Canada unveils support for Canadian innovation by small businesses to reduce plastic waste and beat plastic pollution

News release

May 17, 2019 – Sydney, Nova Scotia

Canada is working with Canadians across the country to protect its land and water from plastic waste. Not only is plastic pollution harmful to the environment, but the disposal of plastics is a waste of a valuable resource. This is why the Government of Canada is partnering with Canadian businesses to develop innovative solutions to keep plastics in the economy and out of landfills and the environment.
Today, Member of Parliament for Sydney—Victoria, Mark Eyking, on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced six winners of the Canadian Plastics Innovation Challenge, a part of the Innovative Solutions Canada program. Dealing with issues related to food packaging, construction waste, and the separation of plastics for recycling, these Challenges are a great opportunity to invest in innovative ideas and technologies that could play a role in addressing plastic pollution and moving Canada toward a zero-plastic waste future.
Copol International Ltd., one of today’s funding recipients located in Sydney, Nova Scotia, is a local small business developing a food packaging solution that would incorporate biodegradable components extracted from marine waste into a cast polypropylene film.

Copol International Ltd. joins other small businesses from across the country who will each receive up to $150,000 to develop their idea. By working together, we can beat plastic pollution, protect nature, and tackle climate change.


"Investing in new ideas to solve old problems is vital when addressing our plastic waste challenges. We cannot continue with a business-as-usual approach if we hope to arrive at new outcomes. I can attest, as Member of Parliament for Sydney—Victoria, to the great work that Copol has done over the past 20 years, both by contributing to our local economy and through constant innovation. Copol, like the rest of these companies across Canada, is a forward thinking company finding solutions to plastic pollution and taking steps in the right direction. Our government is proud to invest in the health and sustainability of Canada’s environment and economy, and I look forward to seeing the results of these projects.”

– Mark Eyking, Member of Parliament for Sydney—Victoria

Our government leverages its enormous purchasing power to ensure Canadian small businesses can grow and innovate. We’re turning to Canadians for their best ideas to solve government challenges. Whether it’s finding ways to improve recycling of plastic materials or improve food packaging, we’re investing in Canadian-made solutions.”

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

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and employ over 8 million hard-working Canadians. That’s why our government is committed to helping small businesses start up, scale up and access new markets. Innovative Solutions Canada is a fantastic program that uses government procurement to help small businesses innovate and then commercialize their innovations. Congratulations to these businesses. I can’t wait to see the innovative solutions they come up with.”

– Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion

Quick facts

  • Innovative Solutions Canada consists of over $100 million in dedicated funding to support the scale-up and growth of Canada’s innovators and entrepreneurs by having the federal government act as a first customer for innovation. Twenty participating federal departments and agencies have set aside a portion of funding to support the creation of innovative solutions by Canadian small businesses.

  • Phase 1 recipients, such as those announced today, who successfully develop a proof of concept will be invited to compete for a grant of up to $1 million in Phase 2 to develop a prototype. The Government of Canada then has the option to be the first buyer of any successful innovation.

  • A total of seven Canadian Plastics Innovation Challenges were put forward as part of the Innovative Solutions Canada program, each encouraging innovative solutions to a different problem area in addressing plastic waste.

  • The seven plastics challenges are sponsored by Environment and Climate Change Canada, Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and Natural Resources Canada; who each oversee the selection of the winning projects for their respective Challenges.

  • The Government of Canada dedicated over $10 million to advance made in Canada solutions to address plastics challenges.

  • Innovative Solutions Canada encourages submissions from businesses owned by under-represented groups (e.g., women, Indigenous peoples, youth, and members of visible minorities).

  • Canada is committed to leading by example on greening government operations and delivering a low-carbon, clean-growth economy.

  • The Government of Canada is leading by example, by committing to divert at least 75% of its plastic waste from federal operations by 2030. This will be accomplished through changing federal practices as well as in the procurement of more sustainable plastic products. Innovative solutions are needed to help make this possible.

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Sabrina Kim
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Facebook page

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