Community Pharmacy

Community Pharmacy

A Community Pharmacy is a brick-and-mortar pharmacy that is licensed to sell or dispense drugs to the public.

How do i apply for a community Pharmacy Licence?
  1. Determine Eligibility
    • The majority of the directors in the corporation must be pharmacists registered in BC.
    • The pharmacy must have a manager who is a pharmacist and who must personally manage and be responsible for the operation of the pharmacy.
    • The pharmacy must be staffed with at least one pharmacist when it is open for business.
    • The pharmacy must not be directly or indirectly owned by a person who is authorized by an enactment to prescribe drugs (e.g. dentists, physicians, etc.).

    If the Community Pharmacy is not owned by a corporation, see section 5(2) of the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act and the Ownership of a Pharmacy section of the Pharmacy Licensure Guide.

  2. Follow the Application Process

  1. Apply for a New Community Pharmacy Licence (Phase 1)
    1. Apply for a New Community Pharmacy Licence
      ​Submit the following Phase 1 documents to [email protected]:

      The Ownership Requirements Checklist outlines all documents required for a new community pharmacy licence.

      Allow up to 14 days for processing.

    2. Submit Criminal Record History (CRH) to Complete Proof of Eligibility:

      Once the Phase 1 documents have been processed and approved by the College, all indirect owners and the pharmacy manager* will receive instructions via email to complete their Criminal Record History (if a CRH has not been completed within the past 5 years).

      Allow up to 7 days for processing.

      *The pharmacy manager may be appointed in Phase 2 instead.

    Once all Phase 1 requirements have been met and all CRH results have been received by the College, the authorized representative will be notified via email that Phase 1 is complete. Health Insurance BC (HIBC) of the Ministry of Health will be notified of the new community pharmacy.

  2. Build the Community Pharmacy

    Build the new Community Pharmacy according to the diagram approved by the College.

    It is the responsibility of the pharmacy owner to read and understand what the physical requirements are before building the pharmacy. Refer to Appendix B in the Pharmacy Licensure Guide for further information.

    Notify the College at [email protected] if there are any changes to your application (e.g. change to the approved layout, ownership, or the proposed licensure date). If the College is not notified, this may delay the opening date of the pharmacy.

  3. Submit Pre-Opening Documents (Phase 2)

    Submit the following documents to [email protected] no later than 14 days prior to the proposed licensure date. Submission 30 days prior to the proposed licensure date is recommended to allow sufficient time to review and address any non-compliant items:

    • Pre-Opening Inspection
    • Digital Evidence
      • Digital Evidence Submission Form – Community Pharmacy – Use this PowerPoint template to submit digital evidence (photos/video). Digital evidence:
        • Must provide sufficient context for the College inspector to determine whether the physical requirements have been met,
        • Must be consistent with the approved pharmacy diagram,
        • Must have been recently produced at the new pharmacy,
        • Must not have been previously submitted for the same location or any other location.

      The Pre-Opening Inspection Report and digital evidence should be submitted as a complete package. Any missing or incomplete information may delay the processing of your application. Review Appendix B for recommended content to include in your digital evidence before producing digital evidence.

    • Licence Fee:
    • Business Licence:
      • The business licence must include the operating name of the pharmacy, the name of the direct owner, the pharmacy address, and the licence period must be valid and current.
      • If a business licence is not required for your pharmacy, submit written correspondence from the jurisdiction that they do not issue business licences.
    • Proof of Eligibility – Attestation (if applicable):

    Allow up to 14 days for processing.

  4. Pre-Opening Inspection(s)

    An on-site pre-opening inspection is generally not required if the digital evidence provided with the Pre-Opening Inspection Report demonstrates that the pharmacy has met all the physical requirements. If an on-site inspection is required, an email will be sent to the authorized representative(s) to schedule an inspection within 14 days of the proposed licensure date. A College inspector will conduct the inspection at the community pharmacy using the Pre-Opening Inspection Report submitted in Step 3.

    Note that a follow-up visit will be required if the pre-opening requirements are not met during the first inspection. This may delay the opening of the new pharmacy.

