Testing Stream: Roadmap

Find question and answers about our Testing Stream, what it means to be pre-qualified and what steps are next.

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Questions and answers

What is the Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) Testing Stream?

The ISC Testing Stream is a federal government research and development (R&D) innovation procurement program that enables us to buy and test your pre-commercial goods and services in a real-life setting.

We leverage our government partnerships to test your innovation and provide you with valuable feedback before you launch your innovation into the marketplace.

What does it mean to be pre-qualified?

Congrats! Your proposal has been selected for the pool of pre-qualified innovations under the ISC Testing Stream. Your innovation, and all other successful innovation proposals, can now be considered for testing by federal government departments and agencies.

You are now able to begin marketing your innovation to potential testing partners, however, it is important to note that being a part of the pool of pre-qualified innovations does not guarantee that your innovation will be selected by a federal department / agency for testing, or that a contract will be awarded to test your innovation.

My innovation pre-qualified. What now?

Step 1: Finding a testing partner and securing funding

To be considered for funding, a testing partner must contact the program through our website or by email solutions@canada.ca to express an interest in testing your innovation.

When interest is received, the program will contact the interested Government of Canada official to:

  • better understand their proposed use-case;
  • evaluate the feasibility of testing your innovation in their desired setting; and
  • assess how the innovation may help the department advance its mandate.

Please note that you may be asked to conduct a technology demonstration or provide other supplementary information to support the federal department or agency in better understanding your innovation. The program will contact you should we require information on your innovation.

If the interested federal government department or agency wishes to proceed to develop a test plan for your innovation, you will be asked to provide the following information for program funding consideration:

  • Can your innovation be tested at the proposed testing location and are there any “must-have” facilities or equipment required to test your innovation?
  • How quickly can the innovation be manufactured and/or delivered? 
  • Does the innovation need access to a federal department/agency networks? Does it require cloud services?
  • What are the high-level procedures to test your innovation? (i.e. what do you need to do to deploy it and make sure it is working properly?)
  • How long does your innovation need to be tested to generate appropriate results? How soon can you start a project?
  • Are there any security or privacy considerations we should be aware of?
  • You will also be asked to provide a non-binding quote against the proposed test plan.

Once the program has a good understanding of the federal departments or agencies test plan, and has sufficiently collected the above information from you, the program will be ready to consider your innovation and the proposed test plan for funding approval.

If selected for funding approval, a program representative will be assigned to work with you to further refine your test plan and move through the next steps of the program, and funding will be earmarked for your test.

What organizations are eligible to test my innovation?

Potential testing partners include:

  • Any Government of Canada organization (including crown corporations). See the full list of eligible departments and agencies online.
  • Provinces, municipalities, hospitals, schools, and Indigenous organizations (with a federal sponsor). Federal organizations can sponsor third party testing if they are not best equipped to test themselves, but see benefit in understanding/seeing the results of the test. The program assesses this based on how the test of the innovation might help the testing department sponsor advance its mandate.

Please note that for a third-party test to be considered for funding through the ISC, a sponsoring federal government department or agency is mandatory. The sponsoring department or agency must contact the program with interest in the innovation to be considered.

What will the program do to market my innovation to federal departments or agencies?

The program will engage in the following activities to support finding interested federal testing partners:

  • The program will actively promote its list of pre-qualified innovation proposals with federal department and agency partners.
  • The program will actively seek to understand innovative and operational needs from our partner departments and agencies and cater pre-qualified innovation to them on those needs.

Step 2: Statement of Work development

Your ISC program representative will work with you, and ISC’s technical writer to develop a Statement of Work (SOW). It will form part of your eventual contract.

The SOW is one of the most important steps to ensuring you have a successful program experience. You will have to work with ISC’s technical writer, your ISC representative, and your federal department or agency testing partner to outline in detail the following:

  • A list of the goods and other items that you will have to provide – item and quantity
  • Specify the procedures the Contractor must perform for the installation or configuration of the innovation prior to its use and testing.
  • Provide details of any travel that will be required by your staff for training, supervision, guidance, test participation, etc.
  • Provide test objectives which specifically indicate the capabilities of the innovation that will be confirmed as part of the test
  • Outline the procedures that need to be followed to assess the test objectives

Note that the ISC technical writer will provide you with one-on-one guidance in developing your SOW. It is important you work with them to build a robust document as quickly as possible. It is likely you will have to work on 4-5 iterations of the SOW.

The program seeks to complete a SOW within 14-days in order to ensure that your file progresses to contract negotiations as quickly as possible.

