Life Sciences Stakeholders Launch Collaboration to Advance Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA)



MISSISSAUGA, Ontario – (COMMERCIAL THREAD) – Today, seven founding member organizations from the private, public and not-for-profit sectors announced the creation of the Inclusive Life Sciences Collaboration (Collaboration). The Collaboration aims to create a community of like-minded individuals and organizations committed to creating inclusive organizational cultures in the life sciences industry. They are now inviting others from across Canada to join them in aligning their efforts, sharing their knowledge and leading actions towards a more inclusive future of life sciences.

“The Inclusive Life Sciences Collaboration represents businesses, industries and institutions that span from school to workforce and seek to harness the talents of Canada’s best and brightest,” said Dr. Imogen Coe, Professor and Founding Dean, Faculty of Science, Ryerson University, IDEA Expert and member of the Steering Committee. “Creating inclusive environments in the life sciences sector that attract, support, retain and promote the most diverse talents will lead to inclusive excellence for this sector and unleash untapped potential, innovation and creativity. ”

Organizations are increasingly evaluating their cultures and practices regarding IDEA, becoming more intentional and committed to finding and implementing strategies to better integrate IDEA into their practices. The Collaboration represents a group of organizations and individuals who have been at the forefront of this movement and already have several initiatives underway. Below are some examples of their work.

  • The City of Mississauga and the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (Canada region): co-lead the Equity & Diversity Collaborative (EDC), a group of 17 healthcare and life sciences companies dedicated to advancing gender equity and diversity initiatives in their workplace work through a series of rapid adjustments to organizational policies and practices.
  • Life Sciences Ontario and Shift Health: launched an initiative called Building an Inclusive Life Sciences Future, which includes a series of workshops starting in fall 2021 to develop a vision and action plan for IDEA within the life sciences ecosystem of the ‘Ontario.
  • Innovative Medicines Canada: leverages the expertise of its executive network across Canada to establish a DCI framework of principles that focuses on expanding and leveraging partnerships to improve IDEA in four key areas: talent, health equity, education and training, and partnerships.

The life sciences sector in Canada is thriving, making it a critical time to act and focus on inclusive growth. “According to projections from BioTalent Canada’s upcoming National Labor Market Information Study, the biofabrication sector alone will need 5,160 additional workers by 2029,” said Rob Henderson, President and CEO of the management of BioTalent Canada and member of the steering committee. “This growth presents an opportunity and a responsibility to improve the diversity of the life sciences workforce through the aggressive recruitment and retention of under-represented groups such as women, Indigenous people, Canadians with disabilities. , LGBTQ2S + and newcomers. ”

The Collaboration meets quarterly, serving as a discussion forum to share learning and ideas between organizations, enhancing individual and collective impact and avoiding duplication of efforts. The group invites life sciences and related groups across Canada to join and:

  • Unite in collective action to advance an inclusive sector;

  • Facilitate and support awareness and understanding of IDEA in the healthcare and life sciences sectors through cross communication and promotion;

  • Share practices learned through IDEA initiatives across the industry, driving continuous improvement.

For more information or to get involved, visit

Founding member organizations:

  • BioTalent Canada

  • City of Mississauga

  • Canadian Association of Women in Healthcare Business

  • Innovative Medicines Canada

  • Life Sciences Ontario

  • Sanofi

  • Health change

The steering committee:

  • Dr. Imogen Coe, Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biology, Founding Dean (Faculty of Science), Ryerson University

  • Wilma Deen, Executive Director, Value of Membership and Strategy Implementation, Innovative Medicines Canada

  • Dr. Jason Field, President and CEO, Life Sciences Ontario

  • Pamela Fralick, President, Innovative Medicines Canada

  • Rob Henderson, President and CEO, BioTalent Canada

  • Dr. Natasha Malik, Senior Consultant, Shift Health

  • Dr. Anne Mullin, Director, Shift Health

  • Jackie O’Connor, Life Sciences Consultant, City of Mississauga, Economic Development Office

  • Danielle Portnik, Canadian Regional President and Co-Founder, Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) Canada

  • Cynthia Reyes, President, Toronto Chapter of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA)

  • Sabina Steinkellner, Managing Director, Sanofi

  • Dr Ryan Wiley, President, Shift Health



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