Employing barriered youth in Canada’s bio-economy (2021-2024)

Main Objective

To help all youth aged 15 to 30, most notably barriered youth, navigate through the bio-economy’s labour market and successfully transition into sustained employment.

The project objectives are to:

  •  Facilitate the transition of barriered youth into the labour market;
  • Encourage bio-economy employers to adopt a diverse and inclusive work culture;
  • Demonstrate federal leadership by investing in skills required to meet the needs of the knowledge economy;
  • Help youth achieve the work experience, knowledge, skills, and information they need to make a successful transition to the workplace.


October 4, 2021, to March 31, 2024

Industry need:

In its 2013 study, BioTalent Canada also discovered the industry showed a decline in the percentage of under-represented talent that it hired between 2008 and 2013. Bio-economy employers hired:

  • 11.5% less women
  • 13.2% less Indigenous persons
  •  14.3% less persons with disabilities
  •  6.7% less newcomers to Canada

BioTalent Canada has found that one of the most effective ways to integrate marginalized and under-represented demographic groups into the bio-economy labour market is through wage subsidy programming. It has successfully placed over 2000 job seekers into the bio-economy through wage subsidy programming since 2005, most of which are from under-represented groups. Furthermore, with high retention rates into the private sector, those subsidies quickly paid for themselves through recovered tax dollars, EI and CPP contributions once the private sector takes on the full cost of the employees.
Wage subsidies in combination with other supports such as BioTalent Canada’s Bioskills Recognition Program for industry skills validation and on-the-job mentors and access to the Essential and Technical Skills training courses, will help barriered youth at risk of disconnecting from the workforce, transition and remain in the bio-economy.
The program encourages employers to open the bio-economy’s doors to barriered youth. As Canada faces a shortage of 65,000 workers in the bio-economy by 2029, Career Starter introduces employers to skilled labour in places they may not have otherwise considered looking. 

Program description:

To encourage employers to hire barriered youth, the “Employing Barriered Youth in Canada’s Bio-economy Program” will minimize perceived risk to small and medium sized biotechnology companies by covering the cost of a youth’s salary by 50% to a maximum $15,000 for a three (3) to six (6)-month period.

For more information on eligibility and application information please see the Employer Application page.


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