Pharmacy U

New report: Community pharmacies make significant contributions to Canada’s economy

The community pharmacy sector generated more than $16 billion in economic activity and supported nearly 250,000 jobs in Canada in 2016, according to a new series of reports by The Conference Board of Canada.



“Community pharmacies provide health services to Canadians in a convenient retail setting, which contributes to improved individual and population health and creates efficiencies for the broader health care system. Beyond that, community pharmacy makes significant contributions to Canada’s services sector supporting a substantial number of jobs and economic activity,” said Thy Dinh, Director, Health Economics and Policy, The Conference Board of Canada.


  • With nearly 10,500 community pharmacies in Canada, the total economic footprint of the sector is estimated at $16.1 billion in GDP and 247,100 jobs.
  • The pharmacy sector generated a combined $1.68 billion in fiscal benefits to all levels of government in 2016.
  • The direct economic output of the pharmacy sector in Canada is comparable to the motor vehicle manufacturing sector.

The Pharmacist in Your Neighbourhood: Economic Footprint of Canada’s Community Pharmacy Sector examines the portion of economic activity, employment, and labour income linked to Canada’s community pharmacy sector and provides a national overview and individual profiles tailored to each province.

With nearly 10,500 community pharmacies in Canada, the economic footprint of the sector is estimated at $16.1 billion in GDP and 247,100 jobs nationally. In addition, the national report estimates that the sector generated about $5.8 billion in labour income for those employed in the sector, and a combined $1.68 billion in annual tax revenues for federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments in 2016.

Pharmacy’s economic contributions in Canada’s largest provinces were significant. In Ontario, the contributions were an estimated $6.3 billion and over 94,000 jobs in 2016. Following closely behind were Quebec and Alberta, where GDP contributions are estimated at $2.9 billion and $2.6 billion respectively. In British Columbia, the sector supported over 27,000 jobs and contributed $1.9 billion to the provincial economy.

In most other provinces, GDP contributions from community pharmacy ranged between $580 million to $320 million, with employment between 9,900 to 5,000. Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island, has 49 community pharmacies which contributed just over $72 million to the economy and supported 1,500 jobs.

Although pharmacy’s economic contributions were larger in the most populated provinces, there were discernible differences in the importance of pharmacy to the health sector within each province. For instance, New Brunswick’s pharmacy sector is responsible for 11.2 per cent of the province’s overall health sector, while in Quebec that share is closer to 5.9 per cent.

This interactive dashboard provides an overview of the findings. The reports were funded by the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada and the Canadian Pharmacists Association.