Frequently Asked Questions

Why is a criminal record check required?

Under the Health Professions Act (HPA), which took effect April 1st, 2009, all applicants and registrants of the College of Pharmacists of BC are required to consent to an ongoing criminal record check (CRC) at least once every 5 years.

The criminal record check is a requirement of the Criminal Records Review Act (CRRA) and is applicable to applicants and registrants of all professional regulatory bodies governed by the HPA. The Criminal Records Review Act is intended to help protect children from physical and sexual abuse or vulnerable adults from physical, sexual or financial abuse. All applicants and registrants must undergo a CRC regardless of whether or not they work directly with children or vulnerable adults.

Consent to a CRC is mandatory. If an applicant or registrant refuses to provide consent, the College will not be able to register or renew their registration. Without registration, an individual cannot practise as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician in BC

What is the process for current registrants?

The process is as follows:

  1. All applicants applying for pre-registration and current registrants as part of the registration renewal process, are required to consent to and pay for a CRC.

  2. The information required for the CRC is forwarded to the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

  3. The Ministry runs the CRC against provincial data and RCMP information. If criminal records are found, they are examined to determine relevancy to physical, sexual or financial abuse.

  4. The College is informed when no relevant record is found.

  5. If a possible relevant record exists, the Ministry may request additional information from the applicant/registrant including providing fingerprints to the RCMP.

  6. The Ministry informs the College when a relevant record exists, but provides no other information about the record. The file is forwarded to the Deputy Registrar of the Criminal Records Review Program to determine the risk of sexual or physical abuse to children or physical, sexual or financial abuse to vulnerable adults.

  7. If the Deputy Registrar of the Criminal Records Review Program determines there is no risk to children or vulnerable adults, the College is informed.

  8. If the Deputy Registrar of the Criminal Records Review Program determines that a risk exists, the registrant, the College and the employer(s) are informed. The College will take action in accordance with the Registration/Inquiry and Disciplinary process outlined in the HPA.

  9. The registrant may appeal the decision of the Deputy Registrar of the Criminal Records Review Program. 

I just had a criminal record check done for employment or another organization (e.g. volunteer, schools, sports, events, or clubs). Will I require another?

Yes, all new applicants and current registrants must consent to a CRC. As specified in the Criminal Records Review Program the check must be done through the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. In addition to checking RCMP records, other records that are not usually part of a CRC by the RCMP (e.g., provincial and young offenders’ records) will be checked.

I am on the non-practicing pharmacist or pharmacy technician registration / student pharmacist registration category. Do I have to consent to a Criminal Record Check?

Yes, all registrants of the College must consent to an ongoing criminal record check at least once every 5 years.

How long will it take to do a Criminal Record Check?

If there are no relevant criminal records, the College is informed approximately 20 days after the authorization is submitted to the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. If there is a possible relevant record and fingerprints are required, it may be six months or more before the outcome is known. If you are applying for pre-registration, your application will be complete after the CRC is cleared. If you are renewing your registration, you will remain registered while the check is being processed.

Will I be told about the results of the Criminal Record Check?

You will only be notified by the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General directly if a possible relevant record is found.

What are relevant criminal records?

The Criminal Records Review Act lists relevant offences associated with physical and sexual abuse, including indecent acts, neglect, assault, trafficking in drugs and serious crimes. They are used as a basis to determine if a person presents a risk to children or vulnerable adults. Convictions related to provincial or minor criminal offences, not related to the protection of children or vulnerable adults, are not included. 

If I have a criminal record, who will have access to this information?

If you have a criminal record, but it is not relevant to the protection of children or vulnerable adults, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General does not release this information. If you have a relevant record the College is informed that there is a relevant record but no other information is provided. If the Deputy Registrar of the Criminal Records Review Program determines there is no risk to children or vulnerable adults, the College is informed of the Deputy Registrar’s decision and may request a copy of the written reasons for the decision. If the Deputy Registrar determines that a risk to children or vulnerable adults exists, the registrant, the College and the employer(s) are notified. The College would take action using existing Registration/Inquiry and Disciplinary procedures however; information would be protected as it falls within the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

Where do I find more information on the Criminal Record Check program?

