Government helping small businesses develop sustainable solutions

News release

Canadian small businesses invited to develop innovative solutions to seven domestic plastics challenges

September 21, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario

As the single-largest purchaser of goods and services, the federal government is using procurement in a new way to help Canadian small business owners commercialize their ideas and solve complex government challenges.

Through the Innovative Solutions Canada program, government departments are inviting small businesses to come up with innovative solutions in response to specific challenges they face. Winning small businesses may receive up to $150,000 to refine their research and development and, if accepted into Phase 2, receive up to $1 million to develop a working prototype. The government may then act as a first customer, helping these small businesses commercialize their innovations, scale up their business and create good jobs.

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, today announced seven challenges related to domestic plastics on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources, and the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport.

Environment and Climate Change Canada is challenging small businesses to:

1. Find smart packaging design and other solutions to reduce plastic waste

2. Find new ways to separate mixed plastics for recycling

3. Identify ways to reduce and recycle plastic construction waste

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is challenging small businesses to:

4. Find plastic-free ways to get fish from fish farms and the ocean to our plates

5. Find innovative new ways to manage old fishing equipment and debris and remove it from our waters

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Natural Resources Canada are challenging small businesses to:

6. Turn leftover plant material from agriculture or forestry into compostable bioplastics

Transport Canada is challenging small businesses to:

7. Identify sustainable new ways to recycle or reuse and glass-fibre-reinforced plastic

Correctional Services Canada and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada have also committed to launching plastic innovation challenges later this fall.

Innovative Solutions Canada 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.

Quotes

“Small businesses form an important pillar of our economy, and they constitute the backbone of communities across the country. Through Innovative Solutions Canada, our government is transforming challenges into opportunities for small businesses—opportunities to innovate, commercialize and scale up, thereby creating good middle-class jobs for Canadians.”

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

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and employ over 10 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 and medium-sized businesses innovate and then commercialize their innovations. I look forward to seeing the sustainable solutions to these challenges.”

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

“Through the Canadian Plastics Innovation Challenge, Innovative Solutions Canada will give Canadian small businesses an opportunity to help protect our environment and grow our economy. By creating innovative solutions to beat plastic pollution, small businesses will take an active role in creating a better future for our kids and grandkids.” 

– The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“Our government is committed to supporting an innovative agriculture and agri-food sector. Making biodegradable plastics from agricultural production is a win for the environment, a win for our farmers and a win for our economy. It will help Canada tackle plastic waste and create new market opportunities for farmers while driving new jobs and opportunities in clean technologies.”

– The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Throughout our history, innovation has been at the heart of the success of our forest industry. Today, our forests are helping to diversify a host of industry sectors, both at home and abroad. We are thrilled to be supporting this challenge, which will bolster Canada’s innovation economy while helping to meet Canada’s clean growth objectives.”  

– The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources

“I am excited that Transport Canada is partnering with Innovative Solutions Canada on a key initiative that will identify new ways to recycle or reuse glass fiber-reinforced plastic.  Our efforts will contribute to a safer, more efficient, and environmentally sustainable transportation system, in addition to supporting opportunities for small and medium sized businesses to advance innovation in Canada.”

– The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport

“Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard are proud to participate in Innovative Solutions Canada’s domestic Plastics Innovation Challenge.  We are excited to collaborate with Canadian companies to foster technological innovation to remove plastics from our oceans and waterways and prevent future plastic pollution.”

– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Quick facts

  • Program funding will come from the 20 departments and agencies participating in Innovative Solutions Canada. Each department will set aside funding for this initiative that amounts to one percent of its 2015–16 combined procurement and internal research and development expenditures. Together, the funding from the departments and agencies represents an annual $100-million investment over the course of five years.

  • Innovative Solutions Canada will encourage submissions from businesses owned and led by women, Indigenous peoples, youth and other traditionally under-represented groups by ensuring those groups are included in the program’s outreach plans and activities.

  • There are hundreds of programs and services that offer everything from funding to expert advice to help businesses innovate, create jobs and grow Canada’s economy. With a simple, story-based user interface, the new Innovation Canada platform can match businesses with the most fitting programs and services in about two minutes.

Contacts

Follow Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada on Twitter: @ISED_CA

Nilani Logeswaran
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation,
Science and Economic Development
343-291-2849
613-668-1794

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
343-291-1777
ic.mediarelations-mediasrelations.ic@canada.ca


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