Pharmaceutical company Sanofi leaves Quebec for Ontario

French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi turns an important page in its history in the country by favoring Ontario over Quebec. As part of a nationwide restructuring, Sanofi Canada will close its head office and distribution center in Quebec in December, which will lead to the loss of nearly 85 jobs, it has learned. duty.

The company confirmed this information via email: [Malgré le fait] Although we will not have our head office and distribution center in Quebec at the end of 2022, we will maintain our presence in the province in order to continue to serve patients and our customers. »

Nearly 85 employees working in Laval or Kirkland will find themselves out of work by the end of the year. The company pledges to “treat everyone” [ses] Employees respectfully while implementing these changes and supporting them throughout.” They would have been informed of this restructuring in recent months; some were offered severance pay packages. The company states in its email that “details regarding personnel or organizational changes are confidential.”

The end of Sanofi’s operations in Quebec stems from a Canadian restructuring. Multinational companies claim that they prefer to concentrate their presence in one place, which is Toronto. This will foster a “highly collaborative environment among colleagues, which will allow for better sharing of ideas, experiences and skills between teams.”

In March 2021, the division of Sanofi Pasteur announced the opening of a plant in Queen City to produce the influenza vaccine for the elderly from Fluzone. More than C$815 million will be poured into the construction of these new facilities, a project that will be implemented in partnership with the governments of Canada, Ontario and Toronto.

“commercial decision”

Frank Perrod, CEO of Montreal InVivo, which includes hundreds of organizations and research centers in life sciences and health technologies in the Greater Montreal region.

He adds: “What makes me say that our efforts to attract factories – like Moderna’s efforts recently – are important and strategic in order to be able to retain or attract other Canadian head offices including – why not? – from Moderna for example.”

Sanofi currently employs approximately 2,000 people in Canada. In 2021, it invested more than $143 million in research and development in the country.

But if its investment has grown in recent years, the company’s presence in Quebec has weakened in the past decade. In 2012, Sanofi cut more than 125 jobs in the metropolitan area, mostly in Laval, where its laboratory and production site are located.

The company wasn’t then the only multinational to drastically reduce its workforce worldwide — and in the Montreal region, more specifically. Also in 2012, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca closed their research center in the city, cutting 126 and 132 jobs, respectively. At that time, the multinationals claimed that they had to restructure their activities due to the expected loss of revenue resulting from the expiration of some profitable patents.

This time around, Sanofi’s activities are being moved around at the same time that another pharmaceutical company, Moderna, is preparing to settle in Montreal. Announcing the arrival of an American pharmaceutical company specializing in mRNA vaccines in the city, Prime Minister François Legault was proudly pleased that Quebec had overtaken Ontario: “Quebec has won the battle for the Moderna factory.”

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