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Life Sciences Sector Vital for Ontario’s Economic Growth and Health Care System Sustainability

May 22, 2014 (Toronto) – A successful innovative life sciences sector is critical to growing the economy, delivering better and sustainable healthcare, and improving the quality of life for all Ontarians.

As Ontario heads towards the June 12th election, a group of leading innovative life sciences and economic organizations is calling on all three political parties to clearly articulate their vision for the future of the life sciences sector in Ontario.

“The life sciences sector is uniquely positioned to help find solutions to the biggest socioeconomic challenges facing Ontario; including creating jobs for our highly educated youth, healthcare sustainability, healthy food for a growing global population and clean energy to fuel our industries,” said Dr. Jason Field, President and CEO of Life Sciences Ontario. “It is imperative that whichever party forms Ontario’s next government recognizes the strategic importance of the life sciences sector and implements meaningful policies and programs to support its growth for the benefit of all Ontarians.

These organizations, are calling on the political parties to outline their vision and priorities for the success of this key sector through the following questions:

  1. How would your government make Ontario the most attractive jurisdiction to invest in the life sciences sector?
  2. What measures would you take to enable Ontarians to have the best possible access to new innovative medicines and technologies, and other life science advancements?
  3. How would you propose to stimulate more research and development in Ontario’s hospitals and academic institutions?
  4. When would these changes occur within your mandate and would they occur through program, statutory or regulatory changes? What funding, if any, will be earmarked to implement these policies?
  5. What measures would your government put in place to help accelerate the commercialization of new innovative technologies and facilitate the growth of emerging life sciences firms? In particular, how would you improve access to a diverse pool of risk capital for innovative life sciences companies?

Ontario has world class researchers, facilities and entrepreneurs, and we are competing on a global scale for talent and investment dollars in a highly competitive economy. We need to work together to make Ontario a leading jurisdiction for life sciences so that patients, the health system and Ontario’s economy can see the greatest benefit from new innovations.

Key Facts

Life sciences sector generates $9.2 billion in revenue and exports $5.2 billion in goods. (all data for the year 2012).

Biotechnology, Pharmaceuticals and Vaccines

  • Over 15,000 employees
  • $5.4 billion in annual revenues
  • R&D expenditures of over $800 million

Advanced Medical Technologies

  • Over 18,000 employees
  • $3.6 billion in annual revenues

Contract Services (Research / Manufacturers/Clinical Trials)

  • Over 5,000 employees
  • $350 million in annual revenues

Health Research Enterprise Field

  • Comprised of 24 Academic Health Sciences Centres across Ontario
  • Over 16,000 researchers and research staff
  • $1.2 billion in annual R&D investment into health research

The life sciences industry in Ontario is undergoing a significant and exciting transformation. With global competition for life sciences investments – the most R&D intensive industry globally – increasing, the backdrop of the provincial election provides a unique opportunity for each major political party to outline their vision for life sciences.

Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), said the “OCC remains confident that our province has all of the assets it needs to prosper in the global economy. Our life sciences industry is one such example. To continue to compete globally in this sector and others, it is important to maintain an attractive and predictable business environment and to build supportive partnerships between businesses, academia, and government.”

Each major political party leader in the general election was given a list of questions to answers and was asked to respond by June 6th. The coalition also intends to follow up with each party following the election to see how best to proceed with their commitments and work with all MPPs to advance the life sciences agenda.

The next government will need to adapt its policies to reflect this transformation for Ontario to maintain its competitive position to retain and attract major life sciences activities such as clinical trials and high tech employment positions.

“The life sciences sector is important to the Toronto region, said Richard Joy, Vice President of the Toronto Region Board of Trade. It will be even more important in the future as we work together to increase awareness of our strengths and attract more early stage financing to increase the level of commercialization and company formation in the GTA and across Ontario.”

Life sciences and health technologies is one of the economic sectors with the largest leverage in terms of social impact, creating a sustainable health care system and creating collective wealth. It is therefore important to maintain a predictable business environment and supportive partnerships between private business, academic and research institutions, and patients to improve the health of Ontarians.

“The research-based pharmaceutical industry has a long track record of bringing investment to Ontario – bolstering our health care system and our economy by funding high quality jobs, capital investments, manufacturing facilities, health research and development activity and community-based philanthropy across the province,” stated Russell Williams, President of Canada’s Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D). “Our goal is to attract more global investment but as competition intensifies, Ontario must be deliberate and assertive in its policy-making to ensure the sustainability and vibrancy of the life sciences sector.”

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For further information:

Jason Field, PhD
President & CEO,
Life Sciences Ontario (LSO)
Telephone: 416-426-7293


Life Sciences Ontario (LSO)
Life Sciences Ontario is a member-driven organization that represents and promotes the province’s vibrant and diverse life sciences sector. Members of Life Sciences Ontario include individuals, students, emerging companies, investors, service providers and companies with marketed products. LSO collaborates with governments, academia, industry and other life science organizations in Ontario and across Canada to promote and encourage commercial success throughout the diverse life sciences sector. LSO activities include advocacy, economic development, mentorship and professional development programs, educational and networking events and promotion of our industry locally, nationally and internationally. LSO is the Voice for Life Sciences in Ontario.

Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC)
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) is an independent, non-partisan business network. Our mission is to support economic growth in Ontario by advocating for pro-business policies and defending business priorities at Queen’s Park. For more than a century, the OCC has been providing our members with practical supports, advantageous network opportunities, and access to innovative insight and analysis.

OCC represents local chambers of commerce and boards of trade from communities across Ontario. Through this network, we are the voice of 60,000 members that range from small businesses to major corporations and industry associations. Together, our members employ two million people and produce nearly 17 percent of Ontario’s GDP. The OCC is Ontario’s business advocate.

Toronto Region Board of Trade (TRBOT)
Toronto Region Board of Trade is the chamber of commerce for Canada’s largest urban centre, connecting more than 12,000 members and 250,000 business professionals and influencers throughout the Toronto region. The Board fuels the economic, social and cultural vitality of the entire Toronto region by fostering powerful collaborations among business, government, thought leaders, and community builders. Toronto Region Board of Trade plays a vital role in elevating the quality of life and global competitiveness of Canada’s largest urban centre.

Canada’s Research Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D)
Rx&D is the association of leading research-based pharmaceutical companies dedicated to improving the health of Canadians through the discovery and development of new medicines and vaccines. Our community represents the men and women working for more than 50 member companies which invest more than $1 billion in research and development each year to fuel Canada’s knowledge-based economy, contributing over $3 billion to the Canadian economy. Guided by our Code of Ethical Practices, our membership is committed to working in partnership with governments, private payers, healthcare professionals and stakeholders in a highly ethical manner