OCP will register the first group of pharmacy technicians early in 2010.

Regulation of pharmacy technicians will allow them to perform the technical aspects of compounding and dispensing drugs, enabling pharmacists to turn their attention to providing more comprehensive patient-centred health care services to patients, their families and other health care providers with regard to drug/therapy care.

Other changes introduced by the Health System Improvements Act are:

OCP implemented amendments to the public register in the fall of 2006, expanding the information provided to the public about pharmacists and pharmacies. This project was in response to current trends in professional regulation and underscores OCP’s commitment to transparency and accountability of administrative processes and member information.

Revised rules of the OCP discipline committee took effect on January 1, 2007. The revisions were designed to update processes, taking modern technology into account, and will better support the pre-hearing conference process, establish appropriate filing timelines to minimize delays of proceedings and include mechanisms to ensure transparency of proceedings in all settings.

Also endorsed by Council for OCP and implemented on January 1, 2007, were language proficiency requirements that were reviewed by the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA)[2] in collaboration with OCP.

f. Staffing

The OCP staff consists of 55 full-time employees and four part-time employees. Ten full-time-equivalent staff members are dedicated to the registration process.

3. REGISTRATION PRACTICES

a. Registration Requirements and Application Process

i. Basic Requirements for Registration

To obtain a Certificate of Registration as a pharmacist in Ontario, an individual (trained in Canada or internationally) must:

Before applicants are able to begin their in-service training or if they cannot be registered as pharmacists, they may be able to work as pharmacy technicians. Currently, pharmacy technicians do not have to register with OCP; however, OCP has been offering a voluntary certification for pharmacy technicians, which will end in October 2008. This voluntary certification has assisted applicants in getting jobs as pharmacy technicians, and will assist anyone who wishes to move forward and become a registered pharmacy technician beginning in 2010. Once there is provision for regulation of pharmacy technicians, there will be provisions for pharmacy graduates to enter this process if they are unable or unwilling to enter the pharmacist process.

ii. Classes of Registration

There are three levels of registration with title protection within OCP:

Registering as a Student

To perform any of the “controlled acts” (duties) of the pharmacy profession in Ontario, an individual must pre-register with OCP as a “pharmacy student.” Registration must take place before working or volunteering as a pharmacy student or completing any clinical rotations as part of an accredited pharmacy degree program. An applicant must meet OCP’s language proficiency requirements (see 3.g) before registering as a pharmacy student.

A registered pharmacy student can compound, dispense and sell over-the-counter drugs and provide information on the use of drugs only under the direct supervision of a pharmacist. The pharmacy may or may not pay for work performed by a student.

To register for a student-level training position in a community or hospital pharmacy, an applicant must submit a Studentship Application Form and pay the studentship application fee.

Registering as an Intern

To perform any of the “controlled acts” (duties) of the pharmacy profession in Ontario, an individual must register as a pharmacy intern. Internship is the training period after graduation from a faculty of pharmacy that provides transition from working under direct supervision as a student to working independently as a pharmacist. An intern has successfully completed studentship training, either in an undergraduate program or through OCP’s Structured Practical Training. An applicant must meet OCP’s language proficiency requirements, if he or she has not previously registered at the student level.

An intern can do all the work of a pharmacist, but a pharmacist must be available in person for advice and consultation at all times.

To register for an intern-level training position (internship) in a community or hospital pharmacy, an applicant must submit:

Registering as a Pharmacist

After successfully completing internship, the OCP Pharmaceutical Jurisprudence Examination and the PEBC Qualifying Examination, Parts I and II, an applicant is eligible to apply for a Certificate of Registration as a Pharmacist.

To register as a pharmacist, an applicant must submit:

iii. Steps in the Registration Process

For Students in Pharmacy Degree Programs Accredited in Canada or the U.S.

Step 1 – Pre-register with OCP as a student.

Step 2 – Graduate from an accredited pharmacy degree program.

Step 3 – Pass the OCP Pharmaceutical Jurisprudence Examination.[3]

Step 4 – Register as an intern and complete a minimum 12-week SPT while registered as an intern.

Step 5 – Submit academic credentials for review by PEBC.

Step 6 – Pass the PEBC Qualifying Examination, Parts I and II.

Step 7 – Apply for a Certificate of Registration as a pharmacist.

