IEC-BC’s Program Helps Transition Skilled Newcomers into Canada’s Biotech Workplace

Immigrants to Canada can now get a head start in preparing for their careers in their new homeland – before even landing here.

The most common skills internationally educated professionals (IEPs) possess coincide with the skills most needed by Canada’s bio-economy, according to Paving the Way, a recent labour market report by BioTalent Canada.

However, despite over half of the IEPs surveyed in the report (56.8%) indicated having worked in biotechnology prior to immigrating to Canada, with two-thirds (67.6%) holding at least a master’s degree, 69.2% did not gain employment in Canada’s bio-economy.

There is a need to better connect skilled immigrants to jobs in Canada’s bio-economy. Especially when over half (52.9%) of biotech employers across the country are experiencing skills shortages, according to BioTalent Canada’s labour market report, Sequencing the Data.

The fact that many talented newcomers continue to have their skills and experience overlooked by hiring managers in Canada’s bio-economy is an issue that the Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC) is looking to address.

With the expansion of FAST (FASTBC.ORG), a free online program developed by the IEC-BC, IEPs working in biotechnology and life sciences now have access to job preparation training and employer connections.

The Skilled Immigrant Gap

While skilled immigrants play a vital role in filling the demand for labour, they do face significant barriers. Unfamiliarity with Canadian workplace culture, lack of credential recognition, as well as limited insights into the Canadian context of their profession are prime challenges to gaining employment.

More importantly, the need for “cultural fit” is a crucial element for employers hiring newcomers.

Bridging the Gap

FAST enables IEPs who are currently overseas to become better equipped to enter the Canadian workforce and meet employers’ needs.

Bridging the existing knowledge and culture gaps through technology, FAST focuses on orienting immigrants on Canadian workplace culture, expectations at work, and essential skills in the industry.

Designed in partnership with BioTalent Canada, the FAST biotech online learning module features tailored content, which includes industry- and occupation-specific information, enabling professionals to get acquainted with the nuances of Canadian biotechnology and life sciences sector better.

Currently, over 200 participants use FAST. Through a free and user-friendly database, registered employers can access talent profiles of skilled workers and professionals who have completed the online learning modules.

Eligible skilled immigrants in biotech and life sciences can sign up for FAST services and resources through or by email at [email protected]. To check if you qualify, click here.

About IEC-BC


The Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC) is a not-for-profit organization that provides BC employers with solutions, tools and resources they need to attract, hire and retain qualified immigrant talent. We believe that the successful integration of skilled newcomers into the BC labour force is critical to both their success and the province’s long-term economic performance. We work with employers, government, and other partner stakeholders to ensure that BC employers can effectively integrate global talent.

Newsletter Issue:
HR Microscope July/August 2017