Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply for a pharmacy practice residency program?

Programs may have differences with regard to eligibility requirements and entrance criteria. For example, many programs consider applications only from Canadian citizens and permanent resident status legally entitled to work in Canada. Registration with the CPRB Pharmacy Residency Application Matching Service (PRAMS) is a requirement for application to accredited programs outside Québec.

Programs may require that applicants meet one or more of the following eligibility requirements:

  • Have graduated from a pharmacy education program accredited by the Canadian Council for the Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP);
  • Hold a current license to practice pharmacy, or be eligible for licensure as a pharmacist within a set time period after starting the residency program (e.g. evidence of having successfully challenged the PEBC Qualifying Examination Parts I & II, as well as Language Competence Evaluation may be required);
  • Have never been expelled from a pharmacy practice residency program;
  • Have never been denied employment at a facility of the health region in which the residency is offered;
  • Have never been denied licensure as a pharmacist or pharmacy intern in any jurisdiction;
  • Become a registered student at a University affiliated with the residency program.

What are the benefits of a pharmacy residency program? 

Through structured rotations in pharmacy practice, education, research and administration, residency programs aim to prepare pharmacists for challenging and innovating pharmacy practice. Graduate residents are an important source of practitioners. Many employers list residency training as a preferred qualification for clinical practice.

Who offers pharmacy residency programs in Canada?

Hospitals or hospital regions offer most pharmacy practice residency opportunities in Canada. The Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists Web Page has the most complete and current information about opportunities that are available. Go to: https://cshp.ca/residency-programs and follow the links to Residency Programs for a complete listing of accredited programs and accreditation-pending programs.

How do I find out what kind of training the program offers?

Each residency program offers a different mix of experiences and preceptors. CPRB-Accredited programs and accreditation-pending programs must meet Standards for teaching and program content. Think about what you want to achieve by completing a residency, then compare the programs to see which ones best fit your career path. The CSHP web page is an excellent resource to use when comparing program offerings and requirements. Program information can be found on the CSHP website at https://cshp.ca/residency-programs.

Other things you might want to consider when comparing programs include:

  1. How much choice of rotations and preceptors will you have?
  2. How many preceptors are there?
  3. How much experience do they have?
  4. What does the research project entail?
  5. What are the resident's work requirements?
  6. What have former graduates of the residency program accomplished during their program and in the first one to five years after they completed the program?
  7. Can the program provide contact information for current or former residents, so you can ask questions about experiences they had while a resident in the program?
  8. How many residents have withdrawn from the program before completing it? What were their reasons for withdrawing?
  9. What was the result of the most recent CPRB Accreditation Survey?

When should I start working on the application process?

You must register with the CPRB Pharmacy Residency Application Matching Service (PRAMS) to be considered for placement in an accredited program. Get more information about the Application and Matching Service, from the CSHP website.

Can I apply to programs in more than one province?

Yes, the PRAMS creates a single application portal for accredited or accreditation-pending programs offered in all provinces except Quebec.

The identity of all programs to which you have applied will be disclosed to those programs. Only programs to which you have applied will have access to that information and your application.

How many positions are available?

The number of positions available varies from year to year and from program to program. Information about available positions can be found on the CSHP website at https://cshp.ca/residency-programs.

Is there a maximum number of programs an applicant can apply to?

No, you can apply to as many programs as you wish, however the $200 fee only covers you to apply to 8 programs; additional programs you apply to will cost $25 per program and if you apply to BC programs a one-time additional fee of $50 will apply.

What about stipends, support, licensing, liability insurance and student loan deferral?

Programs may vary with regard to:

  • How the program is administered (e.g. is the program run privately by a hospital or region, or is it a program of a University; do you need to pay “student fees” while in the program);
  • The dollar value of and terms and conditions associated with the residency stipend;
  • Other types of support available to pharmacy residents (e.g. access to computers, parking, lab coats, pagers, photocopying, library & shared or dedicated office space, casual hours of work, health benefits, amount of financial support for education leave/conference attendance, employment skills coaching, unionization, assistance with relocation expense, and post-residency employment incentives, etc.);
  • The need to be licensed as a pharmacist during or by a set time after starting the program;
  • Liability insurance coverage (e.g. at the residency home site, when you train at sites other than your home site), and;
  • Student Loan payment deferral options.

Seek current information about licensing and exam costs from the Registrar of the pharmacy regulatory authority in the province where the program is located. This is because costs and requirements for licensing will become important if you decide to remain in that province or transfer to another province after the residency, or if you want to seek casual hours of work to supplement your stipend. If you have not successfully challenged the PEBC Qualifying Examination, seek further information about the Qualifying Exam at http://www.pebc.ca

Do I submit a cover letter tailored for each program?

No, there is no cover letters permitted and no ability to upload any pdfs other than transcripts.

What else will I need to complete the application process?

University transcripts

  • University transcripts must be included with all applications. These are submitted by the applicant via the PRAMS in PDF format.

You are also required to have references from three individuals. You will enter each of your selected references into PRAMS which will automatically send an electronic reference form for them to complete. It is a good idea to contact your references in advance to confirm expectations. Be sure to select referees who know you well and who will comply with the application program’s deadline!

What is the deadline to apply to programs?

The application deadline is October 16, 2017 at midnight (12 a.m.) PST.

I’m worried that I may not get a position. Shouldn’t I rank highest the program that I think will rank me high?

Both applicants and programs should make their rank order lists based solely on their true preferences. The likelihood of receiving an offer from a program, or acceptance of an offer by an applicant, should not be considered when listing preferences on a rank order list. Both programs and applicants could potentially lose the opportunity to be matched to a true preference.

Will I know how programs rank me? Can I view the program’s ranking?

No, programs and applicants will never know each other’s rankings. This confidentiality will encourage all parties to rank their true preferences, resulting in the best match for both applicants and programs.

What is the deadline to rank programs to which I have applied?

The ranking deadline is January 8, 2018 at midnight (12 a.m.) PST.

How competitive is it to get a position?

It is competitive to enter a residency program. However, at present about half of all Pharmacy Residency Application Matching Service (PRAMS) applicants are matched to a program. This happens because candidates apply to more than one program. You may wish to contact the program coordinator for programs that you are interested in for information about competition for residency positions and additional factors that should guide your decision to apply to a program.

Am I bound by the match?

Once the match has occurred, and you are matched to a program, that program has “lost out” on all subsequent potential applicants that it has ranked. Thus, if you then choose not to do a residency program, the program to which you were matched is significantly disadvantaged in acquiring “the next best match”. While exceptional circumstances do occur, your decision to decline a residency position should be carefully considered.

What if I want to do a residency program in Québec?

The Université Laval and University of Montreal both offer university-based, clinical Masters Programs that are accredited by the CPRB. The application process for each of these programs is facilitated by the respective universities (applicants do NOT use the PRAMS).

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