Immigrate To Canada As A Pharmacy Assistant: All You Need To Know

Immigrate To Canada As A Pharmacy Assistant: All You Need To Know
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There are hundreds of jobs for pharmacy assistants going begging for a want of qualified workers to fill them in Canada, providing opportunities for foreign nationals to gain their permanent residence here through occupation-targeted Express Entry system draws.

With Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) changing Canada’s Express Entry system to allow it to target 82 jobs in healthcare, technology, trades, transport and agriculture this summer – including pharmacy technical assistants and pharmacy assistants – it opened the door to a new pathway to immigration for them.

Job Bank, the federal government’s job-hunting and career-planning website, listed 267 pharmacy aide jobs in Canada in early November. In Alberta, there were 67 jobs for these workers and another 61 in Quebec.

Canada’s biggest province, Ontario, had 54 job openings for pharmacy aides, British Columbia had 39 and Saskatchewan another 30.

The job prospects of pharmacy aides, also called pharmacy assistants or pharmacy technical assistants and categorized under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 system with the code 33103, are ranked as very good, Job Bank’s highest rating, for the Prairie provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba over the coming three years.

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The job prospects of these workers are ranked as good in Alberta, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario and the Yukon and moderate in Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and British Columbia during the same time frame.

“The aging population and the rising need for long-term care is projected to put further pressure on the demand for health services assistants,” notes the Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS) website.

“The growing number of seniors will continue to increase the need for hospital, nursing home, and long-term care centre services where these workers provide front-line services.”

In May this year, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) made all of these workers eligible for immigration to Canada Express Entry occupation-targeted draws.


The flagship Express Entry selection system had previously only conducted draws based on immigration programs, not by targeting specific occupations.

“Everywhere I go, I’ve heard loud and clear from employers across the country who are experiencing chronic labour shortages,” said then-Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.

“These changes to the Express Entry system will ensure that they have the skilled workers they need to grow and succeed.  We can also grow our economy and help businesses with labour shortages while also increasing the number of French-proficient candidates to help ensure the vitality of French-speaking communities.”

In Canada, the median hourly wage for pharmacy aides is  $21 but that varies from a low of $15 right up to $28, reveals Job Bank.

Pharmacy Aides Can Earn Up To $54,600 Annually In Canada

Based on a 37.5-hour work week, that means a pharmacy aide can expect to earn up to $54,600 annually in Canada.

Candidates hoping to immigrate through Express Entry occupation-targeted draws need at least six months of continuous work experience in Canada or abroad within the past three years in one of these occupations to be eligible, experience that can have been gained while working in Canada as temporary foreign workers with a work permits or as an international student with a student visa.

Under the changes announced at the end of May, the Express Entry streams, including the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program, Federal Skilled Trades (FST) program and Canadian Experience Class (CEC), as well as parts of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) are now more responsive to labour market needs.

Canada first signalled its intention to start occupation-specific draws through Express Entry in June last year, when changes were made to the Immigration, Refugee and Protection Act to allow invitations based on occupations and other attributes, such as language ability.

The majority of Canada’s provinces have been issuing occupation-specific invitations for several years.

Under the changes to the act, the immigration minister is required to consult provinces and territories, members of industry, unions, employers, workers, worker advocacy groups, settlement provider organizations, and immigration researchers and practitioners, before announcing new categories.

IRCC must also report to parliament each year on the categories that were chosen and the reason for the choices.

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) says the number of occupations facing shortages doubled between 2019 and 2021. From 2018 to 2022, federal high skilled admissions accounted for between 34 and 40 per cent of overall French-speaking admissions outside Quebec, which manages its own immigration intake.

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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.