For more information on the Criminal Record Check program, please visit the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General website: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/crime-prevention/criminal-record-check

How long does it take to process my pre-registration application?

Allow up to 20 business days to process your pre-registration application. Once completed, a confirmation letter will be sent to you. To avoid delays in processing, ensure that all your documents are complete. 

How long does it take to process my Full Pharmacist registration application?

Allow up to 5 business days to process your Full Pharmacist application. Once completed, your registration number will be emailed and a Certificate of Registration and registration wallet card will be mailed in 3 to 4 weeks. 

I am an International Pharmacy Graduate. How do I know if my pharmacy degree will be recognized for practice in Canada?

To ensure that your pharmacy degree will be recognized for practice in Canada, contact the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) to have your documents evaluated. Visit the PEBC website (www.pebc.ca) for more information.

Will you recognize the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalence Certification (FPGEC) from the US?

No, pharmacists who wish to practice in Canada are required to certify with the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC). Visit the PEBC website (www.pebc.ca) for more information.

How do I obtain a work permit?

The College is not responsible for providing advice regarding work permits. These questions should be directed to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (www.cic.gc.ca). 

How many hours of Structured Practical Training (SPT) are International Pharmacy Graduates required to complete?

International Pharmacy Graduates are required to complete 500 hours (3 months) of SPT. 

Can my previous work experience as a pharmacy intern/pharmacy technician/pharmacy assistant be applied towards a reduction in my SPT hours?

Previous experience as a pharmacy intern/pharmacy technician/pharmacy assistant cannot be applied towards your SPT hours. Only hours worked as a registered pharmacist in the U.S. or Canada can be considered.

Do I get paid for SPT?

Whether or not you are paid during your SPT, is an arrangement that is made between you and your site. UBC-OEE or the College is not involved in this arrangement.

Where can I find a testing centre for the English language Proficiency (ELP) test?

You may find testing centre locations on the following websites:

I am an International Pharmacy Graduate but English is my first language. Do I still have to take an English Language Proficiency (ELP) test?

Yes. According to the standards set by the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA), all pharmacists who have obtained their pharmacy degree outside of Canada or the U.S. are required to complete one of the approved ELP assessments. Refer to RCP–1 English Language Proficiency.

What scores do I need to meet the English Language Proficiency (ELP) requirements?

The ELP requirements can be found in RCP–1 English Language Proficiency.

You may compare your test scores to those listed in Appendix 1, under the “Minimum score with SEM” column. The College does not verify scores over the phone or by email. 

How should I provide you with my English test scores?

Place a request with the English language testing agency to send an official score report directly to the College of Pharmacists of BC. Copies of the score report submitted directly from the Applicant will not be accepted. Once the scores have been processed your results will be emailed. 

How do I arrange to write the Jurisprudence Exam outside of Vancouver?

If you wish to write the Jurisprudence Exam outside of Vancouver, there will be preselected cities that you can choose from when registering through eServices: Nanaimo, Kelowna, Prince George, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, and St. John’s. Information regarding the exact time and location of the sitting will be determined by the College and provided to you via email about one month prior to the date of the exam.

How should I study for the Jurisprudence Exam (JE)?

For information on what to study for the JE, view the JE information guide and orientation presentation on the College website: 

I am a first year UBC pharmacy student. When should I submit my student (UBC) registration application?

Your application should be received by the College office no later than September 1, before the start of your first year in the pharmacy program. 

Where can I obtain liability insurance to be a Full Pharmacist?

If you are already employed, you can confirm with your employer if liability insurance is provided, otherwise you may obtain it through an insurance broker or membership with the BC Pharmacy Association (http://www.bcpharmacy.ca). Please ensure the insurance provided meets all 3 criteria listed in the application form.