For Internationally Trained Individuals

Step 1 – Submit academic credentials for review by PEBC.

Step 2 – Pass the PEBC Evaluating Examination.

Step 3 – Apply to the University of Toronto’s International Pharmacy Graduate (IPG) Program.[4]

Step 4 – Successfully complete the first eight-week academic module of the IPG program, Canadian Pharmacy Skills I (CPS I).

Step 5 – Pre-register as a pharmacy student with OCP.

Step 6 – Complete a minimum of 16 weeks of OCP SPT at the student level (or the length of in-service training determined by a panel of the Registration Committee).[5]

Step 7 – Successfully complete the second 8-week academic module of the IPG program, Canadian Pharmacy Skills II (CPS II).

Step 8 – Complete a minimum of 16 weeks of OCP SPT at the intern level (or the length of in-service training determined by a panel of the Registration Committee).

Step 9 – Pass the OCP Pharmaceutical Jurisprudence Examination.[6]

Step 10 – Pass the PEBC Qualifying Examination, Parts I and II.

Step 11 – Apply for a Certificate of Registration as a pharmacist.

A minimum of 32 weeks of in-service training must be completed at the studentship level. Internationally trained individuals who successfully complete CPS I and II of the IPG program will receive 16 weeks of in-service training credit from OCP toward the 32 weeks of in-service training, and may also apply for a further reduction of in-service training.

Internationally trained individuals who are successful in both parts of the PEBC Qualifying Examination may also apply to be exempted from a portion of the minimum 32 weeks of in-service training at the student level.

b. Documentation Required from Internationally Trained Individuals

i. Standard Documentation

PEBC Documentation

Internationally trained applicants must undergo PEBC’s document evaluation process and successfully complete the PEBC Evaluating Examination before they can attempt the Qualifying Examination. They can download the Application for Document Evaluation Form from the PEBC website, and send their completed form with the required documents to PEBC before they come to Canada. The Evaluating Examination is also offered in London, England.

Applicants must submit the following documents to PEBC for evaluation:

Only original documents or copies of the original documents that are certified by a notary public or a commissioner for oaths or affidavits will be accepted. If these documents are not in English or French, the applicant must provide certified translations.

PEBC will assess applicants’ documents and decide if they can write the PEBC Evaluating Examination. If PEBC does not approve the documents, applicants will not be allowed to write the Evaluating Examination or become registered in Ontario. If this happens, applicants must apply to complete a four-year Canadian degree program in pharmacy. The Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto and at the University of Waterloo are currently the only two places in Ontario that offer this program. There is space for a small number of international students each year.

OCP Documentation

OCP asks that all applicants (including internationally trained individuals) pre-register with OCP and submit the following documents, with a completed pre-registration form for registration as a student, intern or pharmacist.

OCP will accept only originals or notarized copies. Any original documents sent to OCP will be returned by Priority Post.

ii. Options for Applicants with Unavailable/Destroyed Documents

Applicants with unavailable or destroyed documents should contact PEBC directly for advice on how to proceed.

c. Credential Assessment (Third Party and/or Internal)

PEBC assesses the qualifications for prospective applicants to OCP. To that end, PEBC awards Certificates of Qualification to those applicants who pass its Qualifying Examination. Its major responsibility is to assure the achievement of a minimal level of competence to practise at an entry level.

d. Academic/Program Requirements

An applicant for registration with OCP must have a pharmacy degree from a Canadian or US accredited university or have a degree recognized by PEBC that would make applicants eligible to write the PEBC examinations.

An internationally trained applicant for registration with OCP must also complete the University of Toronto’s International Pharmacy Graduate Program.

e. Work Experience Requirements

i. International Pharmacy Graduate Program

The International Pharmacy Graduate (IPG) Program has developed a Canadian Practical Experience (CPE) Program as a component of CPS I and II. The CPE program was designed to provide an opportunity for the internationally trained pharmacist to understand and develop Canadian pharmacy practice skills.

During the CPE program, internationally trained pharmacists will observe practical aspects and concepts of pharmacy practice. Each is assigned to a community practice site and a Pharmacist Mentor (PM) by the IPG program staff. IPGs are encouraged to work closely with the PM and pharmacy team members to optimize the CPE opportunity.

