Advocacy News

OBIO® Launches Latest Report on the Future of Canada’s Health Science Industry

Toronto May 3, 2018 OBIO released its latest report, ‘Use It or Lose It: Industry Solutions to Ontario’s Commercialization Gap’, with recommendations from health science company executives on how to create the conditions for the growth of Ontario’s health science industry. This report is the result of a survey of 135 Ontario life sciences professionals, looking at the growth of Ontario’s health science sector and the opportunities for future development. The report makes five recommendations to ensure Canadians derive the benefits that accrue from a successful health science economy: regional prosperity, knowledge economy jobs, increased patient satisfaction, and improved health outcomes.

For the press release click here

OBIO® Releases Report on Actionable Strategies to Establish a World-leading Bioscience Industry in the Province of Ontario

Toronto May 17, 2017 OBIO released a report on actionable strategies to establish a world-leading bioscience industry in the province of Ontario. In January, OBIO brought together 50 industry executives, investors, academic, health system and Government leaders committed to working together to attract “sticky” capital and grow domestic health science companies that can serve a global market. OBIO released its recommendations arising from that summit and met with MPPs at Queen’s Park to discuss the steps needed to implement.

For the press release click here

Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization (OBIO®) Leadership Summit Hosts Top Health Science Minds to Define Future of the Industry

Toronto January 24, 2017 OBIO hosted a summit of industry, academic, government and investment leaders about the future of health science innovation in Canada. Attendees engaged in group discussions and heard from subject matter experts to extrapolate a mandate of action for anchoring health science companies in Ontario. The outcome of the summit lays a foundation for actionable business cases for private and public sector solutions to the health science industry’s biggest challenges: Innovation Pull, Adoption and Capital Attraction.

For the press release click here. df

OBIO Launches Report on Building Canada's Health Science Industry of the Future

Toronto April 29, 2016 OBIO released its report “How Canada Should be Engaging in a $9 Trillion Dollar Health Economy”. The report was the output of interviews and surveys of 125 CEOs of Canada’s health science companies looking at the future of the global industry and opportunities for Ontario and Canada. The report makes recommendations to ensure Canadians derive the economic and patient benefits from competing successfully on the world stage. Hosted by Synaptive Medical, the launch was attended by over 50 health science industry leaders.

For the press release click here

OBIO Brings Innovation in Action to Queen’s Park

Toronto April 11, 2016 OBIO hosted its annual Queen’s Park Advocacy Day, attracting an impressive 150 attendees including 50 elected officials. High profile meetings with the Premier and key Ministers took place throughout the day followed by a reception which served as an awareness and showcase campaign of 15 health science companies, including several from among OBIO’s CAAP entrepreneurs. Politicians from all parties interacted with innovative health technology being developed here in Ontario and engaged with members of the health science industry. OBIO’s all-party MPP health science caucus was on hand to share their enthusiasm for the industry and support the sector.

For the press release, click here

Advocacy Reports


'Use It or Lose It: Industry Solutions to Ontario's Commercialization Gap' is the result of a survey of 135 Ontario health science industry executives, looking at the growth of Ontario’s health science sector and the opportunities for future development. The report makes five recommendations to ensure Canadians derive the benefits that accrue from a successful health science economy: regional prosperity, knowledge economy jobs, increased patient satisfaction, and improved health outcomes.

Click here for a PDF of the full report


The “Tackling the Anchor Company Challenge" Leadership Summit assembled industry, academic, government and investment leaders committed to working together to create a mandate of action for anchoring health science companies in Ontario.

Click here for a PDF of the full report

Beyond Novelty: Adopting & Diffusing Innovation in the supply chain

OBIO strongly believes that the supply chain of the future must incorporate a formal approach to creating pathways for the adoption and procurement of innovation, to benefit the people of Ontario from both a health and economic perspective.

