Accelerating growth for Ontario life sciences

by • June 3, 2019 • Feature, Feature-Home, OpinionsComments Off on Accelerating growth for Ontario life sciences136

Traditional manufacturing and production industries that have historically fuelled economic prosperity are facing significant headwinds on growth, difficulty in retaining investment and attracting new capital. 

Earlier this year, Life Sciences Ontario (LSO) released the 2019 sector report, “Accelerating Prosperity: The Growth Potential of Ontario Life Sciences”. The report evaluates the current economic contributions of the life sciences sector in Ontario and reveals its considerable growth potential when combined with a coordinated life sciences strategy. Present day – we have an economy that is growing at an increased pace and a labour force growth that is slowing due to baby boomers exiting the labour market and a talent shortage. Ontario needs to shift the source of growth towards high-value services sectors that can create high-paying, good-quality jobs. The report demonstrates how the life sciences sector could be part of this progression. 

The life sciences sector makes notable contributions to the provincial economy. Through capital investments and operations, the life sciences sector directly contributes employment, tax revenue and value-added gross domestic product (GDP) to the economy.. The economic contributions of the life sciences sector in Ontario results in nearly $60 billion in GDP contributions and supports 191,294 jobs. While the sector itself has grown and has shown resilience in times of economic downfall, more can be done to capitalize on this dynamic sector. 

Lack of sufficient capital hinders the ability of companies to commercialize their innovations and scale-up in Ontario, leading to companies seeking capital in other jurisdictions and leaving Ontario and Canada. The report calls for a holistic approach to address these challenges and create the conditions for sustained growth of the life sciences sector in Ontario. The report looks to other successful life sciences jurisdictions for best practices that can be applied in Ontario, without reinventing the wheel. Key enablers of growth for a life sciences sector include: access to capital, attraction of experienced talent, a collaborative sector ecosystem and a competitive environment for companies. If Ontario’s life sciences sector follows similar trends experienced in other advanced life sciences jurisdictions, the potential exists for Ontario to experience significant economic benefits as a result of an accelerated growth in the life sciences sector. 

Considerations for Ontario

•Increasing the level of certainty within the public policy environment for the life sciences sector with legislated strategies. Certainty can enable greater business investment, attraction, and growth. 

•Reviewing and prioritizing policy and program options to help bridge the commercialization gap. Work with all ecosystem actors to catalyze the conditions for competitiveness and success on the global stage. 

•Increasing awareness of public policy initiatives and the range of support available for start-ups and entrepreneurs in the life sciences sector. Promotion of the investment climate and that Ontario is “open for business” 

•Measuring and reviewing policy programs to ensure desirable outcome. Establish baseline, evaluate outcomes, and reallocate resources if necessary. 

To read the full report, please visit:

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