  5. Community Pharmacy Licence Issued

    Once all licensure requirements are met, the authorized representative(s) will be notified via email that the community pharmacy is authorized to open. A community pharmacy licence will be issued to the direct owner and can be downloaded in eServices. HIBC will also be notified that the pharmacy is authorized to open.

More Questions?
Who is the authorized representative(s) of my pharmacy?
The authorized representative(s) is the director(s) of the direct owner (the corporation that owns the pharmacy). Officers and shareholders of the direct owner, and any directors, officers, and shareholders of parent corporations are not considered authorized representatives. Pharmacy managers are also not considered authorized representatives unless they are also directors of the direct owner. The authorized representative(s) is the only one who has signing authority on pharmacy applications.
What is the best way to submit my application?

The application form and all applicable requirements should be sent via email to [email protected]. Original physical documents do not need to be sent via mail (this includes certified documents and pharmacy diagrams). If possible, please submit all documents as PDF files.

Do not submit Criminal Record History (CRH) results directly to the College. CRH results will be automatically sent to the College via the third-party provider.

How long does it take to open a new pharmacy?
The timeline for opening a new pharmacy can vary greatly. Typically, a new pharmacy application will be completed within 6-12 months (including construction time). However, if the new pharmacy is opening in a previously existing pharmacy space and construction time is minimal or not required, it may take as little as 6 weeks to complete the application process. Note that this timeline does not take into account any non-College related considerations (e.g. inspections by the jurisdiction, HIBC, PharmaNet connection, third party payers, etc.).
What date should I provide as a proposed licensure date?

You should review the timelines indicated on the College website and in the Pharmacy Licensure Guide before determining a proposed licensure date. Account for possible delays and considerations outside of the College (e.g. inspections by the jurisdiction, HIBC, PharmaNet connection, third party payers, etc.). Review the Pharmacy Licensure Guide for more information on these considerations.

If the proposed licensure date indicated on the application form changes, you should notify the College as soon as possible to avoid delays in the application process.

Who can submit a New Pharmacy application?
The application form must be signed by an authorized representative of the pharmacy. However, anyone can be listed as the main contact (a registrant or non-registrant). The person listed as the main contact will be the point of contact for the College, along with the authorized representative(s).
How do I apply to open an internet pharmacy?

In BC, the Drug Schedules Regulation requires that drugs listed in schedule I, IA, II, III, and IV must be sold from pharmacies licenced in B.C. To date, only “brick-and-mortar” pharmacies are licenced to operate in BC.  A website used for the purpose of selling drugs or providing pharmacy services over the internet must be the website of a licenced pharmacy with a legitimate street address. Although the College does not have a separate licence type for online pharmacies, all “brick and mortar” pharmacies with an online presence must ensure that they are meeting the regulatory requirements applicable to the pharmacy licence that they possess, and all applicable standards of practice.  

In addition, under s. 18(2)(u) of the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act (PODSA) Bylaws, a pharmacy manager must advise the registrar if the pharmacy is providing pharmacy services over the internet and provide to the registrar the internet address of every website operated or used by the pharmacy.

Do I need to complete a Criminal Record History (CRH) if I am a non-registrant or if I am a pharmacist who recently completed a Criminal Record Check (CRC)?

Yes, each indirect owner (directors, officers, and shareholders), as well as the pharmacy manager, must complete a Criminal Record History if they have not completed one in the previous 5 years. This also applies to non-registrants who are part of the ownership of the pharmacy.

A Criminal Record History (CRH) is not the same as the Criminal Record Check (CRC) that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians complete at the time of initial registration or registration renewal.

A CRH is required as part of Phase 1 of the new pharmacy application process and will be completed through Sterling BackCheck via the College.


Direct Owner(s) – the corporation that owns the pharmacy.

Indirect Owner(s) – the directors, officers, and shareholders related to the Direct Owner corporation and any parent corporations that may exist. An indirect owner may be an individual or a corporation.

BC Incorporated Parent Corporations – corporations that are incorporated in British Columbia and are shareholders of the Direct Owner corporation.

Authorized Representative(s) – the director(s) of the Direct Owner.

Physical Requirements – items that must be included within the pharmacy or minimum square footage requirements. Examples include shelving, a time delay safe, minimum dispensary area, minimum counter space, etc.