Government of Canada supports small businesses developing innovative solutions to plastic pollution

News release

February 12, 2020 – Vancouver, British Columbia

Plastic pollution poses a threat to Canada’s environment and our economy. Plastic ends up in landfills, litters parks and beaches, pollutes rivers, lakes, and oceans, and has harmful effects on wildlife. This is why the Government of Canada is supporting Canadian businesses in developing innovative solutions to plastic pollution.

Today, at GLOBE Forum 2020, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change (ECCC), announced the three winners of the Plastics Innovation Challenges sponsored by ECCC. These Canadian small- and medium-sized businesses will receive $1 million each to develop prototypes of their new technologies designed to address plastic waste from food packaging and construction.

Axipolymer Inc., based in Montreal, will create a recyclable multi-layer film that can be used for food packaging, GreenMantra Technologies from Brantford, will transform polystyrene insulation waste into new insulation, and MgO Systems from Calgary will use PVC waste from construction to produce new insulating materials.

Minister Wilkinson also announced, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, the launch of six new Plastics Challenges and three Clean Technology Challenges, through the Innovative Solutions Canada program.

These nine new Challenges call on Canadian innovators to develop solutions to:

  • Find sustainable alternatives to plastic packaging,
  • Reduce plastic waste from textiles,
  • Divert end-of-life vehicles’ plastic from landfills,
  • Reduce e-waste,
  • Seek solutions for air purification,
  • Monitor microplastics in marine environments,
  • Recycling plastic into ceiling tiles,
  • Develop waste conversion techniques,
  • Develop energy producing window coverings.

The Challenges will be led by Environment and Climate Change Canada, the National Research Council of Canada, Shared Services Canada, and Global Affairs Canada.

The Innovative Solutions Canada program is a key component of the government’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year plan to make Canada a global innovation leader and prepare Canadians to succeed in tomorrow’s economy. As a part of the program, the Plastics Innovation Challenge supports Canadian-made clean technologies and Canada’s vision of a zero plastic waste future.


“Clean technology must be part of the solution to plastic pollution. Boosting clean technology development to address plastic pollution is part of our comprehensive approach to achieve a zero plastic waste future. The Government of Canada has committed nearly $19 million to fund Canadian innovators through the Canadian Plastics Innovation Challenge initiative, which results in real, Canadian-made solutions."

– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“The Government of Canada is using its purchasing power to help small businesses innovate and become more competitive. Through Innovative Solutions Canada, we’re accessing high-quality products that will help solve some of Canada’s most pressing challenges, while businesses are growing and creating good jobs.”

– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“This is a small business–friendly government that is working hard to reduce red tape and make it easier for Canadian small business owners to start up, scale up and access new markets. Innovative Solutions Canada is a fantastic program that uses government procurement to help small businesses develop and then commercialize their innovations. These are worthy new challenges, and I can’t wait to see the ideas from Canadian small businesses. When small businesses in communities across the country succeed, our economy grows and middle-class jobs are created.”

– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

“As Shared Services Canada continues to upgrade our antiquated IT infrastructure, we will need new ways to recycle and repurpose the associated waste from this transition. The Innovative Solutions Canada challenge will promote innovation to reduce the environmental impact of end-of-life e-waste and support our greening government strategy.”

– The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Digital Government

“Today’s announcement supports the scale-up and growth of Canada’s entrepreneurs while protecting the environment, creating more sustainable products, and building a more diverse economy. The NRC is proud of our contribution to the Innovative Solutions Canada program that will benefit Canada and Canadians.”

– Iain Stewart, President of National Research Council Canada

Quick facts

  • Innovative Solutions Canada has launched 14 plastics challenges to date, committing nearly $19M to support Canadian innovators and small and medium businesses.

  • By improving how we manage plastic waste and investing in innovative solutions, we can reduce 1.8 million tonnes of carbon pollution, generate billions of dollars in revenue, and create approximately 42,000 jobs.

  • Innovative Solutions Canada helps Canadian innovators by funding R&D and testing prototypes in real-life settings. Its two streams have a combined funding of over $140 million dedicated to Canadian innovators who want to start, grow, and get to market. Innovators can sign up to receive updates on the Innovative Solutions Canada program.

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Moira Kelly
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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