Ontario's Biotech Students and Employers to Benefit from New Federal Wage Subsidy Program

OTTAWA, June 8, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - A new province-specific wage subsidy initiative that focuses on placing new Ontario biotechnology graduates in their first jobs in the industry has been announced by BioTalent Canada. The program, Career Focus, is funded in part by the federal government as part of its Youth Employment Strategy. BioTalent Canada has run other national Career Focus programs over the past several years, placing over 400 new graduates across Canada in their first biotech job. Earlier this year, the organization published its latest Labour Market Study "Opening the Door" which reported average age, education and salary levels of participants in the national program over the last two years.

"This is the first time that BioTalent Canada has been approached to run a province-specific program," says Rob Henderson, CEO of BioTalent Canada. "We are encouraged that the government recognizes the real challenges that biotech businesses in Ontario face in addressing their skills gaps, and with our partners, we look forward to bringing this enhanced level of support to these innovative companies."

For many new graduates, landing a job without extensive work experience is a challenge, and without that first biotechnology position, the necessary experience often never comes. Career Focus paves the way to employment by helping offset the costs of orientation, integration and skills development.

BioTalent Canada's National Biotechnology Labour Market Study "Sequencing the Data," cites "access to capital" and "access to talent" as the two greatest barriers for biotech companies to reach their business goals. The Career Focus program addresses both of those barriers, allowing small- and medium-sized biotech companies access to energetic talent they require to build Ontario's bio-economy. 

"OBIO has been approached on numerous occasions by academic institutions struggling to place bright, well-educated science grads in Ontario jobs," says Gail Garland President & CEO of the Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization (OBIO). "This wage subsidy program helps create private sector jobs, gives new grads industrial training and helps companies grow."

Many of the small- to medium-sized companies that make up Ontario's bio-economy are not aware of the initiatives available to them, but it is these companies that drive industry growth.

"The 2015 Life Sciences Ontario Sector Report found that the life sciences sector's job growth outpaced the provincial average by nearly 10% between 2001 and 2013, with good resilience even during the 2008 economic downtown," says Dr. Jason Field, Life Sciences Ontario's (LSO) President & CEO. "However, recent science graduates face an unemployment rate of 18.9% while Ontario produces between 8,000 and 10,000 science graduates every year. We welcome BioTalent Canada's Ontario-based Career Focus program as one practical measure to help our science graduates find that all-important first job and reverse this trend."

With one of Canada's largest life science clusters, and numerous incubators and innovation hubs at its core, Ontario is an ideal choice to launch the province-specific Career Focus program.

"This grant from the federal government will further strengthen our competitive life sciences industry by making it more affordable for businesses to hire new biotech graduates," says Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie. "The work of our life sciences companies benefits the world with new scientific discoveries, medications, and inventions helping all Canadians live longer, better, and healthier lives. I look forward to the added value young, ambitious and hardworking Mississaugans will contribute in their new workplaces."

About Ontario Career Focus

The Ontario 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.  Ontario Career Focus provides Ontario employers up to $20,000 in wage subsidies to hire new biotech graduates. For more details, please visit  BioTalent Canada's Career Focus Information page.

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 www.biotalent.ca.


SOURCE BioTalent Canada

For further information: Media inquiries: Fiorella Jansen-Nicorescu, Marketing & Communications Manager, BioTalent Canada, 613-235-1402 ext. 229, fnicorescu@biotalent.ca


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