The mentorship program was developed specifically to provide a separate mentor for each IPG throughout his or her registration process. The mentors also provide valuable input for IPGs before they ever reach their Structured Practical Training site.

Preceptors are required for the SPT component of the registration process. While preceptors do provide mentoring to some extent, they are primarily responsible for teaching and assessment of each IPG’s competency during SPT and must declare any conflict of interest. Some mentors choose to become preceptors for their IPGs.

ii. Structured Practical Training

All applicants must successfully complete a period of OCP Structured Practical Training (SPT). The length of the in-service training period will be determined by a panel of the Registration Committee.

SPT studentship and internship must be completed in a community or hospital pharmacy in Ontario that meets the OCP SPT practice-site criteria. It also must be completed under the supervision of a pharmacist preceptor, who must meet the preceptor criteria in OCP Regulation 280/96. To be eligible as a preceptor, the pharmacist:

It is each applicant’s responsibility to find a pharmacist preceptor who is willing to teach and supervise him or her in the SPT program. Finding a preceptor may take some time because there are a limited number of trained preceptors, particularly at certain times of the year and in certain areas.

Preceptors and students and/or interns must declare actual and/or perceived relationships of any nature that could compromise the studentship/internship assessment (e.g., direct or indirect family relationships, financial or business connections). OCP must approve the choice of preceptor before applicants begin their training.

Applicants who wish to be exempted from any portion of the in-service training must submit a request to a panel of the Registration Committee and provide evidence to support this request. Such evidence could include the successful completion of both parts of the PEBC Qualifying Examination and documentation of work experience in a direct patient care environment in a Canadian pharmacy. The panel decides exemptions on a case-by-case basis. A decision by the panel may be appealed to the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board. This process refers to pharmacists, not to pharmacy technicians. There is a separate entry-to-practice process being developed for pharmacy technicians, including transition for technicians currently working and, in the future, for internationally trained technicians or pharmacists.

Applicants with work experience obtained overseas must provide details of the work experience, and each case is assessed individually. On a small number of occasions when applicants have experience in similar practice environments, panels of the Registration Committee have granted some reductions to the in-service training requirement.

f. Examinations

An applicant must pass three examinations to become a pharmacist.

i. PEBC Evaluating Examination

PEBC offers the Evaluating Examination twice a year, in the summer and in the winter. Applicants must pass the Evaluating Examination to prove that they have completed an acceptable program of study. Applicants graduating from a Canadian or US accredited faculty of pharmacy are not required to write the Evaluating Examination because there is a common accreditation process for pharmacy programs in Canada and the US. Applicants are permitted four attempts at the PEBC Evaluating Examination. The Evaluating Examination syllabus and information booklet are available on PEBC’s website.

ii. PEBC Qualifying Examination, Part I — MCQ and Part II — OSCE

The PEBC Qualifying Examination, Parts I and II, is offered twice a year, in the spring and in the fall. Both parts of the examination test the ability to use pharmaceutical education in the applicant’s work as a pharmacist. All applicants must pass this examination. Applicants are permitted three attempts at the PEBC examination, and can make a fourth attempt if they agree to undergo remediation before the fourth attempt. Pass rates for graduates of the IPG program are currently comparable to those of University of Toronto graduates. Unfortunately, many IPGs choose to write the examination several times before entering the IPG program. Those who fail four times could consider working as a pharmacy technician.

The PEBC office can provide a list of resources to help applicants study. The Qualifying Examination information booklet is available on PEBC’s website.

iii. OCP Pharmaceutical Jurisprudence Examination

OCP offers the Pharmaceutical Jurisprudence Examination in January, April, July and October. This multiple-choice examination tests knowledge of the laws about the distribution, advertising, sale and use of drugs in Ontario. Applicants can take the jurisprudence examination at any stage of the registration process before licensure. Applicants who wish to be exempted from the bridging program where jurisprudence and professional practice are taught can apply to a panel of the Registration Committee; in the past, panels have required candidates to successfully complete the jurisprudence examination before internship. Interns can practise independently so panels want to be satisfied that the intern has some understanding of the law about the distribution, advertising, sale and use of drugs.

