The bioscience industry on Prince Edward Island
Bioscience sector makes growing impact on PEI economy
submitted by the PEI BioAlliance
Prince Edward Island’s bioscience companies predominantly focus on the research, development, and commercialization of human, animal, and fish health and nutrition products, including health diagnostics.
An economic impact assessment was released in February 2020 which measured the contribution of the bioscience sector between 2012 and 2018. The study found that bioscience has become one of the most important sectors of the provincial economy, directly contributing $214 million in GDP in 2018, and employing 1,900 people.
“Now in 2020 we have gone beyond those numbers, which continue to increase,” says Rory Francis, CEO, PEI BioAlliance. “The sector is providing great job opportunities for Islanders and newcomers from other parts of Canada and the world.”
The bioscience cluster now accounts for 4.4 percent of the entire provincial economy, second only to the agri-food sector.
“These positive results are a testament to the BioAlliance model, a partnership among industry, researchers, academia, and government agencies, working together to build the bioscience sector on PEI,” says Oliver Technow, Board Chair, PEI BioAlliance.
The PEI bioscience cluster includes more than 60 bioscience companies as well as research and development organizations such as the National Research Council, University of Prince Edward Island, the Atlantic Veterinary College, Holland College, Agriculture and AgriFood Canada, and BioFoodTech.
The PEI bioscience cluster continues to be a high-value industry employing highly skilled and well-paid workers. At $60,900 per year, the average employment income of workers in the bioscience sector is 44 percent higher than the average for all workers on the Island.
“This momentum is a reflection of the hardworking and innovative Islanders collaborating and building partnerships with companies around the world,” says Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture Minister Matthew MacKay.
Growth in the bioscience sector is also attracting a high number of newcomers, with 43 percent of firms surveyed having at least one founder who was not born in Canada.
To read the full Economic Impact Assessment report, visit www.peibioalliance.com/EIA
The effects of COVID-19
The resilience and future prosperity of the sector is also demonstrated by the many PEI bioscience companies conducting research, development, and manufacturing to source solutions to support the fight against COVID-19.
This includes developing protective equipment and medical devices, products to strengthen human resistance to diseases, technologies to test if someone is or has been infected by COVID-19, as well as technologies to give specialists an online view for remote diagnoses.
“It is encouraging to see that since March 2020, at least 90 percent of employees in the bioscience sector continued to be employed,” says Rory. “Companies have ensured that employees maintain social distancing and sanitation. The demand for products continues, and companies continue to operate. Employment has been maintained, the PEI Bioscience job board is busy, and there is a constant demand for additional employees.”
Types of jobs most in demand
“Because PEI companies continue to evolve from research and development to manufacturing, more jobs are available in production and quality control, which is an important part of the manufacturing process in a highly regulated field.
“Graduates of the Holland College BioScience Technology program are going into laboratory technician or production technician jobs. The business side is growing as well, and accountants, accounting technicians, and other support staff are being hired.”
Are any PEI bioscience jobs located outside the Charlottetown area?
“Bioscience jobs are available across the province,” says Rory. For example, The Centre for Aquaculture Technologies and Aquabounty are located in Souris in the eastern end of the province. Nature’s Crops International is located in Kensington. BioSpa, a growing cosmetics ingredients company, is located in Summerside.
Positive outlook for careers in bioscience
“There are great opportunities in this sector on PEI and beyond. These are good-paying, year-round jobs which give the next generation of Islanders an opportunity to get an education in science and technology or engineering and put their skills to work on PEI.”
For more information on employment opportunities in the bioscience industry on PEI, contact Vivian Beer at 902-367-4407 or e-mail [email protected]
About the PEI BioAlliance
Since 2005, the PEI BioAlliance has coordinated the development and growth of the province’s bioscience cluster and established the conditions for business success. The cluster creates high-quality, Island-based jobs in the areas of human, animal, and fish health and nutrition.
The PEI BioAlliance is a partnership of all the businesses, academic and research institutions, and federal and provincial government agencies, dedicated to establishing the bioscience sector as a key pillar in the economic foundation of the province and Atlantic Canada.
For more information and to check out job postings, visit www.peibioalliance.com
Bioscience on Prince Edward Island – Company hiring practices
- AffinityImmuno, Charlottetown
- BioTraceIT™, Charlottetown
- BioVectra, Charlottetown
- Center for Aquaculture Technologies (CAT), Souris & Victoria by the Sea
- Elanco, Charlottetown & Victoria-by-the-Sea
- Island Abbey Foods, Charlottetown
- Nature’s Crops International, Kensington
- Sekisui Diagnostics PEI Inc, Charlottetown
- Somru Bioscience Inc., West Royalty Industrial Park
- Timeless Veterinary Systems, Charlottetown
- VetNOW, Charlottetown
For more information on employment opportunities in the bioscience industry on PEI, contact Vivian Beer at 902-367-4407 or e-mail [email protected].