Step 3: Contract negotiation

Through the contract negotiation process you will work with a Contracting Officer from Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to outline, justify and negotiate all the relevant costs associated with your SOW (test plan). Your ISC representative will support you as best they can through this process.

You will be required to provide the following documents and information through this process:

  • Signed Certifications which cover the following areas: Code of Conduct, Federal Employment Equity, Canadian Content, Ownership, Commercial sales, Former Public Servant, Price Certification.   
  • Proposal Cost Breakdown which will determine the appropriate amounts and frequency of payment against the contract deliverables and schedule outlined in the SOW. You will need to detail the applicable cost elements for the test.
  • Price Support which is required to demonstrate good value to the crown. You will need to provide some evidence to justify your prices, including but not limited to a copy of a recent contract, a copy of a recent invoice (issued within the last 6 months, if possible), or a publicly advertised price list for the required labour or items.

You will be provided with templates to assist you in completing the above.

You will be expected to work with PSPC and your ISC representative to be as responsive as possible through this process. The program’s service standard for contract negotiations is 30 days.


  • When you submitted your proposal, you agreed with the Terms and Conditions under Supply Manual Clauses and Conditions for 2040 Research and Development.
  • This reference will provide information on the topics that will be used during the contracting period.  Questions after having reviewed the link can be addressed by the contracting officer during contract negotiation

Step 4: Contract execution

Congrats! You now have a contract with the Government of Canada!

As soon as you receive email notification that your contract is awarded, you are expected to begin to work with your testing partner(s) to execute the contract. You will be expected to deliver your contract as detailed in the schedule in Annex A: Statement of Work (section 8.5). Your ISC representative will be managing your project to ensure deliverables are occurring on time and on budget. Please review your contract. It will tell you how to bill the program for work you’ve completed.

To support in these efforts, you will be asked to provide a monthly financial forecast of billing against each activity in the basis of payment of your contract to assist the program in budget management. You will be expected to bill as per the forecast you outline.

If you are behind in your billing, you will be expected to notify your ISC representative at the earliest possible time. Further, your ISC representative will use the financial forecast you provide to monitor progress on your contract and compare it against the claims you submit and follow-up where/ when necessary for progress updates.

If the program is not notified about delays or issues with contract execution, there is a risk that the program will not be able to maintain the funding profile against your contract, which could result in significant delays.

However, your ISC representative will work with you, your testing partner(s), and your PSPC Contracting Officer as best they can to develop approaches to get your project  on-track.

You will be regularly asked to provide updated financial figures as required by your ISC representative.

Step 5: Contract close

Every contract has an expiry date. Make sure you pay close attention to this date, as you cannot bill the program for any work completed after the contract has expired.

However, just because your contract is complete does not mean that your journey with the ISC Testing Stream is over. 


The program will connect with you post contract completion to ask you to complete two surveys:

  • Program participation questionnaire

In order to facilitate continuous program improvement, we will be seeking your feedback regarding your overall ISC Testing Stream experience.

  • Program impact questionnaire

In order to enable the program to better understand the relationship between a company's participation in the program and overall company growth we will request that you complete a brief and confidential questionnaire.

The questionnaire will be sent to you one year after completing your initial ISC Testing Stream contract.

Pathway to Commercialization

Our new pilot project gives SMEs the opportunity to sell their innovation directly to the Government of Canada.

Through the Pathway to Commercialization, any Government of Canada organization can purchase innovations on a commercial basis through a Direct Buy contract.

You will have 12 months after the completion of your initial ISC Testing Stream contract to signal your intent to apply and complete and application. In order to participate you must have received and successfully completed a initial ISC Testing Stream contract, be a small business, and your innovation must be ready for market (technology readiness level 9 and above).

Note that if you want to participate in the Pathway to Commercialization you will be required to re-certify your eligibility and meet entry criteria.

If successful, your innovation will be added to the source list for Pathway to Commercialization for a period of 3 years and Government of Canada organizations will have the ability to buy your innovation for up to $8M per contract, with no specified limit on the number of contracts that can be awarded through the Pathway.

Additional Sales

Additional sales is a procurement tool that allows testing departments to buy extra units of an innovation beyond the quantity purchased under the initial ISC Testing Stream contract. It also allows departments to test innovations who have previously been tested by other groups.

If you receive and complete an ISC Testing Stream contract, and have not entered the Pathway to Commercialization, you are eligible for up to 3 additional sales contracts. These contracts must:

  • be similar in nature and scope to your initial ISC Testing Stream contract; and
  • be in place no later than 2 years after the contract award date of your initial ISC Testing Stream contract. 

 Please visit our website to learn more about additional sales opportunities.