I.D.E.A.L Bioscience Employer Recognition Program

Incorporating IDEA principles into the workforce and across the bio-economy is critical for the industry to meeting current and future staffing needs.

Adopting and promoting inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility means more opportunities for equity-deserving groups to bring their expertise into the sector and propel Canadian innovation forward.

Evaluation Criteria:

Biotechnology organizations both large and small can apply for the I.D.E.A.L. Bioscience Employer Recognition Program.

Applicants are evaluated on the following IDEA principles and best practices:

  • Alignment of IDEA to the vision, values, strategies and outcomes of the organization.
  • Leadership accountability for IDEA.
  • Measurement and assessment of the organization’s current IDEA efforts.
  • The priority the organization places on IDEA learning and awareness.
  • How the organization prioritizes inclusive talent management practices.
  • Efforts put forward by the organization to create a culture of belonging.
  • An organization’s efforts to engage with external stakeholders such as community, clients and suppliers.

Background:

A commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility is not just a moral imperative but a strategic advantage in the bio-economy.

The I.D.E.A.L. Bioscience EmployerTM Recognition Program is a BioTalent Canada initiative dedicated to celebrating organizations at the forefront of fostering Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) within the dynamic Canadian bio-economy.

The I.D.E.A.L. Bioscience EmployerTM Recognition Program recognizes — and applauds — organizations that are not just embracing but actively implementing principles of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility. This program hopes to inspire and motivate other players in the bio-economy to follow suit, creating a more vibrant and inclusive landscape for the future of biotechnology.

Participation in the I.D.E.A.L. Bioscience EmployerTM Recognition Program positions your organization among industry leaders, signalling your dedication to creating a workplace that thrives on diversity and inclusivity.

Last year’s recipients exemplified a commitment to IDEA principles, showcasing the positive impact such values have on the bio-economy. Those employers include:

I.D.E.A.L Recipients 2023-2024

Recipients of the 2023-24 I.D.E.A.L. Bioscience Employer Recognition Program include the following organizations (listed alphabetically):

 

AgriTech North: This organization based in Dryden, Ontario focuses on reducing food costs in northern Indigenous communities, holds daily discussions and learnings on IDEA topics, and is led by a chief executive who is Indigenous and differently abled.

 

Amino Labs North: Amino Labs aims to empower the next generation by making biotechnology engaging and accessible. Their commitment to incorporating Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) into its business is a fundamental aspect of the organizational DNA. This commitment to IDEA enhances Amino Labs North’s business resiliency, capacity to innovate, and overall competitiveness in Canada’s biotechnology landscape.

 

Aruna Revolution Health Inc: A trailblazer in positive environmental and societal impact, Aruna Revolution has made IDEA a cornerstone of its identity. The leadership team consistently communicates the importance of IDEA through multiple internal channels and ensures every member of the team understands the integral role IDEA plays in its organization’s ethos.

 

BioCanRx: Canada’s Immunotherapy Network’s vision is to turn all cancers into curable diseases. Their committment to IDEA shines through in a comprehensive equity, diversity, and inclusion action plan which covers policies, training, internship/sponsorship opportunities and reporting mechanisms to ensure a safe and equitable network.

 

Charles River Laboratories: This biotechnology research company invests in ongoing measurement and assessment of its Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility initiatives. The data collected is not only used to inform and update strategies and action plans but is also reported regularly to both internal and external stakeholders.

 

Health Cities: Health Cities is focused on improving healthcare for all Canadians. Health Cities actively integrates IDEA principles into its daily operations, emphasizing the importance of diversity and inclusion in decision-making processes. The alignment of IDEA with the mission and goals of Health Cities demonstrates a strategic and ongoing effort to incorporate equity and accessibility into the core of its work.

 

INTREPID Lab (CAMH): INTREPID Lab at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto includes IDEA principles in its organizational charter. It also puts IDEA principles at the centre of the programs it offers to the public and consults with staff to develop their culture and values.

 

Life Sciences Ontario (LSO): A Toronto not-for-profit that advances Ontario life sciences, LSO runs an internal/external committee focused on inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility leadership, and incorporates those principles into its strategic planning. The committee is comprised of members of the LSO board and external experts in IDEA.

 

Neuraura Biotech Inc: Neuraura is a seed-stage medical technology company based out of Calgary. Neuraura demonstrates a commitment to IDEA at the leadership level. The organization is led by individuals who are themselves first-generation immigrants, highlighting a dedication to diversity and opportunities for individuals from diverse backgrounds.

 

Northern RNA: Northern RNA is a Canadian Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization focused on end-to-end supply of nucleic acid products. Northern RNA has established a DEI feedback group composed of leaders and employees, which contributes valuable feedback to executives, helping identify gaps and areas for improvement.

 

Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR): OICR brings together people from across the province and around the world to improve the lives of those affected by cancer. The organization has implemented an EDI learning program, collaborating with organizations like the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health, and others.

 

Raft Brew Labs: Situated in Calgary, Alberta, Raft Brew Labs uses biotechnology to bolster small beverage producers in Canada and has created an inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility handbook through one-on-one conversations with team members and offers incentives to increase those principles among employees.

Savyn Tech: Savyn is a Toronto-based digital trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder therapy platform using neuroscience and evidence-based therapy protocols. The company emphasizes ongoing training for its employees on recognizing and understanding IDEA principles, with participation in webinars, courses, and discussions.

 

Shift Health: Shift Health is a boutique life sciences consultancy that brings a science mindset to strategy consulting for the health research and innovation ecosystem. The organization has a vision for “an innovative and equitable healthcare future created with, by and for everyone,” demonstrating its belief that IDEA is integral to the future of healthcare.

 

STEMCELL Technologies: STEMCELL Technologies is a private biotechnology company based in Vancouver. IDEA principles have sat at the heart of STEMCELL Technologies’ operations for years. Gender parity has been the norm, with 57% of all employees identifying as female, showcasing a commitment to diversity from the early stages.

Industry impact stories

Several companies in the biotech sector have incorporated IDEA principles into their best practices. The following stories highlight these companies and their efforts to create a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable workforce.

Shift Health: An inclusive future is a community effort that starts at home

STEMCELL Technologies: How IDEA principles became embedded in one company’s DNA

Origin Materials: Making inclusivity a standard business practice

AgriTech North: Inclusion And Diversity Are Woven Into AgriTech North’s DNA 

Raft Brew Labs: Supporting The Local Community Through IDEA Principals

BioCanRX: Diversity Is A Continuous Journey

Origin Materials: Creating a culture of belonging: Origin Materials’ Inclusion Revolution

Aruna Revolution Health: Leading the charge in bioscience diversity and inclusion

Savyn Tech: Savyn is taking a journey of empathy and innovation in mental health  

Additional Resources

The following resources focus on strengthening IDEA principles in the workplace and fostering an equitable workforce free from discrimination. These resources can be used as benchmarking tools for companies considering applying for recognition under the program.