Innovation Canada is committed to inclusion

At Innovation Canada, we recognize that diverse workforces and inclusive workplaces foster innovation, growth and adaptability. And we know that these workplaces, while the ultimate goal, are not always the reality.

We support diversity both in the companies we serve, and right here in our own workplace. That means ensuring that diverse groups, such as, persons with disabilities, women, Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), members of racialized groups and members of the LGBTQ2+ communities, have a seat at the table, and that they feel welcome and included.

That’s why Innovation Canada has committed to providing inclusive programs and services – so that all eligible businesses have an equitable opportunity to benefit from what we offer. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it makes good sense for Canadian businesses.

That’s also why we, as employees, are committed to cultivating workplace diversity and inclusion. We know that to truly provide inclusive programs, and to better serve our clients, we need to embody the kind of innovation ecosystem we promote. We need to look inwards, and continue to improve.

Click the links below for an update on how we are fulfilling our commitments:


Engaging with businesses owned and led by members of underrepresented or disadvantaged groups to understand the barriers they face.

  • We conduct outreach activities geared toward entrepreneurs from equity-seeking groups about Innovation Canada’s programs and services:
  • We work with experts in the Indigenous business ecosystem and actively seek out collaboration opportunities with Indigenous leaders and entrepreneurs.
  • Our Innovation Advisors have experience working with various equity-seeking groups including Indigenous entrepreneurs and women-led businesses.

Collecting better data on our operations to identify potential obstacles, biases and barriers, particularly those faced by underrepresented and disadvantaged groups.

  • We collect demographic data about the ownership of the companies who apply and succeed in obtaining funding and services from our programs on an ongoing basis. We use this data to track representation at different stages of the application process, and to understand which businesses are succeeding and where there are barriers for demographic groups.
    • Strategic Innovation Fund asks applicants to provide demographic data on their senior management teams and workforces.
    • Canada Digital Adoption Program collects demographic profiles on youth placements funded by the program, and data about ownership of the firms who provide services to the program’s clients. Small and medium-sized businesses also have the option to self-identify during the application process.
    • ElevateIP requires funding recipients to track who is accessing their services and what percentage are from equity-seeking groups.

Cultivating an inclusive culture within Innovation Canada, to support a diverse workforce and motivate and equip employees to design and deliver programs and services that are as inclusive as possible.

  • We facilitate dedicated discussions for Innovation Canada employees from equity-seeking communities to share their lived experiences in the workplace with each other. These discussions help us understand where and how we have to improve internally so our workplace welcomes and respects everyone.
  • We seek out inclusive training and learning opportunities. This ranges from learning about the challenges faced by business owners from particular demographic communities, to training on inclusive service delivery.
  • We redesigned the Strategic Innovation Fund website and maintain tools like the Business Benefits Finder based on accessibility principles. We conduct ongoing user-testing to make them as user-friendly as possible as we work towards creating barrier-free services for all businesses and people in Canada.

Putting inclusive practices and policies at the heart of everything we do. This means continuing to ensure our websites and materials are accessible, addressing potential barriers in our policies and practices, and supporting employees through learning, discussion and growth.

  • Our Business Benefits Finder has an option for users to search for government programs that support businesses owned by different demographic groups.
  • Small and medium-sized businesses using the Canada Digital Adoption Program digital advisor marketplace can use filters to find firms that provide tailored services to business owners from equity-seeking groups.
  • Applicants to Innovative Solutions Canada can receive points towards their proposal qualification if it includes concrete examples of how their proposed solution will positively impact and encourage equity, diversity and inclusion in employment and supply chains.
  • ElevateIP considers applicant experience providing services to members of equity-seeking groups and asks funding recipients to implement plans to address barriers faced by business owners from these groups.
  • Global Innovation Clusters must have gender-parity on its boards of directors as a condition of funding and their boards must include representation of Canada’s multicultural diversity. The Clusters also promote Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada’s (ISED) 50-30 Challenge to their members to support diversity in their respective ecosystems, and most have committed to the Challenge as participating organizations.
  • Strategic Innovation Fund contribution agreements include commitments to develop a ‘Gender and Diversity Plan’ which requires recipients to set equity, diversity and inclusion goals that can be reported annually to the Minister of ISED.

All personal information created, held or collected by this department is protected under the Privacy Act. This means that you will be informed of the purpose for which it is being collected and how to exercise your right of access to that information. Your information will not be used for other purposes, except if required for specifically identified purposes listed in the Privacy Act.