The OCP Manual for the examination is available online and can be printed for use as a study guide. One-day seminars to review the jurisprudence material are also offered by OCP staff before each examination.

g. Language Requirements

Pharmacists in Ontario work as part of a health care team and provide care for patients. A pharmacist must be able to communicate well with patients to find out about their medication history, to give them information on drug use and to help patients deal with any health problems that can be treated with or caused by drugs. For these reasons, individuals must have excellent communication skills to be pharmacists in Ontario.

Applicants must show that they can understand, speak and write in either English or French with reasonable fluency. Applicants whose degrees in pharmacy are from a university program not accredited in Canada or the US cannot register with OCP as students or interns until they can prove language proficiency by passing language tests or providing non-objective evidence of fluency. Applicants may be able to take these tests in their country before coming to Canada, but test scores are valid for only two years. The test scores must be sent directly by the testing agency to OCP or confirmed by OCP directly with the testing agency. As of January 1, 2007, OCP accepts one of the following combinations of tests as proof of language proficiency.

English Tests
Test Details Minimum Score
1a) Test of English as a
Foreign Language (TOEFL)

i) Internet-based test (iBT)

Speaking

27

Writing

25

Reading

 *

Listening

Total

97

1b) TOEFL

i) Computer-based Test (CBT)

237

ii) Paper-based test (PBT)

580

1b) Test of Spoken English
(TSE)

Oral test (in conjunction with CBT or PBT TOEFL and TWE)

50

1b) Test of Written English
(TWE/Essay Rating)

Written test (in conjunction with CBT or PBT TOEFL and TSE)

5

2) Michigan English Language
Assessment Battery
(MELAB)

Part 1 (Composition)

82

Part 2 (Listening)

 *

Part 3 (GCVR: grammar, cloze, vocabulary, reading)

Total MELAB

85

MELAB Speaking Test

3+

3) International English
Language Testing System
(IELTS) — Academic

Speaking

6

Writing

6

Reading

6

Listening

6

Overall Band

7

4) CanTest

Speaking

4.5

Writing

4.5

Reading

4.5

Listening

4.5

French Tests
Test Details Minimum Score
5) TestCan (French)

Speaking

4.5

Writing

4.5

Reading

4.5

Listening

4.5

6) Test of French Proficiency

Oral

7

Writing

2

* There is no minimum score set for these items, but all components are required as part of the total score.

Other Evidence of Language Proficiency

If applicants wish to provide non-objective evidence of language proficiency, the application and supporting documents will be referred to a panel of the Registration Committee.

There is no restriction on the type of information applicants may submit to a panel. However, it must be sufficiently reliable and persuasive to satisfy a panel that applicants possess reasonable language proficiency in English or French. Here are examples of information that applicants might submit:

h. Fees

Taxes may be added to some of these costs.

Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC)

Document evaluation (for internationally educated pharmacists)

$500

Evaluating Examination

$485

Qualifying Examination: Part I — Multiple Choice Questions

$375

Qualifying Examination: Part II — Objectively Structured Clinical Examination

$1,425

International Pharmacy Graduate Program

Canadian Pharmacy Skills I – Spring 2007

$6,500

Canadian Pharmacy Skills II – Winter 2007

$6,500

OCP Pharmaceutical Jurisprudence Examination

Optional seminar course

$83.20

Examination in Toronto

$160.85

Examination outside Toronto

$321.71

OCP Application Fees

Pre-registration fee

$124.25

Studentship

$194.13

Internship

$194.13

Pharmacist

$194.13

OCP Training Fees (applicable upon successful completion of training)

Student

$388.27

Intern

$388.27

Certificate of Registration

Annual fee

$564.81

Annual fee: September 1 – March 9

$282.40

Additional Fees

The cost of language proficiency testing will vary, depending on the service provider.

i. Third Parties

Name of Third Party Relationship to Regulatory Body

Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC)

Assesses academic credentials, administers evaluating exam, administers qualifying exam.

International Pharmacy Graduate Program (University of Toronto)

Provides bridging program for international pharmacy graduates.

National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA)

Represents the common interests of the member organizations, serves as a national resource centre and promotes the national implementation of progressive regulatory programs and standards, which would support labour mobility through the mutual recognition agreement.

j. Typical Length of the Process

Graduates from Canada and the US, having finished four to six years of undergraduate pharmacy studies including structured clinical rotations, are required to successfully complete a minimum of 12 weeks of internship and the PEBC Qualifying Examination. Most of these graduates complete all the requirements and register as pharmacists within four to six months of graduation.

