Canadian bio-economy youth work placement program exceeds targets

Ottawa, September 03, 2020 — BioTalent Canada announced today that “Career Starter,” one of BioTalent Canada’s newest wage subsidy programs—has generated high levels of interest industry-wide and has exceeded all expectations.

“We’re encouraged by the overwhelming and rapid response to the Career Starter wage subsidy program,” says Rob Henderson, President and CEO of BioTalent Canada. “As a diverse country our bio-economy should follow suit. Career Starter was designed to provide barriered youth with an opportunity to enter the bio-economy workforce and to give employers access to an underrepresented source of talent,” he said.

One such employer is Icy Waters Ltd., one of the world’s premier Arctic Char farms. Located in the Yukon, Icy Waters is a prime example of the wide reach BioTalent Canada’s programs have. The company is located in a remote area of Canada, which presents its own unique talent acquisition challenges.

“Programs like Career Starter are important to Icy Waters because it provides an easy, comprehensive platform with which to hire youth,” says Rosemary Motz, HR Consultant at Icy Waters Ltd. “Acquiring talent in remote areas is challenging, especially for us because it requires specialized skills in aquaculture. Through Career Starter, we were able to fill four aquaculture technician positions.”

The new hires have made a great impact on the company. Through Career Starter’s coaching component, each new hire came up with a goal that would benefit both employee and employer. With ongoing support, the new hires are achieving their goals and developing leadership skills while contributing to different research projects.

“Icy Waters’ success story is one of many that reinforce the importance of programs like Career Starter,” explains Henderson. “The future of biotech is reliant on the next generation of talent. To grow it, it remains paramount that we continue to find ways to break down the barriers to entry for Canada’s youth.”

To learn more about BioTalent Canada’s programs, visit

Funding in part by Government of Canada’s Youth Employment Skills Strategy Program


About BioTalent Canada

BioTalent Canada™ is the HR partner of and catalyst for growth in Canada’s bio-economy. Our engagement with employers, associations, post-secondary institutions, immigrant serving agencies and service providers has built a dynamic network that is strengthening skills, connecting job-ready talent to industry and creating opportunities. Recently awarded a Great Place to Work® Certification, BioTalent Canada practices the same industry standards they recommend to their stakeholders. For more information visit

About Career Starter

Career Starter, launched in February 2019 and funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy Program, helps youth facing barriers to employment transition to the bio-economy labour market. Barriered youth includes, but is not limited to, Canadians with a disability, Indigenous, visible minority, or a member of the LGBTQ2+ community.

The Career Starter Program facilitates the transition of youth facing barriers to employment into the labour market and increases their knowledge of the sector’s needs through recent and practical work experience. Career Starter provides employers with 50% of a youth’s salary to a maximum of $20,000 for a three- to nine-month placement. It helps employers adopt a diverse and inclusive work culture while satisfying a need for skilled labour. To learn more visit

Media Inquiries
Siobhan Williams
Director, Marketing and Communications
BioTalent Canada
613-235-1402 ext. 229
[email protected]