Information for Applicants

Am I required to do PACE?

If you are applying to be a pharmacist in Ontario, you will be required to successfully complete PACE unless you:

  • Graduated from the entry level doctorate of pharmacy degree program at the University of Toronto or Waterloo
  • Are currently licensed and practising as a pharmacist in another Canadian province

Please see the pharmacist registration pathways and review the one that best describes you. The steps of each pathway are listed in sequence; information about what must be completed before you may move to the next step or requirements that may be met earlier in your registration process is provided in the pathways.

Please review these documents before contacting the College to ask about PACE and your registration process.

Why don’t Ontario university pharmacy graduates have to do PACE?

The assessment tool used for PACE is the same as the one used throughout the fourth year clinical rotations to assess entry level doctorate of pharmacy degree program students at the universities of Toronto and Waterloo. Graduates from these programs have already demonstrated the same performance expectations as PACE candidates, and therefore have met the College’s practice-based registration requirement.

Who assesses me?

Select pharmacists who meet the Assessor Criteria will be trained and appointed by the College to be PACE assessors. To ensure an objective and independent assessment, the assessor must not have any prior relationship with you.

How do I get ready for PACE?

To prepare for PACE, you should review the material on the PACE pages of the College’s website, particularly the Candidate Tool Kit for PACE and the embedded resources. This online Self Assessment Tool has been created to help you decide if you are ready for PACE. You may complete it at any time as you prepare for PACE. Reflecting on your responses in the Self Assessment Tool and understanding the explanation of the answers will help you determine what other preparation or practice may be required before you apply for PACE.

During PACE, you are expected to already be comfortable practising in the scope of the profession and with drug distribution processes. To prepare to practise, you should review the College’s Practice Tools and e-Learning Modules. Please note that working or volunteering as a pharmacy assistant does not entitle you to practise in the scope of the profession. To practise and to attempt PACE, you must be currently registered as a pharmacy student or intern (depending on your registration pathway) with the College.

How do I find an assessor?

In the online application for PACE, you can choose the city in which you would like to complete your assessment and select a practice site address where a PACE assessor practices. To ensure an objective and independent assessment, you must choose a site at which you have not worked or volunteered, and where you have no prior relationship with the staff. If you or the assessor recognizes that you have a previously established relationship with each other, you must choose another practice site and assessor.

What do I do during my PACE?

Your PACE begins with a one week (i.e., 35 hours) orientation to the practice site, followed by 70 hours of assessment on either a two-week full-time or three-week part-time basis. During the assessment period of your PACE, you will be expected to work to your full scope of practice, demonstrating to your assessor that you are ready to practise as a pharmacist in a safe, effective, and independent manner. Activities that you are expected to perform during PACE include, but are not limited to:

  • Interpreting, preparing, and processing prescriptions (including technical and therapeutic verification),
  • Counselling patients,
  • Solving drug therapy problems,
  • Providing recommendations,
  • Managing workflow,
  • Dealing with a practice issue,
  • Interacting with pharmacy staff and other healthcare professionals, and
  • Performing various cognitive services including MedsChecks, Pharmaceutical Opinions, and adapting/extending/initiating prescriptions

Candidates who have registered their injection training with the College may perform injections as opportunities arise. However, this is not a requirement for PACE.

During the assessment period, you must also submit a minimum of 50 practice journal entries describing different practice opportunities you had encountered in PACE. For each journal entry, you will provide a brief summary of the situation that occurred, followed by the steps you personally took to resolve it. The situations documented in your practice journal must be true interactions that occurred during your assessment. Journal entries should be varied and demonstrate one or more elements of the assessment criteria. Your assessor will review your practice journal entries during your assessment period, and at the end of your PACE to help them complete their assessment of your performance. Examples of Practice Journal entries are available in the Candidate Tool Kit for your review.

How will I be assessed?

Your performance will be assessed by a PACE assessor according to the PACE Assessment Criteria. The assessor will complete a validated assessment tool based on their observations of your performance and submit it to the College. A standardized scoring rubric will be applied to the assessor’s ratings to determine if you have successfully demonstrated your readiness to safely and independently practice as a pharmacist, or if additional development is required.

What will happen if I am not successful in my PACE attempt?

If the assessment determines that you did not demonstrate readiness for practice as a pharmacist, you will receive a performance profile that identifies the relative strengths and weaknesses in your competence. College staff will work with you to create a self-directed learning action plan to address the areas in which development is needed.

You will then need to find an appropriate practice site and coaching pharmacist to supervise and support the implementation of the plan. You are expected to engage in development until all of the goals of the plan have been fulfilled before you may be reassessed by a different PACE assessor at another practice site. PACE must be successfully completed to meet the College’s practice-based registration requirement.

What type of insurance do I need if I am completing PACE on an unpaid basis?

In addition to the Personal Professional Liability Insurance that is a registration requirement for all members of the College, you should arrange for your own student accident insurance (sometimes called accidental death and dismemberment or AD&D insurance). An assessor may refuse to allow you to complete PACE in their practice site if you do not have this type of insurance.

Volunteers are not covered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). You may wish to check with your liability insurance provider or other insurance carriers for their products that are comparable to WSIB. The College does not endorse any particular insurance carrier.