For internationally trained applicants, the registration process usually takes one to three years and applicants will need to have enough money to support themselves (and their families) for this time period. In addition, there are costs for the IPG program and other registration requirements.

Once PEBC approves the internationally trained applicant’s documents, it can take two to three years or longer for these applicants to become registered as pharmacists in Ontario. This is partly because the examinations (PEBC Evaluating Examination, PEBC Qualifying Examination Parts I and II, OCP Pharmaceutical Jurisprudence Exam) and the classes for CPS I and II are offered only at set times during the year. This process is usually shortened if internationally trained graduates enter the IPG program immediately after completing their Evaluating Examinations and are able to pass their remaining exams on the first or second attempt.

To complete in-service training, each applicant must also find a preceptor. This may take time, since every student and intern requires a preceptor, and the demand for preceptors may exceed the supply at certain times of the year and in certain areas.

From the date an individual first registers with OCP as a student or intern and begins in-service training, he or she has three years in which to complete all of the requirements of licensure and register as a pharmacist.

If an applicant meets all the requirements to be registered as a pharmacist in Ontario, it may take one to two weeks for the application to be processed. A client services representative will notify the applicant when he or she is licensed.

k. Accredited Programs

The Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP) currently accredits 12 pharmacy academic programs (10 leading to a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and two leading to the Pharm.D. degree[7]), offered at 10 Canadian universities. Graduates from a CCAPP-accredited program may apply for the PEBC Qualifying Examination without taking the Evaluating Examination. Graduates from a non-accredited program must first pass the PEBC Evaluating Examination, designed to determine if the program of study completed is comparable to one accredited by CCAPP.

The following universities offer pharmacy programs that have been accredited by CCAPP. OCP accepts graduates from schools accredited by CCAPP.

Ontario
University of Toronto
University of Waterloo

Alberta
University of Alberta, Edmonton

British Columbia
University of British Columbia, Vancouver

Manitoba
University of Manitoba, Winnipeg

Newfoundland
Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s

Nova Scotia
Dalhousie University, Halifax

Quebec
Université Laval, Quebec City
Université de Montréal

Saskatchewan
University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon

The CCAPP’s counterpart agency in the United States is the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). ACPE currently accredits the entry-level doctorate of pharmacy programs of 85 schools and colleges of pharmacy in the US, and of the Lebanese American University in Byblos, Lebanon. Graduates from an ACPE-accredited program may also apply for the PEBC Qualifying Examination without taking the Evaluating Examination. OCP also accepts the academic credentials of graduates from those schools.

l. Internal Review/Appeal Process

The Registrar and staff of OCP review applications and refer to the Registration Committee only those where there is doubt that the applicant meets a registration requirement.

The Registration Committee is composed of at least three pharmacist members of the OCP Council, a dean of a faculty of pharmacy and two public members of Council appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. The OCP Council can also appoint members at large to this committee. In order to process any applications for review efficiently, the Chair of the Registration Committee appoints panels of the committee to review cases on a monthly basis.

If a panel does not grant an applicant’s request and the applicant submits new information, a panel will be reconvened to consider the additional information. A decision by a panel that refuses an applicant’s request may be reviewed by the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board. The candidate is notified in writing of the right to seek a review and provided with the mailing address of the board. A link to the HPARB website is on the OCP website.

Applicants are entitled to a copy of their registration files unless they jeopardize the safety of any person.

Unsuccessful candidates may request one final hand-scoring of their evaluation or qualifying examinations by providing a written request and the applicable fee. The content, methodology, standards and assessment criteria of the evaluating or qualifying examination are not subject to review or appeal by unsuccessful candidates or their agents.

4. BRIDGING PROGRAMS

The International Pharmacy Graduate (IPG) Program at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, is a bridging program designed to assist internationally trained pharmacists meet Canadian entry-to practice standards. The structured university-based curriculum means graduates have access to practical courses delivered by an experienced faculty. In addition, the program’s solid mentorship network provides many opportunities for students to link with practising pharmacists.

