Employment Law

AbCellera cutting 10% of workforce, reorganizing business

A photo of vials in red containers. (Photo: Mat Napo / Unsplash)

AbCellera Biologics Inc. (AbCellera) is scaling back its staffing levels as it reorganizes its business.

In a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Vancouver-based antibody therapy firm announced that it’s eliminating approximately 10 per cent of its workforce “to better focus its efforts towards the clinical development of new antibody medicines for patients.”

“The reorganization is consistent with long-term plans to prioritize strategic partnerships and internal drug development, and to increase operational efficiency across the business,” the SEC filing reads.

The reduction comes just months after AbCellera announced a new $701-million project, which includes building a biotech campus in Vancouver with “state-of-the-art capabilities.”

Last November, the company employed nearly 500 people, according to its Q3 2022 earnings release.

Major layoffs continue

The job cuts at AbCellera come amid a flurry of layoffs in 2023.

Big names, including Broadcom, Amazon, National Bank, RBC, BMO, Canadian Tire, PwC, Maersk, Nokia, and Ubisoft, have pulled out the axe as they continue to navigate challenging economic conditions.

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Termination agreements for AbCellera employees

As part of the layoff announcement, AbCellera said in the SEC filing that it expects to “incur approximately US$2.5 million in cash expenses in connection with the workforce reduction.”

In Canada, non-unionized employees at the antibody therapy firm are owed full severance pay when they lose their jobs due to downsizing, corporate restructuring, or the closure of the business.

This includes individuals working full-time, part-time, or hourly in B.C., Alberta, and Ontario.

People working “on contract” or as a contractor may also be owed severance pay — given that many employees in Canada are often misclassified as independent contractors.

Severance can be as much as 24 months’ pay, depending on a number of factors.

Severance for provincially regulated employees
Rights to severance for pharmaceutical industry workers
Severance entitlements during mass layoffs

WATCH: Employment lawyer Lior Samfiru explains what rights employees have if they are being fired or let go on an episode of the Employment Law Show.

Before you accept any severance offer, have an experienced employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP review it and your employment contract.

We can tell you if what you have been provided is fair and how to get proper severance if it falls short of what you are actually owed.

If you don’t receive the full amount, which happens often, you have been wrongfully dismissed and are entitled to compensation.

In some cases, employers pressure staff into accepting poor severance packages, such as imposing a deadline for accepting the offer.

Non-unionized employees in Canada have up to two years from the date of their dismissal to pursue a claim for full severance pay.

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