Connecting and Advancing Women in BioTechnology
BioTalent Canada is collaborating with the Canadian Society of Women in Science and Technology (SCWIST) to allow us to join their online mentoring site – Make Possible. Aside from future local chapter events co-organized by PEI BioAlliance and BioTalent Canada, this online tool is a great way for us to connect on a virtual mentorship platform at any time.
The Canadian Society of Women in Science and Technology, SCWIST, is a professional network founded 35 year ago and promotes, encourages and empowers women and girls in science, engineering and technology. SCWIST is located in Vancouver, BC; however, it recently launched the Make Possible virtual mentorship platform nationwide with funding through Status of Women Canada.
Make Possible is a free mentoring network to advance professionals with careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) virtually or in person. This online platform allows women to become a mentor, mentee or both with other professionals across Canada. In addition to its focus on mentorship, Make Possible is an excellent tool to create valuable network connections and access best practices to help Canadian women achieve their career aspirations.
In the upcoming months, Make Possible will have a “Groups” feature that will allow us to set up a BioTalent Canada group. We will let you know when that advanced feature is available. Take the site for a test run and give us your feedback.
To create an account on Make Possible, please follow the link:
Any questions? Please contact Vivian Beer, PEI BioAlliance, [email protected].
National Bank Tower
134 Kent Street, Ste. 302
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Bioscience post-secondary education options on PEI
- UPEI: Bachelor, Masters and PhD programs
- Holland College Bioscience Technology program
- UPEI/Holland College Bachelor of Bioscience degree program is offered jointly by UPEI and Holland College:
- Option No. 1: Students, who have completed the college’s Bioscience Technology program, are given a two-year credit towards a B.Sc. at the university.
- Option No. 2: Students take general science courses in their first year at UPEI, and then apply for the program at Holland College. If accepted, students follow a specified course of study at the university for their second year, attend the Bioscience Technology program at the college in their third year and return to UPEI for their fourth year.
- On the job training will be provided to all students
- Atlantic Veterinary College Masters and PhD programs
Women talk about their experiences in the bioscience industry
Susan Rowe, Chief Operating Officer for Island Abbey Foods, says her team has grown to approximately 70 employees in 2015. “Our senior management team has an equal balance of men and women who are dedicated to growing the business.”
“Our company offers on-the-job training opportunities and co-op placements. We advocate that students need to learn to apply classroom theory to practical work experience. We support graduate mentorship programs to help new grads gain experience in the workforce.”
Dr. Jennifer Slemmer, Instructor at the Bioscience Technology program at Holland College, says the program attracts both male and female students. Jennifer would like to see more networking events where people can meet face to face. “Personal meetings foster connections, and make people feel welcome and supported to move forward in the sector.”
Maureen Mix is the Human Resources Manager for Elanco Canada Ltd. on PEI. She says the company makes a conscious effort to recruit women into the industry. “Our organization has a 50/50 split of male to female employees at our sites across PEI as well as within our Canadian affiliate.”
Tracey Jewells-Treige, Associate Director of Projects for Sekisui Diagnostics P.E.I. Inc., started working in the industry over 25 years ago as a Medical Laboratory Technologist. She graduated from the Medical Laboratory Technology program at the Nova Scotia Institute of Technology.
“Back then, the majority of those in the program and those working in the hospital lab were women. Many already had a Science degree but needed more focused training in order to gain employment. Female science graduates now have a multitude of options.”
Katherine Ballem is a Unit Manager in Manufacturing at BioVectra. Katherine says the PEI BioAlliance does a fantastic job in creating networking and mentoring opportunities.
“Women are graduating from science, engineering, math and computer science programs in large numbers, but it is not clear how many women are going on to careers in those fields or whether they are choosing other fields.”
The value of networking & mentoring in the Bioscience industry on PEI
Katherine Ballem says the PEI BioAlliance does a fantastic job in creating networking and mentoring opportunities.
Maureen Mix says her company’s top female talent appreciate the various career opportunities made available to them. “In discussion with associates, many indicate that in-house mentoring and professional development opportunities have influenced their career decisions within the organization. We strongly encourage our female leaders to build strong internal and external relationships; these networks are invaluable to our future leaders.”
Susan Rowe says she strongly believes in mentoring students. “Our company offers on-the-job training opportunities and co-op placements. We advocate that students need to learn to apply classroom theory to practical work experience. We support graduate mentorship programs to help new grads gain experience in the workforce.”
Jennifer Slemmer would like to see more networking events where people can meet face to face. “Personal meetings foster connections, and make people feel welcome and supported to move forward in the sector.”
For bioscience networking opportunities, visit https://peibioalliance.com/events.
|For more information about the Bioscience sector on PEI, call 902-367-4400. Visit www.peibioalliance.com.|
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