Program eligibility and process

Program at a Glance

Before you begin solving, complete these steps:

  1. Step 1: Review eligibility criteria.

  2. Step 2: Subscribe to receive information on challenges.

  3. Step 3: Review the current challenges

  4. Step 4: Create your profile and begin proposing solutions using the "Propose a Solution" button. Please note that challenges are available for applications at various times, be sure to check the deadline to ensure your application is accepted.

  5. Step 5: An evaluation process will be conducted and selected innovators could receive up to $150,000 to develop a proof of concept.

  6. Step 6: Develop a proof of concept.

  7. Step 7: Evaluation of the proof of concept. Successful small businesses could receive up to an additional $1 million to develop the prototype.

Once the prototype is complete, participants are on the pathway to commercialization. The Government of Canada could be your first customer, or you could be ready to advance to the marketplace.

We look forward to receiving your innovative solutions!


Solution proposals can only be submitted by a small business that meets all of the following criteria:

  • for profit
  • incorporated in Canada (federally or provincially)
  • 499 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employeesFootnote *
  • research and development activities that take place in Canada
  • 50% or more of its annual wages, salaries and fees are currently paid to employees and contractors who spend the majority of their time working in CanadaFootnote *
  • 50% or more of its FTE employees have Canada as their ordinary place of workFootnote *
  • 50% or more of its senior executives (Vice President and above) have Canada as their principal residenceFootnote *

How it works

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

  1. Phase 1 (Proof of concept)

    If your proposal is selected, you will receive up to six months and up to $150,000 in funding to develop a proof of concept for your solution. The Department of National Defence is the only department which may exceed this amount of funding to develop a proof of concept.

  2. Phase 2 (Prototype development)

    With a successful concept, you would then be eligible to receive up to two years and up to $1 million in funding to support prototype development. The Department of National Defence is the only department which may exceed this amount of funding to develop a prototype.

  3. Phase 3 (Pathway to commercialization)

    Based on the success of the prototype developed in Phase 2, the federal department or agency that supported the early stage research and development may opt to procure the novel technology or service from the eligible Canadian small business. In Phase 3, funding is to be provided by resources other than the set-asides in Phases 1 and 2. There is no minimum or maximum a department can decide to spend.