Targeted wage subsidy programs offered by BioTalent Canada have given a significant boost to youth employment in Canada’s thriving bio-economy, even during the pandemic, evidence suggests. In surveys conducted recently, 85% of the young employees supported by these wage subsidy programs had acquired permanent jobs. By addressing skills shortages and giving employers short- and longer-term wage support, the programs have produced an array of success stories, including the innovation of a potentially lifesaving COVID-19 antigen test developed with support from a University of Guelph graduate.
In its report, Growing the bio-economy – youth in focus, BioTalent Canada details the success of three of its wage subsidy programs. The report validates the effectiveness of the Career Starter Program, the Science Horizons Youth Internship Program and the Science and Technology Internship Program – Green Jobs and makes recommendations about continuing and strengthening components of each. The programs were designed to support employer efforts to hire youth facing barriers to employment, new graduates with little or no experience or new hires in the green economy. All three programs were hugely successful, filling to capacity as employers in Canada’s emerging “green” economy and industry subsectors such as bio-health, bio-energy, bio-industrial and bio-agriculture made efficient use of the subsidies. As 80.7% of companies in the bio-economy have fewer than 50 employees it was clear that wage subsidies had a unique appeal for smaller companies.