Ravie Samaroo takes chances and seizes opportunities

Alumni profile

From pharmaceuticals to cannabis – Seneca graduate makes the most of his studies

Ravie Samaroo takes chances and seizes opportunities

February 14, 2024

When Ravie Samaroo first enrolled in Seneca’s Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs & Quality Operations (RAQC) graduate certificate program, he had no idea that he would soon be working at the forefront of the Canadian cannabis industry.

“It’s not a career path that I normally would have seen for myself,” Mr. Samaroo said of his role as Senior Quality Assurance Auditor at the Ontario Cannabis Store (OSC), the Crown agency that has a monopoly on the legal distribution of pot in the province. “I don’t think I would have even considered this industry or this pathway if it hadn’t been for the RAQC program.”

Born in Trinidad and Tobago before immigrating to Canada at the age of 12, Mr. Samaroo completed his undergraduate degree in science at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. After a variety of jobs a former boss recommended that he look into post-graduate programs in regulatory affairs as a way to advance his career and elevate his skill set.

“Attending Seneca was a really good experience for me,” Mr. Samaroo said. “A lot of the information being presented was easy to digest and I felt like everything was very applicable.”

“It was all very hands-on. The instructors actually had industry-related experience and would share anecdotes from things they’ve seen in the field or work that they've done”

Along with smaller class sizes than he was used to, Mr. Samaroo also appreciated the expertise that his instructors brought to each subject.

“It was all very hands-on. The instructors actually had industry-related experience and would share anecdotes from things they’ve seen in the field or work that they’ve done.”

Upon graduation, Mr. Samaroo got back into pharmaceuticals and spent time at both established, global companies such as Baylis Medical Inc. as well as fast-paced start-ups such as Xagenic Inc. After a few years, he was looking for a change.

Portrait of Ravie Samaroo

“I was kind of bored with desk work and really wanted to get into auditing. I knew that I enjoyed going into the field and seeing how things are being done on the site,” Mr. Samaroo said.

One industry that he had his eye on was the recently legalized cannabis industry.

“I started with the OCS a year after they launched, so the company was still fairly new,” Mr. Samaroo said. “It’s interesting, there is the pace of working for a Crown corporation, but it’s almost like being at a start-up again because it is still such early days.”

As a Senior Quality Assurance Auditor, Mr. Samaroo works with suppliers in Ontario and across Canada to assess compliance and ensure that finished products meet both OCS and Health Canada standards and regulations.

With more job opportunities and emerging industries that require consistent quality assurance, Mr. Samaroo believes that students coming out of the Seneca program are well equipped for the future.

Since completing the REQC program in 2013, Mr. Samaroo has been asked on a few occasions to speak to current students. His message to Senecans is clear: “Don’t be afraid to take chances.”

“I would say that all of my career paths have been through taking chances on roles where I see potential,” Mr. Samaroo said. “Keep an open mind, see how you can apply yourself and you never know what skills you will gather along the way.”

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