The recovery of our post COVID-19 sector will hinge on the workforce, among other things. Quebec will certainly need our companies, our researchers and our innovative technologies to contribute to the economic recovery. To do this, our research centres and our companies must be able to count on a talent pool, both in terms of quantity and quality.

Do we have the graduates, the professionals, the qualifications and the skills required in Greater Montreal to meet the needs? To answer this question, last year we carried out, in collaboration with the Conseil Emploi Métropole and Pharmabio Development, a major study on the alignment of employment, education and skills in the life sciences and health technologies (LSHT) sector in the Greater Montreal area as well as a comparative study on best practices in continuing education. These studies were supposed to be officially launched at EFFERVESCENCE 2020, which could not be held for reasons of which you are aware. We are therefore pleased to share them with you today.

You will notice a number of very compelling observations, including the existence of an overall adequacy for LSHT positions, an unstable balance between supply and demand. But it is also clear to me that there are problems in terms of jobs in health information technologies, including, most notably, artificial intelligence, data science and bioinformatics. To attract and retain this talent, we are competing with all the other industrial sectors that are making this task more difficult.

Based on these findings, Montréal InVivo launched the CONTINUUM project, to foster the creation of hybrid profiles combining biology and data science. Backed by the Conseil Emploi Métropole and carried out with several partners in academic institutions, this initiative is to offer personalized training in the field of bioinformatics and data science to professional cohorts whose incomplete profile would otherwise deter employability in the market. This solution to align education and employment will combine in-company coaching and academic training. I sincerely believe that we are going to be able to make a difference for businesses and employees in the sector who wish to add another feather to their cap.

Now, the question at hand is how will the pandemic affect these observations that we made in 2019? Will the precarious balance be altered? Will the gaps widen further or be filled? What will be the impacts of the new ways of working remotely, in a teleworking arrangement? The future holds many relevant, fascinating topics of study.