Home » Opportunity in BC » Life Sciences

Life Sciences in British Columbia

Leading in Life Sciences

British Columbia (B.C.) is alive with scientific innovation and features one of the fastest growing life sciences sectors in Canada. In fact, the number of life sciences businesses based in the province grew by 26.5% between 2018 and 2021. The sector is characterized by a supportive and cohesive ecosystem of talent, partnerships, infrastructure and investment.

Starfish Life Sciences Researcher

Sector Profile

Fostering Innovation


B.C. is home to 50+ Life Sciences research centres and several centres of excellence

Life Sciences BC (2018-2021)

B.C. has had the fastest growth of Life Sciences business start-ups in Canada

Life Sciences Sector Profile (May 2023)

Second-fastest employment growth in the sector among all provinces

Life Sciences Sector Profile (May 2023)

We offer:

  • Bio-innovation excellence B.C. is a leading centre for scientific innovation and the sector demonstrates a particular strength in research and development (R&D). Overall, the R&D industry, a subset of the Research, Testing and Medical Laboratories industry group, made up over one-quarter (26%) of the sector’s total employment in 2021, the highest share in Canada.
  • Skilled and educated workforce – At the forefront of innovation and research in the industry, B.C.’s 25 public post-secondary institutions offer a range of health sciences and applied and natural sciences training programs in areas such as biotechnology, microbiology and immunology, molecular biology, genetics, clinical genetics technology, behavioral neurosciences, and biomedical engineering and technology. The government is investing almost $75M over three years to create 3,000 more tech-learning spaces in the public post-secondary education system. These spaces cover a range of areas including life sciences. The B.C. Future Ready Action Plan will provide grants for new training opportunities, create more tech-relevant post-secondary spaces to meet demands, and address barriers to access education and skills training. In addition, the new National Biomanufacturing Training Centre located on the campus of the BC Institute of Technology, will offer hands-on biomanufacturing training to current and future industry employees.
  • Local partners – B.C.’s life sciences sector is highly collaborative and supported by industry organizations and accelerators, governmental organizations, universities and research hospitals, and other organizations that co-ordinate and fund research and clinical trials. The new Clinical Support and Research Centre (CSRC) at the new St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, will bring medical staff and researchers together – along with academic, industry researchers to explore new frontiers in bioengineering, nanotechnology, virtual reality, augmented reality and simulation. The partnerships forged in the province between researchers, academia, clinicians and industry, community organizations and government agencies facilitate the development, transfer and commercialization of knowledge.
  • Supportive government – Life Sciences businesses in British Columbia benefit from the province’s open and diversified economy, advantageous location, attractive investment climate and skilled workforce. With the B.C. Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy, the government is positioning B.C. as a global hub for life sciences and biomanufacturing and the development of commercial-scale biopharmaceutical and medical manufacturing. Canadian controlled businesses in B.C. may qualify for a scientific research and experimental development (SR&ED) tax credit top up of 10% if they qualify for the federal government SR&ED tax credit of up to 35%.  In addition, the Small Business Venture Capital tax credit encourages investors to make equity capital investments in B.C. small businesses. This gives B.C. entrepreneurs access to early-stage venture capital to help them expand and develop their businesses.
  • Ideal location – British Columbia’s prime location on Canada’s Pacific coast, immediately north of Washington State, provides a natural gateway to Asia as well as easy access to the United States. Collaboration across time zones is made possible by the fact that B.C.’s business day overlaps with morning work schedules in Asia, afternoon working hours in Europe, and is synchronized for the full day with California and Washington State.

Connect With An Expert

Our Trade and Investment Representatives can help you establish the right connections, participate in events and tradeshows, explore programs and initiatives, and more. Connect with an expert near you.