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Call for Nominations

Nomination Process

Please read these important considerations before submitting a nomination.

Nominations are sought through a national network of organizations that have been designated as nominating partners by the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General. Each nominating partner must designate an official contact person to submit nominations. Nominations will only be accepted from the nominating partners via their official contact person.

While nominating partners are not limited in the number of nominations they can submit, they are encouraged to be highly selective, and only put forward nominations that meet the objectives of the awards program while satisfying all of the selection criteria.

Please note that the 2017 nomination period is now closed.

To submit a nomination, the officially designated nominating partner contact person must complete the online nomination form.

The following information will be requested in the nomination form:

  • The name, address, email, phone number, job position and birth year of the nominee (or official representative in the case the nomination is for a team and/or organization), as well as the name, address and phone number of the nominating partner contact person, for correspondence purposes.
  • A summary statement explaining the nature, significance and impact of the nominee’s innovation or innovative activities (maximum 1500 characters, including spaces).
  • Specific evidence of how the nomination addresses each of the four selection criteria (maximum of 2000 characters, including spaces, for each of the four criteria).

Important Considerations

  • Nominees must be living Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Posthumous nominations are not eligible.
  • In the case where a nominee is identified as a young innovator, he or she must be 30 years of age or younger as of the nomination deadline (November 15).
  • Failure to appropriately address all selection criteria or to provide supporting evidence will weaken the nomination.
  • Since the Assessment and Selection committees are multidisciplinary, the nomination material should be written for non-specialists.
  • The awards are given for current or recent innovations that have a positive impact on the quality of life in Canada, whether it is in the private, public or not-for-profit realms. They are not intended for lifetime achievement or innovations that have not yet demonstrated impact.
  • By completing the signature block of the online form, the nominating partner will acknowledge that they have received authorization from the nominees to be recommended for the award.
  • Nominees can only be nominated once by one of the nominating partners.
  • To respect privacy, nominations are not made public.

Selection Process

The Governor General’s Innovation Awards are given to individuals, teams and/or organizations whose innovations are

  • Truly exceptional;
  • Transformative; and,
  • Positive in their impact on quality of life in Canada.

The awards are given for current or recent innovations that have a positive impact on the quality of life in Canada, whether it is in the private, public or not-for-profit realms. They are not intended for lifetime achievement or innovations that have not yet demonstrated impact.

Nominees can be at any stage in their life or career. Our aim is to have at least one young innovator among the winners who is 30 years of age or younger and who, individually or as leader of a team and/or organization, has been undertaking exceptional, transformative and innovative activities.

Selection Criteria

In addition to being assessed on whether they are truly exceptional, transformative and are having a positive impact on society, nominees will be assessed on the basis of the following four specific selection criteria:

  • Extent to which the individual, team or organization has shown initiative and leadership to be agents of change in addressing a current issue about which they are passionate.
  • Creative use of new knowledge and/or technology to develop ideas aimed at addressing contemporary social, economic or cultural challenges and solving real-world problems.
  • Evidence of the successful implementation of these ideas, resulting in a positive impact beyond the nominee's own community or organization.
  • The degree to which the nominee and the activities undertaken have demonstrated inspiration, creativity, collaboration, risk-taking and problem solving.

Selection of Award Winners

All eligible nominations are received by the Canada Foundation for Innovation and undergo a two-stage merit-review selection process involving an Assessment Committee and a Selection Committee.

The Assessment Committee members are recruited for their knowledge in private, public and social innovation. By thoroughly examining each nomination, the committee determines to what degree the nominees meet the specific selection criteria. The committee members then identify up to 20 top nominations from all those submitted by the nominating partners. This group of nominees is recommended to the Selection Committee as finalists for the Governor General’s Innovation Awards.

The Selection Committee is composed of distinguished individuals chosen for their expertise in and breadth of understanding of the innovation ecosystem. The committee members examine the list of finalists and select up to six award winners whose work exemplifies innovations that are truly exceptional, transformative and are having a positive impact on society, and who best meet the selection criteria.

The board of directors of the Canada Foundation for Innovation confirms the recommendations made by the Selection Committee. The list of award winners is then transmitted to the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General.