Mitacs partners with B.C. government to provide innovation skills opportunities for underrepresented people

Vancouver, BC – Mitacs is partnering with the B.C. government and Crown agency Innovate BC to support the Innovator Skills Initiative program which helps underrepresented people get their first job in B.C.’s innovation sector and supports companies facing skill shortages to grow and expand.

The Mitacs program will support businesses looking for talent to solve their innovation challenges while providing meaningful work-integrated learning opportunities for students in B.C. This program will support students while helping businesses that have been adversely affected by the economic downturn resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The B.C. Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery, and Innovation will provide $3 million through Innovate BC. Mitacs will leverage this funding into a $13.125M investment including support from federal, academic and industry partners to finance 750 innovation internships in the province.

Priority for these innovation internships will be given to students from groups that have been adversely affected by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and that have been historically underrepresented in the innovation sector.

Preference will be given to candidates who self-identify as part of an underrepresented group including, but not limited to, students who are Indigenous, visible minorities, persons with disabilities, women, members of the LGBTQ2+ community, and therefore face additional barriers to participation in our programs. 

As B.C. and Canada begin the post-COVID-19 economic recovery, Mitacs will continue to work hard to build a more equitable and prosperous future for all.


Ravi Kahlon, B.C. Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery, and Innovation

“We are building an economy that works for everyone – one that is sustainable, innovative and inclusive of all British Columbians. When COVID-19 swept the province, hardships fell disproportionately on many including Indigenous, Black, people of colour, women, and other underrepresented people. At the same time, many B.C. companies are growing and need help filling in-demand technology roles. This program will help clear pathways for skilled, underrepresented people who deserve meaningful, long-term employment that helps them support their families.”

Raghwa Gopal, President and CEO of Innovate BC

“Technology is needed for most companies to expand and reach new markets. The Innovator Skills Initiative can help B.C. businesses hire the technology workers they need to move forward. The program also gives participants valuable, paid experience that can lead to a long-term job within the same company or open a door to another job opportunity.”

John Hepburn, Mitacs CEO and Scientific Director

“Mitacs is pleased to support the redesigned B.C. Innovator Skills Initiative program. Ensuring that underrepresented groups are given the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in innovative sectors is critical to providing a more equitable post-COVID-19 economic recovery and to building a brighter future for B.C. and for Canada.”

About Mitacs

  • Mitacs is a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions.