News release

Mississauga Partners with Life Sciences Companies to Advance Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Business and innovation | June 17, 2021

The City of Mississauga’s Economic Development Office (EDO), in collaboration with the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (Canada Region), is pleased to announce the establishment of the Equity and Diversity Collaborative – a consortium of health-care and life sciences companies dedicated to advancing gender equity and diversity in the workplace.

“In Mississauga, gender equity and diversity is a priority for the City, and we have started our own work, looking internally to identify gaps and develop strategies to address barriers,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “We’re pleased to partner with the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association and the many life sciences companies that are dedicated to recognizing this and committed to taking action from both a social imperative and business improvement perspective. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and as we focus on economic recovery in our community, we’re working to build back better and ensure everyone within our community is supported.”

The work this Collaborative is undertaking aligns with the City’s Economic Recovery Framework and will focus on taking an inclusive approach, leaving no one behind. There are 17 founding member companies, small and large, from various sub-sectors within the life sciences industry, including biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical technology and medical devices.

“Change begins when we seek to understand. Impact happens when we come together to do something about it,” Danielle Portnik, President and Co-Founder, Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, Greater Toronto Area. “We could not be more thrilled to see the overwhelming support to create lasting impact from these health care organizations and ensure we represent the communities and the patients we hope to serve.”

The Collaborative supports the mission of achieving gender parity and significant representation of other under-represented groups, including racialized persons, people living with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ2+ community at all levels of their organizations and on Canadian boards. Together, Collaborative members commit to taking an active role in defining strategies, measuring performance, creating change and inspiring others. The group meets on an ongoing basis throughout the year with biannual workshops to discuss the necessary environmental and systemic changes needed to accelerate change and transform the industry.

In 2021, the group will focus on improving recruitment, hiring and promotion practices that will lead to greater equity and diversity. The first Solutions Summit took place in April, where the Collaborative identified goals to work towards, including:

  • Improving job accessibility and ensuring a diverse candidate pool
  • Reducing bias in the hiring process
  • Introducing a diversity review process into succession and promotion planning

In future meetings, the group will dive deeper into identifying tactics to achieve these goals, share updates on their progress, challenges they are facing and insights they have learned.

“Research shows that a diverse workforce has broader, positive societal impacts, leading to greater economic growth. With the Collaborative, we know that many companies are taking progressive steps to address imbalances in diversity, equity and inclusion. By bringing these companies together, we can increase the scale and reach of this work to make a more significant difference in this endeavour,” said Harold Dremin, Acting Director, Economic Development. “Special thanks to the EDO team for all their work on this great initiative. As we look ahead, we will continue to work with our other key sectors to ensure that inclusive growth remains our top focus.”

Mississauga is home to the second-largest life sciences cluster in Canada, employing 25,000 people and representing a 27 per cent share of Ontario’s life sciences employment. A healthy life sciences sector brings increased economic growth, top talent, improved productivity and global competitiveness.

To learn more about advancements in Mississauga’s life sciences sector, visit


About Life Sciences in Mississauga
Mississauga is a connected ecosystem that cultivates and nurtures commercialization of life sciences innovations: a proven destination where diverse companies and exceptional talent grow, succeed and prosper. Mississauga is the second largest life sciences sector in Canada by employment, with more than 470 companies employing over 25,000 people.

About Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association Canada

As part of the global non-profit organization, HBA Canada was established in 2019 to elevate women into leadership positions and impact the future of healthcare in Canada. HBA Canada accomplishes its mission through strong business networks, education and leadership development and global recognition of outstanding individuals and companies.


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City of Mississauga Media Relations
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