VIDO’s economic impact over half a billion dollars: SREDA study

Dec 19, 2022

Today, the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority (SREDA) released key findings from its Economic Impact Study conducted on the University of Saskatchewan’s (USask) Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO). The study concluded VIDO’s operations and construction projects contributed more than $511 million to the economy in the last decade. The impact of VIDO’s commercialized vaccines was not included in the study.

“Saskatoon is an international science and innovation hub. Organizations like VIDO create a significant number of jobs right here in Saskatoon. We are a science city and the impact of our innovation sector on the economy shouldn’t be underestimated,” said Alex Fallon, president and CEO of SREDA.

The report also indicated an estimated 2,375 full-time equivalent jobs were created or supported by the organization in the last 10 years. SREDA estimated the economic impact of VIDO using Statistics Canada’s input-output economic multipliers for the Saskatchewan economy.

“We know VIDO has an important role in protecting the health and prosperity of people and animals in our province and country,” said VIDO Director and CEO Dr. Volker Gerdts. “This study confirms our organization’s impact goes beyond the vaccines we have commercialized and validates VIDO is making a considerable impact to our local economy.”

COVID-19 led to a large spike in research activity which increased the total economic output from the organization. Specifically, VIDO tested more than 400 vaccines, antivirals, and therapeutics from around the world to help end the pandemic.

The ability to rapidly respond to future infectious diseases will be amplified as VIDO becomes Canada’s Centre for Pandemic Research. The centre includes VIDO’s new vaccine manufacturing facility, upgrades to Containment Level 4, a new animal housing facility, and an expanded research team. Since the start of the pandemic, 91 new team members joined VIDO—over half from outside of Saskatchewan.

“VIDO’s expansions over the past decade and vision for the future will support leading-edge science and ensure capacity for future pandemics,” said USask Vice-President Research Baljit Singh. “VIDO is also a major contributor to the economic development in Saskatoon and our province.”

The impact created by VIDO is strongly emphasized by reduced cost on the economy, the health-care system and saving lives. The report demonstrates VIDO’s value as a world-class research organization, not only to the health of the Canadian economy but across the world.

Results from an overall University of Saskatchewan Economic and Social Impact study currently being conducted by KPMG will be available for distribution in mid-2023.