The IPG program has two modules: Canadian Pharmacy Skills I and II. Drawing upon material from courses offered in the undergraduate program, the content provides enculturation to Canadian pharmacy practice and training for entry-level competence. Therapeutics, law, practice management, pharmaceutical care, drug information and the Canadian health care system are just a few of the content areas covered. Students also gain critical language, workplace and practice skills necessary for licensure in Canada. According to the IPG website, this program has a 92 per cent success rate in licensing examinations and has graduated over 525 students since 2001.

This program has also developed a Canadian Practical Experience (CPE) Program as a component of CPS I and II. The CPE program was designed to provide an opportunity for the IPG student to understand and develop Canadian pharmacy practice skills.

Practical experience is an invaluable enhancement to the academic program and is strongly recommended. IPGs with practical experience are more likely to be successful in the academic program, since they will possess a context for the material that is learned in the classroom and lab settings.

During the CPE program, internationally trained pharmacists will observe practical aspects and concepts of pharmacy practice. Each is assigned to a community practice site and a Pharmacist Mentor by the IPG program staff. IPGs are encouraged to work closely with the Pharmacist Mentor and pharmacy team members to optimize the CPE opportunity.

The IPG program received a grant from the Government of Ontario and Citizenship and Immigration Canada to develop language training for internationally trained pharmacists and other internationally educated health professionals. This program helps individuals develop the language skills necessary to communicate within a health profession in Canada and to prepare for entry to the IPG program. This program is offered free of charge to qualified individuals.

5. MUTUAL RECOGNITION AGREEMENTS

a. Mutual Recognition Agreement for the Profession of Pharmacy in Canada

All provinces except Quebec and the three territories are signatories to the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) for the Profession of Pharmacy in Canada, effective July 1, 2001. The purpose of the MRA is to facilitate labour mobility of pharmacists between signatory provinces in Canada.

Under the terms of the MRA, pharmacists licensed or registered in a signatory province on July 1, 2001, and currently registered in good standing in a signatory province, are eligible to register as pharmacists in Ontario upon successful completion of OCP’s Pharmaceutical Jurisprudence Examination, regardless of their country of graduation. Pharmacists registered in good standing in a signatory province after July 1, 2001, who have completed a degree program in pharmacy at an accredited school in Canada or the US are also recognized by the MRA. Applications from pharmacists licensed or registered in the jurisdiction of a signatory province after July 1, 2001, who are in good standing and have completed a degree program in pharmacy that was not accredited by either the CCAPP or the ACPE will be referred to a panel of the Registration Committee. Successful completion of SPT in Ontario may be required.

To register as pharmacists in Ontario after practising as pharmacists in another Canadian jurisdiction, applicants will need to:

b. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Quebec

Ontario and Quebec have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU). The purpose of the MOU was to facilitate labour mobility of pharmacists between these two provinces by recognizing the SPT completed in the respective provinces.

Pharmacists licensed in Quebec can work as pharmacists in Ontario provided they:

Pharmacists licensed in Quebec who do not meet these requirements may apply to a panel of the Registration Committee to determine what requirements they will need to complete.

6. APPLICANTS’ INTERACTIONS WITH REGULATORY BODY

a. Nature and Frequency of Communication

OCP staff provide registration-related information, seminars and lectures to students in the University of Toronto and University of Waterloo pharmacy undergraduate programs as well as to those in the International Pharmacy Graduate bridging program. The OCP staff communicate with all applicants throughout the registration process and spend a considerable amount of time guiding internationally trained individuals through the registration process. OCP staff also provide informational seminars to prepare IPGs for in-service training and, upon request, they make presentations at various venues where international graduates have questions regarding registration with OCP(such as Health Force Ontario).

A panel of the Registration Committee is held every month to provide a consistent and effective process for review of applications. Applicants are notified in writing that their applications have been referred to a panel and are given the statutory 30 days notice to submit additional information in support of applications. Applicants are informed of a panel’s decision within three business days of a panel meeting, and formal decisions are provided within two months of the meeting. Typically, applicants who appeal to the Registration Committee would have decisions within two to three months.

When an applicant meets all the requirements to be registered, it may take between one to two weeks for the application to be processed. A client services representative will notify applicants that they have been registered, or will advise applicants of any outstanding documents or fees.

b. Backlogs

Pre-registration status with OCP expires five years from the date of pre-registration. If this happens before an individual registers with OCP as a student or intern, the file will be deactivated.

c. Complaints Regarding the Registration Process

Applicants who have complaints or concerns with the registration process can contact the Manager of Registration Programs, or the Registrar or Deputy Registrar.

