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Government uses procurement to help small businesses grow and create jobs

December 14, 2017 – Ottawa – As the single-largest purchaser of Canadian goods and services, the Government of Canada will use procurement to help Canadian small businesses innovate and create employment opportunities for Canadians.

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, together with the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism, today announced the $100-million Innovative Solutions Canada program that invites Canadian small businesses to develop novel solutions to challenges proposed by federal departments and agencies.

Whether the challenge is developing a way to make armour more resistant to chemicals or improving wireless connectivity in connected vehicles, the federal department or agency will ask small businesses to innovate and propose a solution. The government will work with the winning business and act as its first customer, helping the companies take their idea to market and advance the next generation of solutions that can become viable commercial products.

Twenty federal departments and agencies will participate in the new program and identify problems spanning the military, economic and environmental sectors.

Innovative Solutions Canada is a key component of the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year strategy to create well-paying jobs for the middle class.


“Our government’s new Innovative Solutions Canada program is a big winner on several fronts. We’re being proactive and transforming our challenges into opportunities—opportunities for innovation, economic growth and small business success that will result in a vibrant innovation economy and more middle-class jobs for Canadians.”

– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“We believe innovative Canadian small businesses are well positioned to help the government solve some of its more persistent challenges. Through Innovative Solutions Canada, we are asking entrepreneurs to develop new products and services that will help to solve these challenges, while also enabling these entrepreneurs as they work to expand to new markets and sell to new customers around the world. The benefits from this program are clear: the Government of Canada will be able to acquire new products and services that will improve our work, while hard-working small business owners will be able to grow their businesses and create more well-paying middle-class jobs.”

– The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism

“Our community of early-stage investors, incubators and accelerators provides much-needed coaching, connections and capital to Canada’s early-stage companies seeking to grow and scale up. Many times, their ‘first customer’ serves as critical validation that allows these companies to penetrate their markets locally and globally. The Innovative Solutions Canada program announced today will help Canadian companies gain early customer traction while also allowing Canadians to benefit from the adoption of homegrown innovative solutions.”

‑ Sandi Gilbert, Chair of the Board, National Angel Capital Organization (NACO Canada)

Quick Facts

  • Program funding will come from the 20 departments and agencies participating in Innovative Solutions Canada. Each department will set aside 1 percent of its research and development expenditures for this initiative.
  • Innovative Solutions Canada is modelled on the U.S. Small Business Innovation Research program and is an essential component of the Government of Canada’s efforts to help small businesses.
  • Innovative Solutions Canada will encourage submissions from businesses owned and led by women, Indigenous peoples, youth and other traditionally under-represented groups.


Follow the department on Twitter: @ISED_CA

Karl W. Sasseville
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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