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Tender Notice - Request for Proposal (RFP)




Publication date
Amendment date
Date closing
2020/12/04 14:00 Eastern Standard Time (EST)


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


***Attention - Now closing December 4, 2020 at 2:00 pm EST

*** Please note for the purpose of this specific Challenge the Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business (PSAB) has been incorporated and modified to align with the Innovation Solution Canada Program Eligibility criteria.

To be eligible for this Challenge, Bidders must meet the Innovation Solution Canada Program requirements and must meet the modified PSAB clauses.

Please see attachment or visit the Innovation Solution Canada website at the following link: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/101.nsf/eng/00118.html

This Challenge Notice is issued under the Innovative Solutions Canada Program (ISC) Call for Proposals 003 (EN578-20ISC3). For general ISC information, Bidders can visit the ISC website.

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 here

CHALLENGE TITLE: Federal Program and Service Digital Navigation Tool

CHALLENGE SPONSOR: Indigenous Services Canada

Funding Mechanism: Contract


Multiple contracts could result from this Challenge.

Phase 1:

  • The maximum funding available for any Phase 1 contract resulting from this Challenge is: $ 150,000.00 CAD excluding applicable taxes, shipping, travel and living expenses, as required.
  • The maximum duration for any Phase 1 contract resulting from this Challenge is: 6 months (excluding submission of the final report).
  • Estimated number of Phase 1 contracts: 2

Phase 2:

  • The maximum funding available for any Phase 2 contract resulting from this Challenge is: $520,000.00 CAD excluding applicable taxes, shipping, travel and living expenses, as required.
  • The maximum duration for any Phase 2 contract resulting from this Challenge is: 12 months (excluding submission of the final report).
    • Note: Only eligible businesses that have completed Phase 1 could be considered for Phase 2.
  • Estimated number of Phase 2 contracts: 1

This disclosure is made in good faith and does not commit Canada to award any contract for the total approximate funding. Final decisions on the number of Phase 1 and Phase 2 awards will be made by Canada on the basis of factors such as evaluation results, departmental priorities and availability of funds. Canada reserves the right to make partial awards and to negotiate project scope changes.

Note: Selected companies are eligible to receive one contract per phase per challenge.


Kick-off meeting

Gatineau, Québec*

Progress Review Meeting(s)

Any progress review meetings will be conducted by videoconference or teleconference. 

Final Review Meeting

Gatineau, Québec*

All other communication can take place by telephone, videoconference, and WebEx.

* Due to Covid-19, the Kick-Off meeting and Final Review meeting will have the flexibility of being a video or teleconference due to travel issues and other restrictions.

Problem Summary Statement

Currently Indigenous Services Canada is facing challenges in responding to multiple information requests from Indigenous communities, businesses and organizations across Canada concerning departmental services. The departmental Canada.ca websites provide a wealth of information on government programs and services but do not assist in the navigation of these programs and services and access to eligibility criteria and application materials. There is currently no simple way of tracking what other Indigenous Services Canada or other government departmental programs exist that could potentially fund a proposal. This is mostly done manually and is very time consuming. Indigenous Services Canada currently receive applications and unsolicited proposals that don't quite fit their eligibility and a platform is needed to navigate and match the programs available within the Government of Canada and provide a timely and tailored response to the specific request. There is a need to develop and pilot an innovative platform that provides Indigenous partners and government employees with immediate access to relevant and up-to-date information adapted to their specific question and needs concerning what programs would be eligible for a given proposal and whether any funds remain in that program. Indigenous Services Canada is seeking a web-based solution that will act as a program/service matching tool that will assist in the navigation of federal programs and services to address, in real time, the various inquiries/funding requests received.

Essential (Mandatory) Outcomes

Proposed solutions must:

  1. Be scalable, and provide users with immediate interactive access (within seconds) to relevant, information adapted to their specific question(s) and need(s);
  2. be able to be integrated with current Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC)/Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) systems, and should have interoperability with existing Government of Canada online databases and applications;
  3. have the capacity for adaptation over time based on supervised or unsupervised machine learning in order to refine the user experience and better meet the information needs of Canadians;
  4. be able to provide the same interface to both internal and external users;
  5. be able to provide PDF fillable application forms to individuals wishing to apply to a certain program;
  6. automatically (perhaps with an algorithm or machine learning) update itself in real time if there is a change, addition or deletion on a federal program website so that this tool can always provide the most current information possible; and,
  7. be able to incorporate information from all Government of Canada programs and services. Not only Indigenous Services Canada.

Additional Outcomes

Proposed solutions should:

  1. Have a chat bot function to interact with users on a real-time basis and be able to respond to queries (e.g. "I would like funding to open a business. What program can I apply to?") in multiple languages including, but not limited to, both official languages English and French with the possibility to extend to Indigenous languages;
  2. Be fully accessible for individuals who may have learning, reading, perceptual, physical or visual disability that impacts their ability to read conventional digitally displayed materials.

Background and Context

Technological advances over recent years have allowed for the introduction of innovative software platforms such as "chat bot technology", that are based on natural language processing, and demonstrate an ability to emulate human performance. These technologies are increasingly being utilized for speech and text recognition and allow for interaction between user and software (i.e. question answering) using natural sentences. For many years CIRNAC/ISC has identified a gap in the way the departments receives, assesses and responds to program enquiries and funding requests. Recent advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) can be applied to support CIRNAC/ISC and improve access to program and services throughout the whole of government for Indigenous Peoples. When a proposal is rejected from one program, there is no process to refer the applicant to other departmental or other government programs where the proposal may be eligible. Currently program officers must try to make these links on their own which is inefficient, time consuming and a waste of resources. While employees have tried to come together to identify different programs to where applicants can be referred, there are still many human errors. If a technological solution existed to solve this problem, this would save time and help the department improve their service delivery to Indigenous partners. With the constant addition and deletion of federal programs and services, it is becoming more difficult to navigate and respond with relevant, timely and up to date information. This can often lead to frustration and missed opportunity. As the volume and complexity of information grows, innovative platforms will be required to support Indigenous peoples in accessing programs and services that are specific to their needs and allow them to activate their opportunity in real time.


All enquiries must be submitted in writing to TPSGC.SIC-ISC.PWGSC@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca no later than 10 calendar days before the Challenge Notice closing date. Enquiries received after that time may not be answered.

Contact information

Contact name
Group, Pspc
Contact email
Contact address
10 Wellington St
Gatineau  QC
K1A 0S5


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FileAmendment numberLanguageUnique download event (English page)Date added
psab_clauses_for_isc_program_eng.pdfNot availableEnglish- 2020-09-17
psab_clauses_for_isc_program_fr.pdfNot availableFrench- 2020-09-17
amendment_1_-_solicitation_extension.pdfNot availableBilingual- 2020-10-16
amd_2_-_federal_program_and_service_digital_navigation_tool_-_qa.pdfNot availableEnglish- 2020-11-20
mod_2_-_outil_de_correspondance_de_la_navigation_numerique_pour_les_programmes_et_services_federaux-_qa.pdfNot availableFrench- 2020-11-20
amendment_3_-_fed_program_and_service_digital_navigation_tool_extension.pdfNot availableBilingual- 2020-11-24