Do I have to become a regulated pharmacy technician?

No, becoming a regulated pharmacy technician is voluntary; however, regulation will restrict the title of’”pharmacy technician’ and therefore, those who choose not to become regulated, or are unsuccessful in becoming regulated, will no longer be able to refer to themselves as pharmacy technicians as of January 1, 2011 and will likely be called ‘pharmacy assistants’.

What is regulation/certification/registration?

‘Registration’, ‘Certification’ and ‘Regulation’ are different terms that are currently being used to describe the same thing:

  • Establishes a new ‘regulated healthcare professional'
  • Establishes a new member (registrant) with the College of Pharmacists of BC
  • Restricts the title ‘pharmacy technician’ effective January 1, 2011
  • Holds the ‘pharmacy technician’ responsible, accountable and liable for a specific scope of practice (job description)
When will ‘pharmacy technician’ become a restricted title?

The Ministry of Health (MOH) approved the restriction of the title ‘pharmacy technician’ (amendment) effective January 1, 2011. At the same time, the MOH approved the revised HPA Bylaws which was the final step in the approval process regarding the legislative authority to register pharmacy technicians as registrants of the College of Pharmacists of BC. 

What will my responsibilities be (Scope of Practice) as a regulated pharmacy technician?

Specifically, regulated pharmacy technicians will have independent authority, responsibility and liability (required by legislation to have liability insurance) to prepare, process and compound prescriptions, including:

  • Ensuring the accuracy of drug and personal health information in the PharmaNet patient record
  • Receiving and transcribing verbal prescriptions from practitioners (within the law)
  • Ensuring that a prescription is complete and authentic
  • Transferring prescriptions to and receiving prescriptions from other pharmacies (within the law)
  • Ensuring the accuracy of the drug preparation
  • Performing the final check of the drug preparation 

Pharmacists will continue however, to be involved in every new and refill prescription as they remain solely responsible for assessing the appropriateness of drug therapy (patient assessment, confirm dose and interval, check PharmaNet profile, and identify drug interactions) and for providing patient consultation. A prescription cannot be released to a patient without a pharmacist having performed these cognitive functions. 

If I am working in a pharmacy as a regulated pharmacy technician and I make an error, will I be held liable?

Yes, regulated pharmacy technicians are recognized as healthcare professionals under the HPA and as such are granted an expanded scope of practice which allows them to have independent authority and responsibility. Along with that comes liability for their actions in the preparation, processing and compounding of prescriptions. 

Will it be possible for a prescription (new or refill) to be released to a patient without a pharmacist involved in the process?

No. Pharmacists will continue to be involved in every new and refill prescription as they remain solely responsible for assessing the appropriateness of drug therapy (patient assessment, confirm dose and interval, check PharmaNet profile, and identify drug interactions) and for providing patient consultation. A prescription cannot be released to a patient without a pharmacist having performed these cognitive functions. 

Will there be a different class of regulated pharmacy technician registrant for hospital and community pharmacy?

No, the scope of practice for regulated pharmacy technicians is the same regardless of practice setting. There will only be one class of registrant with the College of Pharmacists of BC. This is consistent with the pharmacists’ structure. 

Is liability insurance required?

Yes, in accordance with legislation, all registrants of the College are required to carry professional liability insurance that meets the following criteria:

  • Provides a minimum of $2 million coverage.
  • Provides occurrence based coverage or claims made coverage with extended reporting period of at least 3 years.
  • If not in the pharmacists’ or regulated pharmacy technicians’ name, the group policy covers the pharmacist or pharmacy technician as an individual.
Will I be required to participate in the Professional Development and Assessment Program (Continuing Education and Assessment)?

Yes, as a registrant of the College of Pharmacists of BC, you are required by legislation, just as pharmacists are, to participate and successfully complete the Professional Development and Assessment Program (PDAP) which includes a continuing education component and an assessment component. 