The main complaint is that the registration process seems complicated. One reason is that every registration requirement is presently exemptible. This means that all applicants can make appeals and present information to a panel of the Registration Committee. Since many international candidates, with diverse education and experiences, appeal to panels, the panels are required to make individual decisions on a large number of cases.

In order to educate applicants and explain these processes to them, staff will meet with or speak on the phone with individuals to coach them on how to proceed. OCP also holds monthly panel meetings to expedite these requests. Information sessions are also provided by OCP staff upon request by groups such as Health Force Ontario.

OCP’s is considering amending its registration regulation to make some requirements non-exemptible.

7. CHANGES SINCE THE 2005 SURVEY

The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration conducted a survey in 2005 to collect information about occupational regulatory bodies in Ontario. No substantive changes to processes have occurred since then.

8. REGISTRATION INFORMATION AND STATISTICS

Definitions used in these tables:

Alternative class of licence: a class of licence that enables its holder to practise with limitations; additional registration requirements must be met in order to be fully licensed. Alternative classes of licence granted by the Ontario College of Pharmacists are specified under the tables below.

Applicant: a person who has applied to start the process for entry to the profession.

Applicant actively pursuing licensing: an applicant who had some contact with OCP within the year specified.

Inactive applicant: an applicant who had no contact with OCP within the year specified.

Member: a person who is currently able to use the protected title or professional designation “pharmacist.”

Languages in which application information materials were available
Language 2005 2006 2007
English

Yes

Yes

Yes

French

No

No

No

Other(s)      
Countries where internationally educated applicants were initially trained in pharmacy
Applications received 2005 2006 2007
Largest number

Egypt

Egypt

Egypt

Second-largest number

Philippines

India

India

Third-largest number

India

Philippines

Philippines

Fourth-largest number

Iran

Iran

Iran

Fifth-largest number

Jordan

Pakistan

Pakistan

Staff employed by the Ontario College of Pharmacists
Number of staff 2005 2006 2007
Involved in registration process1

8

8.5

10

Involved in appeals process1

6

6

6

1Staff are not assigned exclusively to the registration and appeals process.

Jurisdiction where members were initially trained in pharmacy (before they were granted use of the protected title or professional designation in Ontario)
Members Ontario Other Canadian Provinces USA Other International TOTAL
Total members

5,318

1,824

779

3,128

11,049

Non-practising members

375

109

53

92

629

Applicants processed by the Ontario College of Pharmacists in 2005

 

Jurisdiction where members were initially trained in pharmacy (before they were granted use of the protected title or professional designation in Ontario)
In 2005 (Jan. 1 to Dec. 31) Ontario Other Canadian Provinces USA Other International TOTAL
New applications received

986

132

68

387

1,573

Applicants actively pursuing licensing

1

8

9

6

24

Inactive applicants

0

0

0

0

0

Applicants who met all requirements and were authorized to become members but did not become members

164

94

29

196

483

Applicants who became members

0

0

0

0

0

Applicants who were authorized to receive an alternative class of licence1 but were not issued a licence

557

48

32

194

831

Applicants who were issued an alternative class of licence1

986

132

68

387

1,573

1Student: A person registered with OCP to complete his/her initial level of in-service training. A student is able to perform the controlled acts of the profession under direct supervision of a pharmacist.

Intern: A person registered with OCP to complete his/her final level of in-service training before becoming eligible to apply for a Certificate of Registration as a pharmacist. An intern has a degree in pharmacy and may perform the controlled acts while a pharmacist is physically present in the pharmacy and available for consultation.

Applicants processed by the Ontario College of Pharmacists in 2006

 

Jurisdiction where members were initially trained in pharmacy (before they were granted use of the protected title or professional designation in Ontario)
In 2006 (Jan. 1 to Dec. 31) Ontario Other Canadian Provinces USA Other International TOTAL
New applications received

241

109

51

226

627

Applicants actively pursuing licensing

1,068

145

90

417

1,720

Inactive applicants

1

2

7

21

31

Applicants who met all requirements and were authorized to become members but did not become members

0

0

0

0

0

Applicants who became members

174

108

30

194

506

Applicants who were authorized to receive an alternative class of licence1 but were not issued a licence

0

0

0

0

0

Applicants who were issued an alternative class of licence1

409

48

51

221

729

1Student: A person registered with OCP to complete his/her initial level of in-service training. A student is able to perform the controlled acts of the profession under direct supervision of a pharmacist.

