Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) Announces New Challenge To Help Fight Wildfires

Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC), an Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Canada initiative, offers testing resources and potential procurement contracts for research and development pre-commercial projects that help solve major Canadian challenges. The ISC’s Challenge Stream allows Canadian SMEs to apply novel solutions towards government-identified challenges. Many successful challenges have helped produce globally adopted products and services while also improving government operations.

As Canada progresses through the 21st century, new and unique hurdles continue to arise. To address these concerns, the ISC has announced a new challenge to be solved. This novel challenge is called High Resolution Forest Mapping challenge.

“The Government of Canada is looking for innovators to solve challenges. As the single largest purchaser of Canadian goods and services, the Government of Canada has a unique opportunity to support the growth of Canadian innovators and entrepreneurs.”

-Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Listed below are further details regarding this current ISC challenge and how interested parties can begin their application process.

New Challenge: High Resolution Forest Mapping

The High Resolution Forest Mapping challenge is an ISC initiative aimed to address wildfire and wildfire hazard complications. It is challenging for government bodies to fight wildfires. It is equally challenging to reduce wildfire hazards. However, both can be made easier with the equipment needed to produce fast and reliable fuel attribute mapping data.

There are currently no software tools available to rapidly and effectively produce detailed vegetation fuel type maps and fuel attribute maps from airborne laser scanning data and digital aerial photogrammetry. Forestry operators typically use laser scanning and digital aerial photogrammetry to update enhanced forest inventory (EFI) maps; however, there are no software tools available to produce these maps in a cost-effective fashion. A lack of maps of fuel surface and understory forest structure is a significant problem for the management of forest fires.

Funding Amount

Funding for this challenge is provided in two phases.

Phase 1:

  • Successful applicants may receive up to a maximum of $150,000;
  • Funding may last for a maximum of six months; and
  • This challenge is estimating the allotment of two grants total.

Phase 2:

  • Successful applicants may receive up to a maximum of $1 million;
  • Funding may last for a maximum of 24 months;
    • Note: A business may only be considered for Phase 2 if they were successfully selected for Phase 1, and
  • This challenge is estimating the allotment of one grant total.

Eligible Applicants

Successful applicants may be selected if they are a small business which fits the following requirements:

  • Is a for-profit entity;
  • Is incorporated within Canada on the federal or provincial levels;
  • Has fewer than 500 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees;
  • Is currently operating research and development projects in Canada;
  • Has over 50% of annual wages, salaries, and fees dedicated to employee and contractor salaries who are located within Canada;
  • Has over 50% of the FTE employees listing Canada as their country of work; and
  • Has over 50% of senior executives (Vice President, etc.) listing Canada as their primary residence.

Essential Outcomes

Applicants for this challenge must be able to provide a thorough plan for implementing program-specified outcomes. The technology must achieve the following:

  • Must let users produce maps quickly upon data acquisition with a maximum time period of 4 weeks,
  • Must be capable of utilizing current data libraries to make maps with a range of spatial resolutions between 1×1 m and 30×30 m pixels, and
  • Must be an affordable technology to acquire that is priced on par with other geomatics software on the market.

Program Timelines

This challenge opened on February 21, 2022 and currently has a closing date of March 21, 2022.

Considering SR&ED for Research and Development

This ISC challenge, like many others, provide a great opportunity for Canadian SMEs to leverage government funding support for their research and development initiatives. However, for those who are unsuccessful in their applications, or are interested in considering alternative programs, the Scientific Research and Experimental Development program (SR&ED).

Although, ISC grants support a portion of the research and development costs for their successful applicants, many of the remaining costs may qualify for SR&ED tax credits on a cost shared basis, for prototypes that are being developed experimentally. This is because SR&ED is known as the largest source of Canadian federal government financial support for businesses. The aim of the program is to incentivise business-led research and development projects. To learn more about the SR&ED program, get in touch with a SR&ED professional now.

Exploring Government Funding Opportunities

The Innovative Solutions Canada program administers many unique challenges and opportunities for Canadian businesses relevant markets. However, if your organization is looking for general information on government funding, our website offers helpful free resources to assist in your research

To read more about success stories and government funding updates, check out our news page for daily updates. Also, if you’re ready for the application stage, contact a Mentor Works representative to get started today.


  1. Perhaps you should update your programs: both of the programs listed have closing dates a month or more in the past.

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