What are the steps to regulation for pharmacy technicians?

In order to become a regulated pharmacy technician, current technicians will need to successfully complete the required steps outlined in Registration & Licensure.

Is it true that I am required to have a criminal record check?

Yes, in accordance with legislation, all current and new registrants of the College of Pharmacists of BC are required to consent to a criminal record check at least once every 5 years. It is a requirement of the Criminal Records Review Act and is applicable to current and new registrants of all professional regulatory bodies governed by the HPA. Additional information is available in the FAQ.

What is Structured Practical Evaluation (SPE)?

The Management of Drug Distribution Systems (MDDS) Bridging Program course will be followed by a Structured Practical Evaluation (SPE) to verify the learner’s ability to consistently perform accurate product release in the workplace (independent double check). The SPE is administered by the College of Pharmacists of BC. 

How do I know if I meet the minimum requirement of 2000 hours of ‘pharmacy practice’ in the past 3 years?

The PEBC website (http://pebc.ca/PharmacyTechnicians/index.html) defines what are acceptable pharmacy practice activities. Prior to sitting the PEBC Evaluating Exam or enrolling in the Bridging Program, technicians must provide documentation from their supervisor verifying that they meet this minimum requirement.

Is the Bridging Program mandatory?

Yes, the completion of the Bridging Program is required by all current technicians seeking regulation. For more information on the Bridging Program go to Registration & Licensure.

How long does the online Bridging Program take?

The structure for the online Bridging Program is designed to mirror the in-class Bridging Program in length. It is not intended to be an expedited means of completing the Bridging Program.

Why is the Professional Practice module in the Bridging Program mandatory and not eligible for Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR)?

As this is a new regulated profession and this course deals with the legal and ethical obligations of a regulated technician, technicians would have no prior experience or knowledge in this area, and therefore, it would not be possible to challenge it.

Is the PEBC Pharmacy Technician Evaluating Exam mandatory?

Yes, the completion of the PEBC Pharmacy Technician Evaluating Exam is required by all current technicians seeking regulation. Those who hold certification from either PTCB-AB (up to 2008) or OCP (up to 2008), or have successfully completed an accredited pharmacist degree program in Canada or in the continental United States, or have successfully complete the PEBC Pharmacist Evaluating Exam are exempt from completing the PEBC Pharmacy Technician Evaluating Exam as per PEBC policy, but are still required to complete the Bridging Program. 

How do I know what to study for the PEBC Pharmacy Technician Evaluating Exam?

For information on how to prepare for the PEBC Pharmacy Technician Evaluating Exam, please refer to the PEBC website.

What is the cost of the PEBC Pharmacy Technician Evaluating Exam?

Exam fees are set by PEBC and not by the College of Pharmacists of BC. Current fee information can be found on the PEBC website: www.pebc.ca.

How many opportunities do I have to pass the PEBC Pharmacy Technician Evaluating Exam?

Candidates are permitted a maximum of three (3) attempts for the PEBC Pharmacy Technician Evaluating Examination, with one, final (fourth) attempt available upon successful completion of remediation as specified by the PEBC Board. For more information please visit www.pebc.ca.

Do I need to take a Jurisprudence Exam (JE)?

Yes, the requirement to successfully complete a Jurisprudence Exam is consistent with the registration process for pharmacists and is designed to test relevant provincial and federal legislation and ethics which is not included on the national PEBC Qualifying Exam. 

What is the format of the PEBC Qualifying Exam?

The PEBC Qualifying Exam consists of two parts, which is consistent with the pharmacists’ exam:

Part 1: Written multiple choice question (MCQ) exam
Part 2: Performance based exam called an Objective Structured Performance Exam (OSPE)

For more information on the PEBC Qualifying Exams, please visit www.pebc.ca

When is the PEBC Qualifying Exam offered?

