Employment Law

BenchSci Layoffs: 17% of staff axed, investing in generative AI

A photo of a person using a laptop with a stethoscope beside them. (Photo: National Cancer Institute / Unsplash)

BenchSci, a Toronto-based artificial intelligence (AI) and biomedical startup, has confirmed to BetaKit that it has eliminated 17 per cent of its workforce, or 70 jobs.

What’s happening at BenchSci?

In a recent LinkedIn post, BenchSci said the decision to trim its headcount is a result of “shifts in the economic environment, operational efficiencies, and adaptation to technological advancements, specifically Generative AI.”

“We believe that Generative AI will continue to reshape preclinical R&D and have a substantial positive impact on our customers,” the post reads.

“As we look towards our future, these changes will allow us to further our investment in Generative AI and work toward making drug discovery more efficient and help bring new medicine to patients faster.”

Several staff members commented on BenchSci’s post — claiming that they had been let go.

According to the company’s LinkedIn page, it employs more than 340 people in Canada.

Termination agreements for BenchSci employees

In Canada, non-unionized employees at BenchSci 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 Ontario, Alberta, and B.C.

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.

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.

If you don’t receive the correct amount, which happens often, you have been wrongfully dismissed and should take legal action.

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

Severance for provincially regulated employees
Rights to severance for tech sector staff
• Severance packages during mass layoffs

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Major tech layoffs continue

BenchSci isn’t the only tech company that has announced sweeping job cuts to kick off 2024.

Other notable employers, including Discord, Google, Amazon, Twitch, Unity, and Xerox, have also pulled out the axe as they continue to navigate challenging economic conditions.

• Firm launches $130M class action against Shopify for breach of contract
Dehumidified Air Solutions in Ottawa closing, laying off 80: Reports
Where are layoffs happening in Canada?

Lost your job? Talk to an employment lawyer

If you have been fired or let go for any reason, contact the experienced employment law team at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.

Our lawyers in Ontario, Alberta, and B.C. have successfully represented tens of thousands of non-unionized individuals.

In addition to severance package negotiations, we can assist you on a broad range of employment matters, including:

If you are a non-unionized employee who needs help with a workplace issue, contact us or call 1-855-821-5900 to get the advice you need and the compensation you deserve.

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