Close-up on the bio-economy: Western Canada

Western Canada’s bio-economy is likely to require 18,800 additional workers by 2029. Companies will be challenged to fill positions due to a highly competitive labour market and an ongoing lack of capital to attract and retain candidates. Distribution, manufacturing, marketing and management capacity will be particularly urgent areas of need across all sub-sectors.

As domestic university degree completions are expected to decline throughout the forecast period, strategies other than recruiting new graduates will be needed to meet the demand for labour — such as recruiting skilled immigrants and looking beyond traditional talent pools.

The Western Canadian bio-economy has a tremendous opportunity to seek talent from under-represented groups. On average, women make up one-third (34%) of bio-economy workers in the region overall and visible minorities about one-quarter (22%). Other equity-seeking groups have less representation in Western Canada: internationally educated professionals make up 16% of the regional bio-economy workforce and recent immigrants account for 9%, while workers with disabilities and Indigenous workers represent just 1% and 2% of the workforce, respectively.

Building on Sequencing the Data, the last national full LMI study conducted in 2013 , this new national study gives a much-needed update on the complex, multi-dimensional bio-economy, the companies within it, and the skills and talent they require. Its insights are based on surveys, stakeholder roundtables and interviews, an environmental scan and extensive data analysis.

The Close-up on the bio-economy LMI series is published as part of BioTalent Canada’s mission to provide bio-economy stakeholders with valuable, evidence-based labour market intelligence and job-ready human resources.

It also includes:

  • A Demand and Supply Outlook
  • Regional spotlights (Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario, Prairies, Western Canada)
  • Metro hub spotlights (Greater Montreal, Greater Toronto Area, Metro Vancouver)
  • Research briefs on topics such as bio-economy education and work-integrated learning

Visit to download these and other LMI reports, briefs and articles.