As evidenced by the recent scandal surrounding the absence of a chemist who is a member of the Ordre des chimistes du Québec (OCQ) at the Jacynthe René beauty care company, the issue of the importance of hiring chemists arises, outside the environment they are generally associated with, such as research or teaching.
Of course, chemists are found in the pharmaceutical field, which can hardly do without their expertise. Their role in this industry is essential, as in all fields that require chemistry. If this field is practised by a professional who is not a member of the OCQ it is considered illegal, as in the case of Mrs. René’s company, which remedied the situation by hiring a chemist following a letter received from the OCQ.
“It’s a matter of respecting the law,” explains Martial Boivin, president and CEO and secretary of the OCQ. He states that although the beauty care field does not particularly create jobs for chemists, it “allows chemistry consultants to fill out their work books.”
According to Emploi Québec’s Labour Market Information (LMI) website, demand for chemists is considered moderate until 2019, even though more and more fields are seeking them, such as beauty, nanotechnologies, mining, metallurgy, pulp and paper and government establishments. “Chemists actually work in all fields,” adds Mr. Boivin, a chemist himself and an MBA.
To be a chemist, you must first graduate from 1st cycle in university chemistry. You can then specialize in a chemistry field. According to the LMI, “professionals of this group can move from one speciality to another depending on the experience acquired. Experience provides access to positions of plant management, technical representation, preparation and management of regulatory and teaching programs,” the website summarizes. It also states that “a masters degree or doctorate is usually required to get a job as a chemistry researcher.”
Unlike Quebec, where a permit to practise issued by a provincial association (the OCQ) is required, it is optional in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.