Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC)

Receive up to $150k/$1M in Government Funding.

Innovative Solutions Canada is an initiative that provides government grants and procurement contracts to stimulate technology research, development, and commercialization. The program’s Challenge Stream and Testing Stream help startups and small/medium-sized businesses (SMEs) overcome technology testing and development hurdles so that they can produce globally-demanded products and services, while also improving government operations.

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Innovative Solutions Canada

Amount of Funding

Innovative Solutions Canada is structured around a graduated, three-phase process:

  1. Proof of Concept: Proving scientific and technical feasibility, and commercial potential, of an idea that addresses a public-sector challenge. Eligible applicants may receive up to $150,000 in Canadian government grants to offset up to six months of project expenses.
  2. Prototype Development: Developing a prototype based on the proof of concept in Phase 1. Eligible applicants may receive up to $1 million in Canadian government grants to offset up to two years of project expenses.
  3. Pathway to Commercialization: Should a Phase 2 prototype suit the needs of a government department, they may procure it from a business and become the innovation’s first purchase. There is no maximum to the amount of funds awarded through these contracts.
Amount of Funding from the Canadian Government

Innovative Solutions Canada

Eligible Applicants

To participate in the Innovative Solutions Canada program, companies must:

  • Be for-profit and privately held;
  • Be incorporated in Canada (federally or provincially);
  • Have a head office in Canada;
  • Have 499 or fewer full time equivalent (FTE) employees;
  • Pay at least 50% of annual wages, salaries, and fees to employees and contractors who spend a majority of their time working in Canada;
  • Have 50% or more of their full-time employees located as their ordinary place of work in Canada; and
  • Have 50% or more of its senior executives (Vice President and above) with their principal residence in Canada.
Eligible Applicants for Canadian Government Funding

Innovative Solutions Canada

Eligible Activities

Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) is a federal procurement and grant funding program established to provide a portion of government budgets for the purchase of domestic goods and services. Each of the 20 participating federal departments have allocated 1% of their annual budgets to support the program; this pool of funds will support a call for innovations through departmental ‘challenges’.

The Challenge Stream requests for solutions where the Canadian government needs access to technologies not yet commercially-available and must therefore be developed. Projects considered for support through Innovative Solutions Canada program must align with one of the government’s open departmental innovation challenges and have a current technology readiness level (TRL) of 1-6 for any challenges in the Challenge Stream.

An open intake stream of ISC exists as well, called the Testing Stream (previously called the Build in Canada Innovation Program), which supports the testing of pre-commercial innovative prototypes that can be tested in real life settings and can address a variety of priorities within the Government of Canada.

There are currently 20 federal departments and agencies participating in the program. This includes:

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada;
  • Canada Border Services Agency;
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency;
  • Canadian Space Agency;
  • Correctional Service Canada;
  • Employment and Social Development Canada;
  • Environment & Climate Change Canada;
  • Fisheries & Oceans Canada;
  • Global Affairs Canada;
  • Health Canada;
  • Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada;
  • Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada;
  • National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces;
  • National Research Council Canada;
  • Natural Resources Canada;
  • Public Health Agency of Canada;
  • Public Service and Procurement Canada;
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police;
  • Shared Services Canada; and
  • Transport Canada.
Eligible Expenses for Canadian Government Funding

Innovative Solutions Canada

Program Deadline

Each challenge in ISC’s Challenge Stream has a specific application deadline. Applications are due by the deadline stated with each challenge and on the open departmental innovation challenges.

ISC’s Testing Stream had the last intake close on February 5, 2021. For information on upcoming intakes, please visit The Government of Canada’s Testing Stream webpage.

When ready to apply, SMEs can create an online profile and submit a proposal for one of the program’s open innovation challenges. Proposals must demonstrate that businesses have the capacity and capability to complete a project. Challenges change frequently; companies should continuously check open challenges to ensure that they submit a proposal to applicable opportunities.

To discuss whether your organization is a good fit for the Innovative Solutions Canada program and learn how to optimize the application process, please contact Mentor Works.

Program Deadline for Canadian Government Funding
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