The PEBC Qualifying Exam is offered by PEBC nationally at key locations twice a year. For more information, including the Exam Schedule, please visit www.pebc.ca.

Can I sit the PEBC Qualifying Exam before completing the Bridging Program?

Yes, but it is not recommended. If you have successfully completed the PEBC Pharmacy Technician Evaluating Exam (or hold certification from PTCB-AB (up to 2008) or OCP (up to 2008), or have successfully completed a pharmacist degree program in Canada or in the United States, or have successfully completed the PEBC Pharmacist Evaluating Exam which exempts you from having to sit the PEBC Pharmacy Technician Evaluating Exam), you can choose to sit the PEBC Qualifying Exam prior to completing the Bridging Program, however, the College strongly recommends that you complete the Bridging Program first.

The content within the Bridging Program is specific to the expanded scope of practice for regulated pharmacy technicians and should therefore help technicians prepare for the PEBC Qualifying Exam. It is also important to note that successful completion of the PEBC Qualifying Exam does not exempt you from the Bridging Program. You must successfully complete all the required steps outlined on the College website prior to the College registering you as a regulated pharmacy technician.

As a ‘current pharmacy technician’, how long do I have to go through the process of regulation?

The ‘current pharmacy technician’ path is only available until 2015. In other words, current technicians utilizing this path must have completed all of the requirements and register with the College of Pharmacists of BC before December 31, 2015. It is intended to provide current technicians the opportunity to become regulated without having to go back to school full-time. After 2015, current technicians who wish to become regulated will have to take the steps described under the ‘future pharmacy technician’ path.

What are the steps to regulation for new to practice pharmacy technicians?

In order to become a regulated pharmacy technician, new to practice pharmacy technicians will need to successfully complete the required steps outlined on the College website.

Who determines which post-secondary programs are accredited?

The Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP), the same organization that accredits pharmacists’ university programs, is responsible for accrediting ‘regulated pharmacy technician’ programs in Canada. The accreditation process ensures that accredited programs contain the necessary content to teach the competencies (knowledge, skills and abilities) necessary for successful graduates to safely and effectively perform the job of a regulated pharmacy technician. See: http://www.ccapp-accredit.ca/index.php

When do I need to pre-register with the College?

Pre-registration with the College of Pharmacists of BC is required prior to starting the Structured Practical Training (SPT) for those new to practice. The application form for pre-registration is available on the College website.

Is it true that I am required to have a Criminal Record Check?

Yes, in accordance with legislation, all current and new registrants of the College of Pharmacists of BC are required to consent to a criminal record check at least once every 5 years. It is a requirement of the Criminal Records Review Act and is applicable to current and new registrants of all professional regulatory bodies governed by the HPA. Additional information is available on the College's FAQ.

Why do I need to take Structured Practical Training (SPT)?

Once a student has graduated from a CCAPP Accredited Program, the next step is to successfully complete the Structured Practical Training (SPT) program; a supervised competency based training period within a pharmacy that includes regular assessment by a pharmacist or another regulated pharmacy technician. SPT provides the student an opportunity to apply the knowledge, skillls and abilities they learned in their training program to practice, in a supervised environment. The College of Pharmacists of BC has partnered with UBC’s Office of Experiential Education (OEE) to administer the SPT (Note: Pre-registration as a Pharmacy Technician with the College of Pharmacists of BC is required prior to registering for the SPT). The Application for Pre-Registration is available on the College website.

Why do I need to take a Jurisprudence Exam?

The requirement to successfully complete a Jurisprudence Exam is consistent with the registration process for pharmacists and is designed to test relevant provincial and federal legislation and ethics which is not included on the national PEBC Qualifying Exam. The Jurisprudence exam is administered by the College of Pharmacists of BC and is available on the College's website.

How do I order a replacement registration certificate?

To order a replacement registration certificate please go to eServices > Online Shop.

How do I order a certificate of standing?

To order a certificate of standing please go to eServices > Online Shop.