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Innovation Pilot Program

Description of the program

The City of Ottawa’s Innovation Pilot Program (IPP), managed by Economic Development Services (EDS), is shifting its focus towards COVID-19 economic recovery efforts. This new focus, the Recovery Stream, provides companies the opportunity to test and quickly deploy their technology innovations in real-life testing environments with the City or one of its economic development partners. The program provides companies with valuable feedback on their innovations, prior to scaling and production.

Application deadline was at Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at 4 pm. The Call for pilot proposals is now closed, thank you to those who applied.

The Challenge

The City of Ottawa is extending a challenge to the business community to submit proposals for technology innovations that will accelerate Ottawa’s ability to get the workforce back to work and safely resume business operations.

Take up the challenge! It is your opportunity to:

  • Help Ottawa be a leader in innovation and economic recovery in the country;
  • Give back to your community;
  • Establish your brand as part of the countrys COVID-19 response.

Areas of focus include technology innovations for public health (e.g., health applications, temperature monitoring, sanitization, cleaning protocols) and economic recovery (e.g., click and collect, virtual work, remote operations, automation, density screening/planning, digital counter). Priority sectors include health, tourism, festivals and events, restaurants, retail, construction, transportation and food supply.

In addition, the City may issue a separate call for collaboration on innovative solutions to respond to specific, urgent needs.


The IPP Recovery Stream has three objectives:

  1. To introduce City staff and participating partners to innovative technologies that will support the city’s economic recovery efforts;
  2. To continue to position Ottawa as a leader in the tech sector; and
  3. To support local innovation by providing companies with a real-life testing environment and valuable feedback on their innovative technologies.

This program is not a sales opportunity or pathway to City procurement. The pilot will not have any effect (prejudicial or beneficial) on a successful applicant’s standing as it relates to any future procurement of the piloted (or similar) products and/or services. Any eventual procurement would occur only following the normal process established by law and City policy.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the program.

  • Trial-ready: products and companies are market-ready at the time the application is submitted or can be market-ready within three months or less of approval.
  • Innovative/Proprietary: the technology is innovative and not available on the market. Applicants possess proprietary technology and IP (trade secrets or patents), where limited substitutions exist. Companies licensing another company’s technology, and distributors and resellers are eligible but not preferable.
  • Scope: pilot scope is realistic, feasible, and implementable, with no direct (or very minimal) cost to the City or participating partners.
  • Scalability: company and technology can scale, generate future sales, and local jobs.
  • Risk: pilot poses an acceptable level of risk to the City or partners. All risks have been adequately identified and assessed.

How it Works

The IPP Recovery Stream process is as follows:

Step 1: Proposal

  • A call for pilot proposals will be launched. Applicants will have two weeks to apply.
  • Applicants submit a proposal.
  • Applications triaged and shortlisted by EDS staff for adherence to eligibility criteria.

Application deadline was at Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at 4 pm. The Call for pilot proposals is now closed, thank you to those who applied.

Step 2: Evaluation

  • Shortlisted applicants will be evaluated by an evaluation committee, comprised of City staff, Economic Development Partners.

Step 3: Selection & Match

  • A maximum of 5 projects will be selected to participate in the program.
  • Conditional approval provided by the evaluation committee to selected projects with final approval subject to finding a host, and acceptance of a legal agreement.

Step 4: Execution

  • Legal agreement signed by all parties.
  • Pilots executed within the agreed-upon timeline. Duration will vary based on the nature of the pilot, for up to a year.
  • The City will promote pilots for their duration.

Step 5: Evaluation & Support

  • Pilots are evaluated by the host and feedback will be shared with EDS and the program participants.
  • For successful pilots, City provides testimonials/case studies to the company and profiled on the City’s website.
  • The City provides ongoing support to entrepreneurs by promoting the projects and connecting them to the city’s economic development ecosystem, which includes mentors, investors, prospective partners, and buyers.
  • One year follow up with participants to measure success and economic impact.


Shortlisted applicants will be informed within two weeks of the end of the application period. The City’s goal is to start all approved projects (step 3) within 15 to 30 days.


The IPP Recovery Stream is not a grant program. While limited funding is available, priority will be provided to applicants prepared to scope their pilots so as not to require cash resources from the City. When funding is requested for a pilot, applicants must demonstrate how the money will be used. Funding is not to exceed $5,000.00 per pilot.

Funding can be used to cover additional costs incurred for the pilot. Examples of eligible costs include installation, 3rd party licensing fees, additional costs associated with meeting City requirements for prototypes (e.g. translation, AODA compliance, other). Funding is based on budget availability and approval.

For questions regarding the program, please contact:

Jephtée Elysée
Economic Development Officer
City of Ottawa
110 Laurier Avenue WestOttawa, Ontario
K1P 1J1