Innovative Device for Plant Pest Surveillance (EN578-170003/25)

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Tender Notice


Publishing status


Publication date
Amendment date
Date closing
2019/01/29 14:00 Eastern Standard Time (EST)


Reference number
Solicitation number
Region of opportunity
Region of delivery
Notice type
Request for Proposal (RFP)
Trade agreement
  • None
Tendering procedure
Solely Canadian content
Procurement entity
Public Works and Government Services Canada
End user entity
Public Works and Government Services Canada

Contact Information

Contact name
Secrétariat de Solutions Innovatrices Canada / Innovative Solutions Canada Secretariat
Contact email
Contact address
10 Wellington
Gatineau  QC
K1A 0S5

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December 18, 2018

Attachment 1 has been added. The document contains questions and answers related to the Challenge.


This Challenge Notice is issued under the Innovative Solutions Canada Program Call for Proposals 002 (EN578-170003/C).

Please refer to the Solicitation Documents which contain the process for submitting a proposal.

Steps to apply:

Step 1: read this challenge

Step 2: read the Call for Proposals

Step 3: propose your solution

Challenge title: Innovative Device for Plant Pest Surveillance

Sponsoring Department: Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Funding Mechanism: Contract

Maximum Contract Value:

Multiple contracts could result from this Challenge.

The maximum funding available for any Phase 1 Contract resulting from this Challenge is $100,000.00 CAD (plus tax) including shipping, travel and living expenses, as applicable, for up to 6 months.

The maximum funding available for any Phase 2 Contract resulting from this Challenge is $300,000.00 CAD (plus tax) including shipping, travel and living expenses, as applicable, for up to 2 years. Only eligible businesses that have completed Phase 1 could be considered for Phase 2.

This disclosure is made in good faith and does not commit Canada to contract for the total approximate funding.

TRAVEL:  For Phase 1 it is anticipated that two meetings will require the successful bidder(s) to travel to the location identified below:

Kick-off meeting

Ottawa, Ontario

Final Review Meeting

Ottawa, Ontario

Problem Summary Statement

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is seeking an innovative device that could be used to detect volatile organic compounds associated with the presence of targeted invasive alien plant pests across Canada.

Problem Statement

The CFIA’s national plant protection surveillance program provides information in support of import, export and domestic regulatory programs, forming the basis for sound regulatory decisions. To date, surveillance activities have been mainly restricted to traditional survey activities, such as the deployment of traps and lures, and visual surveys. To detect new populations of non-indigenous plant pests, semiochemicals (host tree kairomones and aggregation pheromones) are used to bait traps. However, semiochemicals are not available for various groups of plant pests of concern. Visual signs and symptoms related to pest presence can be very cryptic, making it challenging to effectively survey for those pests. Surveillance activities also include import inspections to detect pests that could enter Canada via various commodities/conveyances, but there are sometimes challenges in detecting pests hidden in those shipments. Volatile organic compounds emitted from plants, which provide functional information about the plant’s growth, defense, and health status, allow for the possibility of monitoring plants’ status using non-invasive detection. Similarly, volatile organic compounds can be emitted from specific plant pests’ life stages. 

The challenge is to develop a device that could be used operationally and incorporated into daily surveillance activities to detect volatile organic compounds associated with the presence of targeted invasive alien plant pests.

Desired outcomes and Considerations

Essential (Mandatory) Outcomes

Proposed solutions must:

  1. allow for a fast and non-invasive approach for the diagnosis of insects and diseases of plants in various commodities (e.g., wood products, grain, nursery stock, trees) and in/on large structures (e.g., containers, ship superstructures) or facilities (e.g. grain silos, warehouses) and in post-office/courier hubs. 
  2. be portable and/or self-propelled (like a robot vacuum)
  3. be able to detect volatile compounds associated with the presence of one or multiple life stages of one or more of the following organisms: Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis), gypsy moth (Lymantria species), khapra beetle, exotic snails (i.e., giant African land snails or European brown garden snails), oak wilt disease (Ceratocystis fagacearum) and some invasive plants/ seeds. For Asian longhorned beetle and gypsy moth, the device must be able to distinguish the origin or source of the emitted volatiles to the genus (e.g. Anoplophora or Lymantria) level. For Lymantria, the device must be able to delineate to the species level.
  4. be specific in terms of targeted species and it needs to be very sensitive: confidence in the detection/non-detection results must be of at least 90%.
  5. be controlled remotely, programmable and able to record and store in a digital form its findings which can then be easily accessed either remotely in real-time or by downloading to a computer or other mobile device.

Additional Outcomes


Background and Context

The development of a device able to detect volatile organic compounds associated with the presence of plant pests would greatly enhance CFIA’s plant health detection capacity during targeted surveillance/sampling, and would contribute to the overall delivery of CFIA’s plant protection mandate.

Semiochemicals are not always available for plant pests of concern, and reliance on visual signs and symptoms related to pest presence can be challenging. Therefore, our ability to detect newly introduced pests may be very low until the population level increases significantly. Unfortunately, if the population level is high, this has a huge negative impact on CFIA’s ability to control and eradicate the new introductions.

Over the last few years, new technologies have started to change the way that surveillance is being delivered. Although sniffer dogs and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are becoming more popular for surveillance activities in plant protection, little progress has been made into incorporating new technologies to our plant health surveillance tool kit. UAVs and sniffer dogs are now being used in some jurisdictions (e.g. United States of America, Chile, New Zealand and European Union) to detect plant pests over a larger area, to detect plant pests for which lures are not available and/or to detect pests that have shown to be difficult to detect using traditional surveillance methods. For example, sniffer dogs have been shown to effectively detect a number of plant insects and diseases, including the Asian longhorned beetle and plum pox virus. The Canada Border Services Agency also uses detector dogs to detect plant products at ports of entry across Canada, serving both traveler and commercial operations. However, the ongoing need for training and maintenance means the utilization of detector dogs for plant health surveillance over large areas and/or at various locations may not be practical for all situations. Furthermore, due to the sheer volume and diversity of commodities and origins and the cryptic nature of some pests, the risk of pests being introduced into Canada has increased.


All enquiries must be submitted in writing to no later than ten calendar days before the Challenge Notice closing date. Enquiries received after that time may not be answered.

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FileAmendment numberLanguageUnique Download Event (English page)Date added
attachment_1_-_questions_and_answers_1_2_-_en578-17003-25.pdfNot availableEnglish- 2018-12-18
piece_jointe_1_-_questions_et_reponses_1_2_-_en578-17003-25.pdfNot availableFrench- 2018-12-18