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Canada’s bio-economy looks to newcomers and international students to fill the talent shortage

Most job seeking Canadian professionals may look at traditional sectors for employment opportunities, such as banking, tele-communications or technology. Similarly, recent immigrants and Internationally Educated Professionals (IEPs) are often forced to switch careers from healthcare and sciences due to the lack of compatibility or accreditation of foreign qualifications, and get into business oriented roles that see them compete in the same saturated job markets. However a good option for medically trained professionals may be to enter the country’s burgeoning bio-economy, which according to a recent report by BioTalent Canada will require an additional 65,000 workers by the end of the decade.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how willfully unprepared Canada was as a country for a large scale health crisis. The lack of national manufacturing facilities became glaringly obvious with the inability to produce essentials like medical masks, equipment, and vaccines. The Government has since invested billions into the sector.

Despite the pandemic, Canada still remains a world leader in the industry, particularly due to its strength in research and the enterprising spirit of Canadians. New opportunities have emerged in the Bio-health subsector with an increase in research, experimentation and commercialization of cannabis related health products following the legalization of cannabis.

The climate change crisis is also created new opportunities in the bio-energy sector, such as in the production of renewable fuels through the conversion of organic material into heat and power. Another growth sector is the bio-waste industry, with emphasis on reducing and cleaning bio waste.

Additionally, the Bio-industrial and agri-bio sub-sectors have seen a boom in their commercial activities and therefore a growth in demand for qualified individuals.

The national report looks at newcomers to Canada and international students as a potential source to fill in the immediate demand, bring diverse perspectives on accessing new markets, and to contribute to solutions. It is calling on the Government to create subsidy program for immigrants as well as new pathways to integrate the talent of international students and IEPs into the labour market.

This is an excellent opportunity for local and international students or professionals looking to switch careers.


Raza Siddiqui is the Founder and Chief Impact Officer at Impact Origin. Impact Exl is the experiential learning and mentorship focused division of Impact Origin.

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