ST. JOHN’S–Pharmacists in Newfoundland make significantly less than their counterparts in other provinces, according to the first ever wage and benefits survey by the Newfoundland Pharmaceutical Association (NPhA).

One reason for the lower Newfoundland salaries is the government’s $5 dispensing fee, which is the lowest in Canada, says NPhA secretary-registrar Don Rowe. He expects wages to improve over the short term, in response to the pharmacist shortage.

Among the survey findings:

  • A non-owner manager with more than 21 years on the job earned $24.50 an hour, compared with $27.88 in Nova Scotia. A 1998 Alberta survey found the average was $26.68 in that province.
  • For full-time retail pharmacists with 11-15 years of service, the rate was $23.12, compared with $26.01 in Nova Scotia, and $25.55 in Alberta.
  • Retails pharmacy owners worked an average of 42.8 hours per week, while full-time pharmacist were on the job 39.7 hours.
  • The “typical” Newfoundland pharmacist is a 25-to 34-year-old woman working 40 to 44 hours a week in retail pharmacy. With six to 10 years of experience, she’s been at her current job for one to five years.

Data was analyzed for the NPhA by the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia (PANS), which has been conducting its own annual survey for several years. Later this year, pharmacists in the four Maritime provinces will receive a PANS-developed questionnaire that will produce the first-ever Atlantic picture of the profession.