Build in Canada Innovation Program eligibility and definitions

To be pre-qualified to sell your innovation to the government, your company and innovation must meet specific requirements. Also, find definitions specific to the program.

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Eligible organizations

Any private company, public company, not-for-profit organization, university or individual can submit a proposal.

Specifically, you or your organization must:

Eligible innovations

To be eligible to apply to the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP), your innovative product or service must:

General definitions

Canadian bidder

The bidder must be Canadian and must be submitting the bid on its own behalf. A Canadian bidder is defined as a bidder having a place of business in Canada where the bidder conducts activities on a permanent basis that is clearly identified by name and accessible during normal working hours.

Canadian content

A minimum of 80% of the total proposal price must consist of Canadian goods and services. For the complete Canadian content definition please refer to the certification document included in the solicitation documents.

Pre-qualified innovation

The BCIP uses a unique approach to procurement that looks ahead to buy cutting-edge products and services that have yet to be introduced to the market. Following the call for proposals evaluation process, proposals meeting the minimum overall pass mark requirements will be “pre-qualified.” Innovations that are pre-qualified are not guaranteed a contract. Recommendation for BCIP contract award will be determined based on the maximum budget per fiscal year for each component and the successful completion of the contract award process detailed in the call for proposals solicitation document.

Testing department

Potential testing departments of the BCIP are defined as those departments and agencies that fall under Schedule I, Schedule I.1 and Schedule II of the Financial Administration Act. Participation by the testing department is voluntary and subject to their ability to perform the test. The primary role of the testing department will be to evaluate and test the innovation being proposed through the call for proposals.

The bidder must consider the licensing and certifications required by a potential testing department in order to proceed with testing.


Advance on state of the art

A technology that is an advance on the highest level of development for current commercially available products or services. For the purposes of the BCIP, state of the art must meet the program’s definition of innovation and is a key component against which innovations are evaluated to determine the level of advancement offered.

The BCIP evaluates innovations against what is commercially available, and not against other proposals or other related pre-commercial innovations which may be a similar advance on the state of the art.


An invention, new technology or new process that is not currently available in the marketplace.

Significant modifications to the application of existing technologies/process that are applied in a setting or condition for which current applications are not possible or feasible.

An improvement to an existing technology/process that represents a significant (generally patentable) improvement in functionality, cost or performance of goods and services that are considered state of the art or the current industry best practice.

Incremental improvements, “good engineering” and technologies that would go ahead in a normal course of product development (that is, the next version or release) are not considered “innovations” for the purposes of this program.


A manufacturing design or any other new and useful improvement that is new or novel, that is, not commonly known or not an obvious derivative of an existing way of doing things.


  • The practical application of science to commerce or industry
  • The science of applying scientific knowledge to practical problems
  • An innovation based in scientific and industrial progress
  • Specific information and know-how required for development, production or use of good or service


Pre-commercial innovation

Pre-commercial innovations are those in the phases of research and development prior to commercialization. Pre-commercial innovations have been developed to a Technology Readiness Level between 7 and 9. Pre-commercial innovations have not been produced in quantity, may have had some limited sales for the purpose of testing and demonstration, and are not readily available in the marketplace.

This can cover activities such as solution exploration, design and prototyping, up to the original development of a limited volume of goods or services in the form of a test series. Original development of a first good or service may include limited production or supply in order to incorporate the results of field-testing and to demonstrate that the good or service is suitable for production or supply in quantity to acceptable quality standards.

The BCIP requires that all proposed innovations are in a state and scale such that testing may occur as of the date of proposal submission, with only limited adjustments needed depending on the needs of a testing department.

Commercial sales

Good or service that is openly available in the marketplace or has been sold to either individuals in the public or private sector, in its current state or service offering for non-testing or development purposes.

Limited quantity

Development of a first good may include limited production in quantity to achieve acceptable quality standards, but does not include quantity production to establish commercial viability.

Mass production

The standardized production of an innovation in sufficient quantities to establish commercial viability.

Configuration and customization

The BCIP permits certain changes to pre-qualified innovations matched with testing departments, while others are unacceptable. These changes fall into 2 main categories: configuration or customization. Although this distinction applies only to those innovations that have been pre-qualified and matched, understanding the difference will aid the bidder in developing and writing a test plan.


Configuration involves arranging or setting up fully functional and fully developed components of an innovation. Configuration is the process by which an innovation is made to function properly in a specific situation, in the environment in which it was originally intended to be used. This may include changes that are not essential to the functioning of the innovation, so long as they would not alter the result of testing or validation of the innovation during its development.

Configuration is an acceptable change under this program, should a proposed innovation be pre-qualified under the BCIP.


Customization is the process of modifying fully functional and fully developed components of an innovation to meet the requirements of individual customers.

Customization is not an acceptable change under this program, should a proposed innovation be pre-qualified under the BCIP.

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