Chemistry in Canada: Now and in the future

Canada is a multicultural nation with a high-quality education system and a focus on encouraging more students to study chemistry.

Canada is a geographically large country with a stable political system, strong economy, a well-respected social and international standing, beautiful scenery, and a strong chemical industry that is based on the country’s vast natural resources.

There are over 200 reputable universities and colleges in Canada offering some type of chemistry degree, making Canada a great destination for studying and/or working in chemistry.

Montreal city skyline

“Canada is a multicultural nation with respect for diversity”

Chemistry in Canada nowAlthough employment opportunities in chemistry are not immune to economic performance, there is a higher demand for the chemistry profession in a wide range of jobs. Oil, mining, agricultural (fertiliser), and water industries - as well as research facilities working on advanced materials science and engineering - are hiring chemists and chemical engineers with college to PhD degrees. Canadian and international students who completed their high school degree with courses in maths and science can, and are encouraged to, apply to Canadian universities and colleges to study chemistry.

Canada is a multicultural nation with respect for diversity and accepts 250,000 immigrants every year. As a result, universities and colleges in Canada have students with different cultural backgrounds. This, and the strong academic credentials of Canadian universities, creates a dynamic atmosphere for learning chemistry as well as gaining knowledge about different cultures, which will be another useful skill in finding a job in relevant industries that compete globally. These advantages make Canada a desired destination for international students for studying chemistry.

In Canada, the Chemical Institute of Canada (CIC) is the organisation that represents chemists, chemical engineers and chemical technologists. Membership is available to all professionals with a degree in chemistry and chemical engineering from colleges and universities. CIC and its constituent societies organise national and international conferences in the fields of chemistry and chemical engineering. This year, CIC is leading Canadian efforts in celebrating the International Year of Chemistry with many activities planned to raise awareness of the importance of chemistry in our life and in our world.

In the futureCanada’s current economy and vast natural resources put it in an advantageous position for creating a strong innovation-based economy. Further investment in innovation will be essential for achieving this goal. The enormous landscape of natural resources provides an opportunity to build many knowledge-based value chains by producing high value products from these resources. For example, there are opportunities in the oil industry for building high market value materials such as pharmaceutical compounds and their constituents. Canada also considers health and environment as other future priorities that will need chemists.

To reach this goal, Canada needs more chemists domestically and from abroad. Canadian high school students are encouraged to take and complete science and maths courses, high school graduates are encouraged to select chemistry and related fields for their higher education, and university students in chemistry are encouraged to complete their graduate degrees and then engage in building Canada’s innovation-based economy. International students are invited to come to Canada and join in a dynamic learning atmosphere at Canadian universities and colleges and be part of building the future of this multicultural society.

Dr Hadi K. Mahabadi (2011)
Chemical Institute of Canada
and VP and Director, Xerox Research Centre of Canada