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Status of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) in Canada’s Life Sciences Sector

Canada aspires to accelerate growth and innovation in the life sciences sector—a goal that hinges on our ability to attract and retain talent. Embedding inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility (IDEA) in life sciences organizations is therefore not only the right thing to do, it is a powerful way to help the Canadian life sciences sector lead by increasing creativity within teams, improving organizational performance and strengthening talent acquisition, development and engagement.

While many organizations have taken steps to embed IDEA in their cultures and practices, we do not yet have a clear picture of what is being done to advance IDEA across the life sciences or the greatest opportunities to drive meaningful change. With the support of Pfizer Canada and adMare BioInnovations, Shift Health and Life Sciences Ontario led a study to help fill these information gaps. The findings from the study are presented in a landmark report: Status of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) in Canada’s Life Sciences Sector.

The report is informed by the findings from a national survey of life sciences organizations and focus groups with diverse individuals working in the sector. With a focus on highlighting differences between small/medium and large organizations, the report uncovers where life sciences organizations have made progress in IDEA, how IDEA initiatives have impacted individuals working in the sector, and, importantly, immediate opportunities and recommendations to guide organizations to make progress in IDEA across in four key areas:

  • Talent development. Advancing inclusive and equitable approaches to recruitment, training and performance management.
  • Community and culture. Building a stronger sense of belonging for all employees in the sector.
  • Knowledge. Strengthening understanding and appreciation of the need for and benefits of IDEA initiatives among all employees.
  • Leadership. Catalyzing progress in IDEA by building leadership teams that are diverse, competent in IDEA and accountable to IDEA commitments.

The report also identifies powerful opportunities for sector stakeholders to come together to take collective action to advance IDEA.