New Wage Subsidy Program Launched to Assist Newcomers in Canadian Biotech Companies

OTTAWA, January 4, 2018 – Today, BioTalent Canada announced a new wage subsidy pilot project aimed at expanding diversity in Canada’s bio-economy. The project will foster industry growth by placing internationally educated professionals (IEPs) that have been designated BioReadyTM with employers looking to build more diverse and inclusive workplaces.

The BioReady™ Paid Internship Program, which is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Foreign Credentials Recognition Program (FCRP), will receive over $479,000 to facilitate the hiring of 35 IEPs over the next two years, assisting highly skilled newcomers gain their first professional Canadian work experience. The project will also help another 50 IEPs get their skills recognized through attaining the BioReady™ designation from BioTalent Canada’s BioSkills Recognition Program.

The BioSkills Recognition program is a skills-matching program designed by BioTalent Canada where individuals can match the skills they possess to one of 32 industry-approved skills profiles online. Once entered, the skills portfolio is then verified by a Canadian industry professional. If the portfolio of the individual’s skills lines up adequately with the skills profile, the person is designated “BioReady™” for that particular profile. For newcomers, the Canadian designation can assist greatly in overcoming their greatest hurdle in getting a job: gaining Canadian industry experience. For many health professionals, it also represents an alternative career pathway for those who get licensed in Canada for medical or pharmacist professions, and desire a route to put their science skills to use in Canada. 

This pilot project of 24 months is one of several under FCRP’s Targeted Employment Strategy for Newcomers (TESN) within ESDC, a new strategic response to the growing barriers and gaps highly skilled newcomers face when seeking meaningful and long-term employment in their field of study. In addition to supporting the attainment of Canadian work experience, the pilot projects will also provide solid evidence and research regarding the effectiveness of these interventions.

According to the labour market report Paving the Way, over half of the 250 IEPs who participated in the BioSkills Recognition Program between July 2015 and February 2017 reported having worked in biotechnology prior to immigrating to Canada. However, two-thirds of those were not currently working in the bio-economy.

Through this new subsidy, BioTalent Canada aims to address some of the key recommendations outlined in their report:  Paving the Way:

  • IEPs must be recognized as skilled and experienced talent
  • The bio-economy needs access to a standardized candidate pre-screening methodology

“Despite the fact that the most common skills IEPs possess are those also most needed by Canada’s bio-economy, many talented newcomers continue to have their skills and experience overlooked by hiring managers,” says Rob Henderson, President and CEO of BioTalent Canada. “This new subsidy will give employers the opportunity to experience the benefits associated with employing workers with the BioReady™ designation, and will assist them in creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce.”

Employers in the bio-economy have been encouraged with this new program from BioTalent Canada that will let them tap into yet another rich pool of skilled and experienced talent.

“At Immunovaccine, we believe that strong science needs bright minds,” says Misty McKay, Manager, Human Resources and Administration at Immunovaccine in Halifax, Nova Scotia. “This program will help us onboard IEPs that have the skills and experience to positively impact our innovation strategy and workplace culture.”

Companies interested in applying for wage subsidies are encouraged to contact BioTalent Canada at  

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About the BioSkills Recognition Program
BioTalent Canada launched the BioSkills Recognition Program to help individuals have their credentials validated to better position them to find work in their areas of expertise. IEPs who register are guided through the process of creating an online skills portfolio, with the ability to translate expertise acquired through previous non-biotechnology work (e.g., medicine, pharmacy, nursing, etc.) into skills applicable to the Canadian bioeconomy. A BioReady™ Review Board of industry experts assess each portfolio and designates qualified IEPs ‘BioReady’, verifying them as having all the skills and experience to work in Canada’s bio-economy. For more information, please visit

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

Media inquiries:
Eli Duern
Marketing & Communications Coordinator
BioTalent Canada
613-235-1402 ext. 225