Occupational Competencies for Canada’s Bio-economy (2018-2021)

Main Objective:

To update BioTalent Canada’s existing bio-economy Skills Profiles and Skills At-a-Glances and bring them to National Occupational Standards (NOS).

Project Goals:

These modernized NOS will help promote efficient labour mobility within the sector while helping employers effectively recruit and train talent, assist job seekers in assessing their skills to enter the field and assist educators in developing relevant curriculum.


September 2018 to September 2021

Project Summary:

BioTalent Canada’s goal is to provide the bio-economy with accurate and up-to-date HR resources to attract and retain skilled labour to thrive and remain innovative. BioTalent Canada’s existing 24 Bio-economy Skills Profiles and 22 Skills At-a-Glance have been developed over many years with industry and have been in demand. They summarize the high-level skills required for each occupational profile and itemize in detail the common tasks associated with the functions. Each bio-economy Skills Profile provides an occupational description, a situation analysis, the essential skills, the language benchmarks and specific skills that are required to successfully perform in specific roles within the sector.

The Skills Profiles and Skills At-a-Glances have been the basis for the BioSkills Recognition Program, a skills validation program with 270 individuals participating since 2016.  They are also the foundation for BioTalent Canada’s Annual Compensation Report, a tool that examines occupation salaries across the country. However, in recent years, the bio-economy has broadened and evolved with careers emerging that didn’t exist previously. Updating skills information and making them into National Occupation Standards is needed to:

  • facilitate strategic labour mobility and labour market efficiency
  • enable students, new graduates, and other under-represented groups to make informed employment decisions
  • align post-secondary initiatives to industry needs
  • strengthen employers’ recruitment efforts

Mission fit / Industry need

National Occupational Standards are vital to outline the skills and knowledge bio-economy professionals are expected to possess to achieve business objectives within the sector. NOS support human resource plans on both sides of the labour market.

National Occupational Standards enable employers to:

  • recruit and retain skilled workers;
  • develop job descriptions, performance evaluations, and interview questions;
  • create recruitment plans;
  • identify areas for professional development; and
  • create succession plans.

Job Seekers rely on National Occupational Standards to:

  • effectively plan their skills development to attract employers and optimize their performance;
  • tailor resumés for upcoming positions;
  • prepare for interviews;
  • identify additional professional development needs; and
  • choose education and training based on industry’s current needs.

The initiative is aligned with the recommendations in Canada’s Economic Strategy Tables report: “The Innovation and Competitiveness Imperative” for the Health and Bioscience sector  especially for creating a Skills hub to:

  • drive the necessary changes to skills and talent programs;
  • develop a roadmap for the jobs of the future and the skills and competencies they will require; and
  • act as a focal point for gathering and disseminating labour market information.

The new National Occupational Standards will be available on the BioTalent Canada website, as well as other labour market research, and will be incorporated into the BioSkills Recognition Program as well as several of BioTalent Canada’s products and services.

For more information on this project please contact Pamela Gray, Director of Project Development at [email protected]

Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program.