Life Sciences

Life Sciences

Great Thinkers Help Inspire Great Ideas

Canada is home to one of the most innovative and competitive economies in the world. This has helped to make us a world leader in life sciences, generating over 4% of global knowledge despite accounting for less than 1% of the global population.

The Brains

Canada boasts a community of 30,000 researchers, 17 medical schools and over 100 teaching hospitals. Our universities collaborate closely with life science industries; a relationship that is further supported by public-private parnerships and goverment incentives.

The Bottom Line

Canadian life science companies are extremely cost competitive. Canada ranks fourth in medical device manufacturing costs, after the UK, Netherlands, and France but ahead of major manufacturing locations such as the US, Germany and Japan.

Canadian tax credits provide an attractive incentive to life sciences companies that invest heaviliy in R&D. Canada is now the eighth largest pharmaceutical market in the world.

Between 2006 and 2010 it grew by an average of 6.4 percent annually, making Canada the fourth fastest growing market after Brazil, China and Spain.


Canada has the second-highest number of biotechnology companies in the world, with the majority focused on human health. In particular, Canada boasts having expertise in clinical trials.


The largest pharmaceutical companies in the world have operations in Canada, often in R&D as well as manufacturing. They're attracted by Canadian infrastructure, talent, and ready access to key markets.

Medical Devices

The medical device industry is comprised of more than 1,000 firms with a total workforce of 26,000. Canada's strengths in medical device manufacturing include x-ray and radiation equipment, electronic diagnostic systems and electro-medical devices. 

Success Stories

Dr. Chandrashekar at the University of Waterloo developed the world’s first knee-injury simulator.
Novadaq Technologies in Toronto created the SPY imaging system, which provides clinically relevant images during surgical procedures.
Winnipeg-based IMRIS developed the world’s only movable, high-resolution, intra-operative MRI system.
A team at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute developed the world’s first bioengineered cornea.
In 2011, Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. received the Prix Galien Canada Innovative Product Award for its development of Praxada - a treatment for stroke prevention.
An engineer at the University of Alberta designed the C-Leg, microprocessor-controlled knee prosthesis.
Based in Montréal, Medtronic CryoCath designs, develops and manufactures catheter-based products for cryotherapeutic treatment of cardiovascular disease, now used in more than 500 medical centres around the world.
Imaging Dynamics in Calgary developed a digital-radiography-imaging system used in nearly 40 countries.

Host Your Next Meeting in Canada

Toronto, Ontario

Not only are the following areas life science hot beds in Canada, but Montreal, Waterloo, Ottawa, Toronto, Halifax, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver boast beautiful scenery, stunning facilities and wonderful culture.


Leslie Caton
Manager, Life Sciences Industry Development
Phone: 416-994-4051


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