Status of Women Canada announces new BioTalent Canada Initiative

March 03, 2014 – BioTalent Canada

Vancouver, BC – The Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women Canada announced a new project for BioTalent Canada to connect and advance women in biotechnology, classified as a “non-traditional” industry. The three year project will engage stakeholders to identify the challenges and needs on how best to assist women in entering the bio-economy and support local networks of women in Vancouver, Toronto, Charlottetown and Montreal. These networks will allow women currently working in the bio-economy, who are looking to break into the industry or who are considering the bio-economy as a career option for networking and receiving guidance from link-minded biotech professionals. The announcement was made today at a special networking breakfast event in Vancouver hosted by Life Sciences BC.

“Women constitute over 60% of physical and life sciences post-secondary graduates in Canada, yet according to our recent 2013 labour market study – Sequencing the Data , the number of biotech companies that hire women has decreased 11.5% in the last five years – this represents a significant lost talent pool,” says Rob Henderson, BioTalent Canada’s President and CEO. “Skills shortages and access to talent continue to impede the industry, so being able to connect and advance career opportunities for women in the industry will help address these skills gaps so companies can focus on commercial success.”

“Promoting careers, leadership, and entrepreneurship of women in the life sciences is our mission, and we are pleased to partner with BioTalent Canada, on this project,” says Carmela DeLuca, Co-Chair, Women in Bio Greater Montreal Chapter. “Creating more networks, profiling women in the industry and encouraging young women to enter the sector will create a more diverse and dynamic workforce to help the industry reach its goals.”

The project will leverage the existing network model established by Women in Bio, an international networking organization for women in the biotech industry, which has successfully started a chapter in Montreal and will provide ongoing support to the networks in the long term. Working with project partners, BioTalent Canada will develop a national mentoring program to connect professional women, executives, and students in the bio-economy across Canada. Project partners include: BioQuebec, Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRC), LifeLabs, LifeSciences BC, Life Sciences Ontario (LSO), Ontario Bioscience Industry Organization (OBIO), PEI BioAlliance, British Columbia’s Student Biotechnology Network, and Women in Bio.

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About Women in Bio Greater Montreal Chapter:
The WIB-Greater Montreal Chapter seeks to bring together professionals from across Quebec with bio-related interests in diverse sectors. Life science industry business professionals, entrepreneurs and scientists from the private sector, government institutions, and academia are invited to join and benefit from WIB’s many resources which include networking, professional development and leadership seminars, programming aimed at the next generation of female life science professionals, sharing insights and innovations, and learning about the latest developments, and opportunities within the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical devices industries. For more information please visit www.womeninbio.org/wib-chapters/greater-montreal/.

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.

Media inquiries:
Siobhan Williams
Director, Marketing and Communications
BioTalent Canada
613-235-1402 ext. 229
siobhanw@biotalent.ca