Intern: A person registered with OCP to complete his/her final level of in-service training before becoming eligible to apply for a Certificate of Registration as a pharmacist. An intern has a degree in pharmacy and may perform the controlled acts while a pharmacist is physically present in the pharmacy and available for consultation.

Applicants processed by the Ontario College of Pharmacists in 2007

 

Jurisdiction where members were initially trained in pharmacy (before they were granted use of the protected title or professional designation in Ontario)
In 2007 (Jan. 1 to Dec. 31) Ontario Other Canadian Provinces USA Other International TOTAL
New applications received

241

71

24

216

552

Applicants actively pursuing licensing

1,135

108

84

437

1,764

Inactive applicants

4

6

3

4

17

Applicants who met all requirements and were authorized to become members but did not become members

0

0

0

0

0

Applicants who became members

184

73

39

220

516

Applicants who were authorized to receive an alternative class of licence1 but were not issued a licence

0

0

0

0

0

Applicants who were issued an alternative class of licence1

420

22

24

207

673

1Student: A person registered with OCP to complete his/her initial level of in-service training. A student is able to perform the controlled acts of the profession under direct supervision of a pharmacist.

Intern: A person registered with OCP to complete his/her final level of in-service training before becoming eligible to apply for a Certificate of Registration as a pharmacist. An intern has a degree in pharmacy and may perform the controlled acts while a pharmacist is physically present in the pharmacy and available for consultation.

9. SOURCES

Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) website: http://www.acpe-accredit.org/. Last accessed: March 18, 2008.

Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP) website: http://www.ccapp-accredit.ca/about/. Last accessed: March 13, 2008

Ontario College of Pharmacists website: http://www.ocpinfo.com/client/ocp/OCPHome.nsf/. Last accessed: March 10, 2008.

Ontario College of Pharmacists. Annual Report 2006 - 2007.

Ontario College of Pharmacists and Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. “Access to the Pharmacy Profession in Ontario.” Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration Website. http://www.citizenship.gov.on.ca/. Last accessed: February 29, 2008.

Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada website: http://www.pebc.ca/EnglishPages/General/HomePage.html. Last accessed: March 10, 2008

University of Toronto. Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy. International Pharmacy Graduate Program. http://www.ipgcanada.ca/. Last accessed: March 12, 2008.

Representatives of the Ontario College of Pharmacists met with staff of the Office of the Fairness Commissioner on July 25, 2007, to provide further information for this study.



[1] PEBC is a non-profit, self-supporting organization that develops and administers the entry-to-practice assessment process for pharmacy regulatory authorities in Canada. It assesses the qualifications of both Canadian and internationally trained graduates for all provinces except Quebec and issues the Certificate of Qualification to persons who pass its Qualifying Examination, Parts I and II.

[2] The NAPRA is a voluntary, not-for-profit association that enables the Canadian pharmacy regulatory bodies that belong to it to take a national approach in addressing common issues.

[3] Applicants can take the jurisprudence examination at any stage of the registration process. However, individuals who are requesting an exemption from a portion of the in-service training may be required to pass this examination prior to internship.

[4] The University of Toronto’s IPG program is currently an exemptible requirement. OCP is in the process of drafting changes to the registration regulation to make it non-exemptible and working with the University of Toronto to ensure that the program is available in flexible formats (part-time and distance).

[5] Students enrolled in an accredited pharmacy degree program in Canada or the United States are not required to complete a formal period of in-service training at the studentship level through OCP, as this level of training occurs in the undergraduate curriculum.

[6] Applicants can take the jurisprudence examination at any stage of the registration process. However, individuals who are requesting an exemption from a portion of the in-service training may be required to pass this examination prior to internship.

[7] The B.Sc. in Pharmacy is a four-year degree with a minimum one-year university prerequisite with approximately 20 weeks of experiential training. The Pharm.D. is an advanced clinical degree with eight months of clinical rotations. The Pharm.D. program being proposed at University of Toronto is likely to be a four-year degree, with a minimum two-year university prerequisite.