A National Examination Board is Legal

The brief reasons in Aljawhiri v Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada, 2017 ONSC 2609 belie its significance. A candidate failed four times for the national pharmacy examination. The rules did not permit a fifth sitting. The Divisional Court rejected the argument that a federal Act permitting a body to administer an entry-to-practice examination infringed on provincial legislative authority:

We do not agree that the Act creating the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada was ultra vires Parliament because it does not purport to regulate the profession. The Act merely authorizes the Board to create and administer an examination for qualification of pharmacists across Canada which provincial licensing bodies may use if they wish to but are not obliged to.

The Court also dismissed the submission that the rule limiting additional attempts was a reviewable statutory decision:

We find that limiting the number of times a person can write the examination is nothing more than establishing the terms and conditions of the examination as s. 11(c) of the Act permits. It does not result in any regulation of the profession by restricting entry into the profession. It is the provincial licensing bodies that make those decisions. Accordingly the creation of the attempt limit is not ultra vires the statute.

Of course, it is not that such limits can never be challenged. Rather, they would have to be challenged within the registration process for the particular profession.

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