Working in Biotechnology & Life Sciences in Canada

Labour Market Outlook

The Canadian biotechnology and life sciences sector is a significant contributor to Canada’s innovation economy, and one of the country’s fastest growing industries.


Canada is a world leader in biotechnology (the bio-economy) and has a large network of research hospitals, universities, laboratories, and companies that work within four major sectors:

  • Bio-health
  • Bio-energy
  • Bio-industrial technology
  • Agri-biotechnology

An industry profile released by the Vancouver Public Library’s Skilled Immigrant Infocentre states that across Canada, 33% of biotechnology and life sciences employers report skills shortages, and 20% have job vacancies in their companies.

Newcomers to Canada are a key source of talent as employers seek to meet their hiring needs. However, the Canadian job market is very competitive. FAST helps you to better understand each of the steps needed to gain employment.


Over half (56.8%) of skilled immigrants who participated in BioTalent Canada’s BioSkills Recognition, an industry-skills validation program, reported having worked in biotechnology prior to immigrating to Canada, with two-thirds (67.6%) holding at least a master’s degree.


The skills and experience that skilled immigrants possess turn out to be the most needed by Canada’s bio-economy. There is opportunity for hiring managers to discover newcomers’ talent and potential in the field.


The FAST Program gives you access to online training that will enable you to get better acquainted with the biotech and life sciences sector in Canada.

Education & Training Needed

Among the average educational requirements to work in the biotechnology and life sciences sector are the following:

  • Completion of an undergraduate degree or program in biological sciences (biology, biotechnology, biochemistry, microbiology), applied chemistry, or a related field.
  • Completion of a graduate degree for research occupations.
  • Certification with provincial associations is available, but voluntary.
Wages and Job Outlook

An average salary range of $38,000 to $75,000 per year for the biotechnology sector is reported by For the first five to ten years in this position, salary increases may apply, and most professionals move on to other jobs if they have more than 20 years’ experience in this career.


The Canadian biotechnology sector comprises occupations within research, development and manufacturing. Industry players include small and medium-sized companies that develop diagnostics, biopharmaceuticals, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, as well as global companies with research, development and manufacturing operations in Canada, serving both domestic and international markets.

FAST is a set of free online services and resources to help skilled immigrants and Canadian employers succeed.
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