Read our full submission to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) Healthcare Sector Supply Chain Strategy expert panel here


There are compelling reasons for a strong, Canadian healthcare industry:

• $9 Trillion Global Health Economy
• Revenues and exports from commercialized research outputs
• Diversification of Canada’s economy,
• Quality jobs for our highly educated workforce
• Improved patient care and outcomes
• Manage rising healthcare costs

Canada has opportunities but there are barriers to success. This report presents industry’s solutions. 

Download Full Report (PDF)    Highlights    Press Release


(This article was published in the November 5th OpEd section of the Globe & Mail)

Nov. 5, 2015 - Gail Garland is CEO of the Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization, a not-for-profit, membership-based organization working to develop a health innovation economy for Ontario.

Canada has a well-known research sector and relatively strong infrastructure to nurture startups, but once biotech companies start to grow, they often stall and struggle for resources. They become focused on keeping the lights on instead of moving commercialization forward, or are forced to sell at bargain-basement prices. Large multinational firms face unpredictable investment returns due to a number of factors.

For the Canadian health-care industry to compete globally, we need a plan that addresses capital requirements, human resources, regulations, market access and long-term predictability.

As such, the development of a sector-specific industrial strategy should be a top priority in order to fully develop and build Canada’s health-care industry. In its current state, it is a source of significant untapped potential.

While the new federal government has voiced a commitment to fostering innovation, there has been no mention of specific initiatives aimed at bolstering the human health technology sector.

Yet, the World Health Organization estimates that $6.5-trillion is spent on health care worldwide annually, a figure that represents significant economic potential for jurisdictions with sustainable health-care industries capable of solution-driven R&D and product commercialization.

A robust health-care industry is a key pillar of any thriving knowledge-based economy; in Canada, it could create sustainable development and provide a solution to both demographic and economic challenges.

Without critical policy changes that provide a consistent framework within which to operate, Canadian bioscience companies will lack global competitiveness, losing the opportunity to create jobs and health-care solutions that could bridge the divide between economic development and health-care demands.

The Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization conducted extensive consultations with senior executives from both local companies and multinational enterprises. There is general agreement that Canada is not capitalizing on its full potential.

Canada’s layers of bureaucracy and lack of transparency and predictability at federal and provincial levels are seen to stymie investment and growth. Approaches to innovation adoption, reimbursement and procurement were seen as significant barriers; there are too many hurdles to make innovations accessible to patients, and the administration and delivery of health care is often inefficient. Further, there is a widespread feeling that Canada lacks trust and a collaborative approach between stakeholders.

There’s also a perceived lack of globally experienced industry talent. While eager graduates may be abundant, there are not enough seasoned employees with the global networks and experience required to take a product from science to manufacturing and revenues. As a result of financing challenges within the industry, Canada is experiencing a talent exodus as graduates and sector specialists move to where the jobs, security and dollars are.

The gravest concern among small- and medium-sized enterprises is the availability of appropriate capital dedicated to commercializing health science and building health-care companies. Solutions developed and commercialized here could be used to improve health-care outcomes and reduce the burden of health-care spending.

In January, OBIO provided three significant recommendations to the provincial standing committee on finance and economics, all of which were focused on furthering bioscience industry priorities: Build companies and a sustainable industry that will strengthen Ontario’s economy; employ the best-educated, most innovative workers in the world; and provide cost-effective health-care solutions.

If Canada is to capitalize on the potential in its biotech sector, we have to make it a priority and collaborate on a long-term strategy codified in a national industrial policy.


Realizing the Promise of Healthcare Innovation in Ontario

The OBIO® Innovation Adoption Initiative is a product of the Ontario Bioscience Economic Strategy Team (OBEST®), an initiative launched by OBIO® to address the challenges faced by Ontario’s human health technology and bioscience industry. Its goal is to recommend policy avenues that catalyze commercialization for the therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics, and health information technology (health IT) sectors while strengthening the province’s capacity to deliver cost-effective care for patients and caregivers as intelligently and innovatively as practicable.

Read the full Innovation Adoption Initiative report here.