According to a recent national region-by-region research, Canada’s bio-economy will require nearly 65,000 additional workers by the end of this decade, and businesses will face challenges filling positions due to a highly competitive job market.
Internationally Educated Professionals (IEPs) and recent immigrants could help bridge the gap, according to a national report by BioTalent Canada, which advises bio-economy stakeholders. “Newcomers to Canada, with valuable skills, can quickly enter the workforce bringing their diverse perspectives to help access new markets and contribute to solutions,” states the report.
However, IEPs and recent immigrants presently make up a small percentage of the bio-economy population. BioTalent Canada is proposing a subsidized scheme for immigrants to lessen the potential risk of recruiting new Canadians, as well as new avenues to integrate the talent of overseas students and IEPs into the labour market, to meet the skills needed in the bio-economy by 2029.
They’re among the primary findings in the regional findings, as well as a national study released last autumn, which dissects the present landscape, trends, problems, and possibilities in Canada’s economy. “The economic activity related with the discovery, development, manufacture, and usage of principally bio-based products, bio-based production methods, and/or biotechnology-based intellectual property,” according to the report.
According to the report, “approximately 12,000 organizations in Canada’s bio-economy (employed) around 200,000 individuals in 2019.” Bio-health, bio-energy, bio-agriculture (agri-bio), and bio-industrial (chemicals and materials) are all sub-sectors of the field, making it interdisciplinary.
“The industry has to develop new strategies focused on breaking down barriers to entry for recent immigrants, Indigenous workers, and workers with disabilities — all of whom are seriously under-represented in the bio-economy today,” said BioTalent president and CEO Rob Henderson.
According to the analysis of Ontario and a report on the Greater Toronto Area that goes along with it — the region will need another 24,500 bio-economy jobs by 2029, and the existing talent stream is three-quarters empty.
As per the report, women make up about one-third (35%) of bio-economy jobs in Ontario. Other categories are underrepresented, with IEPs accounting for 17% of the bio-economy workforce and recent immigrants (those in Canada for less than five years) accounting for 9%.
“We also want to support programs that encourage Canadian students to pursue this highly competitive career,” said Tucker, whose firm collaborates with researchers, biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical companies, and governments to develop and commercialize a variety of experimental and commercialized treatments.
The Western Canada report, which includes British Columbia and Alberta, as well as a related analysis on Metro Vancouver, both declare that the region’s pipeline is inadequately stocked to satisfy demand. “It is likely that Western Canada’s biotech industry will lack 18,800 bio-economy workers by 2029, and current estimates indicate there will not be enough workers to meet labour needs,” the report states.
Western Canada is home to 28% of Canada’s bio-economy, with over 3,800 enterprises — mostly small and medium-sized businesses — employing over 48,000 people in 2019. The co-founder and CEO Handol Kimm of Variational AI, a Vancouver-based start-up whose cutting-edge machine-learning platform develops novel and optimized compounds and has the potential to reduce preclinical medication development time from years to months.
According to the research, the bio-economy in Atlantic Canada will probably require 3,300 additional jobs by 2029; Quebec will require 15,500 extra workers, and the Prairies will likely require 3,400 additional people over the next ten years. The bio-economy encompasses “the exploitation of resources from agriculture, forestry, fisheries/aquaculture, organic waste, and aquatic biomass,” according to the report. And its “sub-sectors have a common objective: the commercialization of ensuing bio-products, processes, and/or intellectual property.”