Ontario has snared a $100-million deal from vaccines giant Sanofi Pasteur to develop lifesaving vaccines in Toronto. It is a major coup for the province, which has been losing manufacturing jobs left, right and centre, and highlights the Liberal government's plan to boost economic stability by establishing Ontario as a biopharmaceutical research and development hub.
Ontario inks $100M research deal
SanofiPasteur, a division of French giant Sanofi-Aventis Group, yesterday said it would invest $100-million in a new R&D facility at the company's Connaught Campus in Toronto, which will develop vaccines for diseases such as meningitis, cancer and whooping cough.
Premier Dalton McGuinty said Ontario would inject $13.9-million into project, its first investment from its $150-million ''Next Generation Jobs Fund," which was set up in January to woo pharmaceutical R&D to the province. Ontario houses more than a half of Canada's pharmaceutical companies and is the third-largest biotechnology centre in North America.
"I can tell you that we were in competition with a number of places around the world," Mr. McGuinty said at Sanofi Pasteur's Connaught Campus yesterday, referring to competition from France and the United States.
He said the investment secures the existing 900 jobs at the Toronto plant and will create at least 30 high-quality full-time jobs for the scientific community as well as 300 part-time jobs in construction.
"The other great aspect of R&D jobs is that, for every one R&D job, you create four to seven other jobs," he said, adding that innovation would play a major role in Ontario's future.
The province has lost thousands of manufacturing jobs in the past year as the shifting global paradigm makes Canadian goods less competitive. On a national basis, 3.4% of job losses, equal to 72,800 positions, were lost in factories last year, a TD Financial Group report said yesterday. It found that construction and the health care sector were the fastest-growing areas of employment, up 6% and 3.4%, respectively.
Derek Burleton, senior economist at TD Financial Group, said the SanofiPasteur deal was a step in the right direction for Ontario, and Canada in general.
"R&D is a soft spot in Canada. Research and development spending is certainly going to be a key way to diversify the economy going forward."