Bio-economy Report Indicates Wage Subsidy Programs Play Important Economic Role

OTTAWA, March 28, 2017 – BioTalent Canada’s labour market report: Opening the Door II, outlining national youth employment trends in Canada’s biotechnology sector was released today, providing insight into quantitative and qualitative benefits provided by wage subsidy programs to both new graduates and bio-economy employers.

This follow-up report to the original version released in 2015 expands on the previous report’s data, highlighting participant and employer information since 2013. It provides a profile of the average new graduate (who received a wage subsidy through the program): a three in five chance of being female, average of 25 years old with a bachelor’s degree.

Along with identifying a profile of new graduates entering the bio-economy, conclusions garnered from the report’s larger dataset include:

  1. Gender wage disparities appear to persist.

The average female program participant typically earned approximately $1,600 per year less than the average male participant.

  1. Regional disparities in youth employment within biotechnology should be explored.

The notion that wage subsidy programs may favour Ontario companies should be clarified to ensure full participation from all segments of the bio-economy across the country and equal distribution of federal benefits.

  1. Hiring practices of visible minorities by specific sub-sectors could be replicated by the rest of the bio-economy.

Specific sub-sectors within the bio-economy, open to hiring young workers, also appear more open to hiring visible minorities at more competitive wages. Further investigation is needed to uncover how to replicate this more broadly across Canada’s bio-economy, which has increasingly become less diverse.

The Career Focus program on which the new report is based is funded by the federal government’s Youth Employment Strategy Program.  BioTalent Canada has managed the wage subsidy program since 2005, successfully placing over 800 new graduates into the Canadian bio-economy, the majority of which were placed between 2013 and 2017.

“Thanks to this federally funded wage subsidy program,” says Rob Henderson, President and CEO of BioTalent Canada, “556 new graduates have been placed in their first biotech job at over 160 Canadian companies since 2013.”

The Canadian biotech industry continues to experience a shortage of skilled labour and employers struggle to find the necessary resources to onboard talent in the form of new graduates, BioTalent Canada’s Career Focus program has been a much-needed form of support for smaller biotechnology companies struggling to compete.

“As the federal government ponders its youth employment strategy for the near future, the bio-economy across Canada struggles to deal with gender wage disparities and integrating talented newcomers,” says Henderson. “It will be critical to ensure wage subsidies to the bio-economy are reinforced as a mean to bolster employment and drive Canada’s innovation agenda.”

The report was sponsored by:

  • Ag-West Bio
  • BioAlberta
  • BioNB
  • BioNova
  • BIOQuébec
  • BIOTECanada
  • Life Science Association of Manitoba (LSAM)
  • Life Sciences Ontario (LSO)
  • LifeSciences BC
  • MEDEC – Canada’s Medical Technology Companies
  • Renewable Industries Canada (RICanada)
  • Bio Business Magazine
  • Bioenterprise
  • Centre for the Commercialization of Antibodies and Biologics (CCAB)
  • Covalon Technologies
  • Nucro-Technics
  • Science Target

The report is available online and in both official languages. To view or download a copy of the full report, visit

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About the Career Focus Program

The Career Focus Program is a wage subsidy program funded by the federal Youth Employment Strategy, for bio-economy employers to hire the talent they need and for recent graduates to gain the work experience they require – by subsidizing the salary of a recent graduate. For more information on how this program has impacted Canada’s bio-economy visit

About BioTalent Canada

BioTalent Canada is the HR partner of Canada’s bio-economy. As an HR expert and national non-profit organization, BioTalent Canada focuses on building partnerships and skills for Canada’s bio-economy to ensure the industry has access to job-ready people. Through projects, research, and product development, BioTalent Canada connects employers with job seekers, delivers human resource information, and skills development tools so the industry can focus on strengthening Canada’s biotech business. For more information, please visit

Media inquiries:
Fiorella Jansen-Nicorescu
Marketing & Communications Manager
BioTalent Canada
613-235-1402 ext. 229
[email protected]