Government of Canada invites small businesses to propose ways to rapidly verify portable digital credentials

News release

Process will seek Canadian small businesses able to offer innovative solutions to two challenges

August 29, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario 

As the single largest purchaser of goods and services, the federal government is using procurement to help Canadian small businesses succeed.

Through the Innovative Solutions Canada program, government departments are inviting small businesses to propose a new innovative solution that addresses a specific challenge they face. Successful small businesses may receive up to $150,000 to refine their research and development and could, if accepted into Phase 2, receive up to $1 million to develop a working prototype. The government can then act as a first customer, which helps small businesses to commercialize their innovations, scale up their business and create good middle-class jobs across Canada.

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, announced the launch of two new challenges.

Shared Services Canada (SSC) spends too much time and money and too many resources gathering information on current technologies, applications and services in aging data centres. That is why it is seeking a solution to collect and analyze information from multiple data centres in order to develop new options for reducing its infrastructure and create new plans for data centre migrations.

Additionally, SSC and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat are seeking a standardized method for issuing and rapidly verifying portable digital credentials. A successful solution to this challenge will help reduce human error, increase efficiency and ensure digital credential validity, using cryptography.

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.


“Our government is using its purchasing power to help small businesses innovate and become more competitive. Through Innovative Solutions Canada, the government is able to access quality, innovative products that help solve some of our most pressing challenges, while businesses are able to grow and create good middle-class jobs.”
– The Honourable 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. These are worthy new challenges, and I can’t wait to see what our innovative Canadian small businesses come up with.”
– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion

Quick facts

  • A requirement of the operational solution is that all personal information be stored within Canada.

  • Program funding comes mainly from the 20 departments and agencies participating in Innovative Solutions Canada. 

  • Each of the 20 participating departments and agencies will set aside funding that amounts to one percent of its 2015–16 combined procurement and intramural research and development expenditures. Together, the funding from the departments and agencies represents an annual investment of more than $100 million over five years.

  • In Budget 2018, the Government of Canada announced the consolidation of innovation programs. As part of this exercise, the Build in Canada Innovation Program, managed by Public Services and Procurement Canada, was integrated into Innovative Solutions Canada. Innovators can sign up to receive updates on the Innovative Solutions Canada program.v

  • 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. Using a simple, story-based user interface, the Innovation Canada platform can match businesses with the most fitting programs and services in about two minutes.

Associated links


Dani Keenan
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development

Corinne Havard
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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