THE INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS CANADA PROGRAM (ISC) - Challenge Stream - Call for Proposals (Call 003) (EN578-20ISC3)

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Tender Notice - Request for Proposal (RFP)


Days until closing
2 months 1 week hence


Publication date
Amendment date
Date closing
2021/08/31 00:00 Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)


Region of delivery
  • Canada
End user entity
Public Works and Government Services Canada
Procurement entity
Public Works and Government Services Canada
Region of opportunity
  • Canada
Tendering procedure
Solely Canadian content
Trade agreement
  • None
Reference number
Solicitation number


There are new open challenges


Introduction and Procurement Approach

Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) helps Canadian innovators by funding research and development (R&D) and testing prototypes in real-life settings.

Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) is issuing a Call for Proposals (CFP) on behalf of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and participating departments, seeking innovative solutions to address a wide range of challenges facing federal departments and agencies. The purpose of this CFP is to create various pools of potential solutions that Canada may select from to address the challenges.

This CFP will be published on an ongoing basis for PWGSC to post Canada’s challenges. Details related to each challenge, including available funding, the duration and their specific closing date, will be published under distinct Challenge Notices on the Buy and Sell website, which will form part of this CFP solicitation.

This CFP invites proposals for Challenge Stream – Phase 1 only.

  1. Innovative Solutions Canada Program Overview

The ISC program consists of two streams – Challenge and Testing.

This CFP addresses entry into the Challenge Stream whereby solutions can later enter the Testing Stream. For direct entry into the Testing Stream, please see the ISC website.

Each resulting contract will include Milestone deliverables. Successful completion of a Phase is defined by the receipt and acceptance of all contract Milestone deliverables by Canada’s Technical Authority.

1.2.1 Challenge Stream

The Challenge Stream is designed to support the development of early-stage, pre-commercial innovations by small businesses that demonstrate the capacity to develop an innovative solution. Eligibility criteria is defined in section 1.4 of this CFP.

The Challenge Stream invites Bidders to submit innovative solutions within Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 1-6 (inclusive) to address a specific Challenge.

Solutions may advance through Phases 1 and 2 of the Challenge Stream and into the Testing Stream.

Phase 1: Proof of Feasibility

The objective of Phase 1 is for selected Bidders to conduct research and development (R&D) on their proposed solutions and deliver a proof of feasibility to Canada.

Bidders are encouraged to progress their solution as far as possible on the TRL scale, but note that Canada will only fund Work up to TRL 6 under Phase 1.

Bidders that demonstrate successful completion of Phase 1 will be invited to submit a proposal for Phase 2.

Phase 2: Prototype Development

The objective of Phase 2 is to continue the R&D efforts of the proposed solution with the goal of developing and delivering a prototype to Canada for the selected Challenge. Small businesses are encouraged to progress their solution as far as possible on the TRL scale.

Entry into Phase 2 is solely limited to small businesses who have demonstrated successful completion of Phase 1 and who still meet the eligibility criteria. Small businesses that demonstrate successful completion of Phase 1 will receive an invitation from Canada to submit a proposal. The Phase 2 proposal will be evaluated against criteria that are the same or similar to those in Attachment 1 of this document. Participation in Phase 2 is not guaranteed. It is at the sole discretion of Canada to proceed with Phase 2.

Solutions which reach the end of the TRL scale and are ready for market may be invited to submit a proposal for Phase 3: Pathway to Commercialization as described in section 1.2.3.

However, solutions which require additional research and development and are between TRL 7-9 may be invited to advance to the Testing Stream outlined in section 1.2.2.

Solutions that do not reach TRL 6 at the end of Phase 2 may not be considered for further ISC funding.

1.2.2 Optional Entry into Testing Stream: Prototype Testing

The objective of the Testing Stream is to test prototypes in real-life settings. Canada may purchase multiple quantities of the prototypes developed in Phase 2, test them and provide valuable feedback.

Entry into the Testing Stream is solely limited to small businesses who have demonstrated successful completion of Phase 2 and are within TRL 7-9 (inclusive). The small business’ Phase 2 final report alongside a supplemental proposal submission form will be used to assess if the solution will proceed to the Testing Stream. The Phase 2 report will be evaluated based on assessment criteria that will include, at minimum, TRL, innovation and advance on state of the art while the supplemental proposal submission form will contain all other information required by the Testing Stream to complete the evaluation. In some cases, departments that originally sponsored the challenge may decide not to move forward with further research and development, however, Bidders may be matched with another departmental partner under the Testing Stream.

Participation in the Testing Stream is not guaranteed. It is at the sole discretion of Canada to proceed with the Testing Stream.

Small businesses whose solutions reach the end of the TRL scale and are ready for market may be invited to submit a proposal for Phase 3: Pathway to Commercialization as described in section 1.2.3.

1.2.3 Phase 3 – Pathway to Commercialization

As a result of Canada’s time and investment in a small business’ solution development, Canada intends to create a pool of qualified solutions developed under the ISC Program that are beyond TRL 9 and are ready for commercialization. Small businesses who demonstrate successful completion of Phase 2 may be invited to submit a proposal for Phase 3. To be placed in the pool of pre-qualified solutions, small businesses will be required to, at minimum, demonstrate how their solution continues to meet their respective ISC challenge and provide a realistic commercialization plan. Additional assessment criteria may be included with the Phase 3 proposal invitation. Canada may acquire the final solution from this qualified pool for a period of up to three years after notice of qualification, without further competition. Use of this procurement vehicle is not mandatory and Canada reserves the right to publish an Advanced Contract Award Notice or competitive solicitation conduct a competitive process to determine if there are other commercial solutions available to solve the challenge.

Note: The ISC program may be running other CFPs independently on Buy and Sell for solutions within TRL 7-9 (inclusive) for direct entry into the Testing Stream. For information on the independent solicitations, visit the ISC website.


There are open challenges.

Modernization of Handcuffs (EN578-20ISC3/56) -

Hyper-Spectral Sensing with Intense Ultrafast Laser Fields (57) -

Federal departments and agencies may post challenges that use either procurement contracts or grants as financial instruments to support R&D in Phases 1 and 2. This notice pertains to procurement contracts. For information on open challenges funded by contracts, please see the ISC website:

Contact information

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


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Solicitation documents

FileAmendment numberLanguageUnique download event (English page)Date added
en578-20isc3_-_isc_call_for_proposal_3.pdf000English- 2020-01-28
en578-20isc3_-sic_appel_de_propositions_3.pdf000French- 2020-01-28