The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Governor General’s Innovation Awards

Governor General’s Innovation Awards Logo

Beginning with an 'i' for innovation, this logo encapsulates the ripple effect that innovation has on society. It's about a powerful movement that is propelling our nation forward. It’s the chain reaction that occurs when someone has an idea that breaks the status quo. The cascading lines represent the growth of our nation, and the ongoing impact innovators have on our country—now, and for generations to come.


Innovation is one of the primary driving forces behind Canada’s prosperity, standard of living and quality of life. And while Canadians are some of the world’s most accomplished innovators, we seldom recognize ourselves as such or celebrate our outstanding contributions to our society and to humanity as a whole.

In today’s globally competitive and interconnected world, increasing productivity through the creation of new products and services, improving public sector performance, and building an inclusive, compassionate society will be the keys to Canada’s success as a caring, efficient and prosperous nation. The purpose, therefore, of the Governor General’s Innovation Award is to inspire Canadians to embrace innovation and to emulate innovative, entrepreneurial risk-takers that have developed new or better ways of creating value and that are having a meaningful impact on our quality of life.


The objectives of the Governor General’s Innovation Awards are to:

  • Celebrate excellence in innovation across all sectors of Canadian society;
  • Inspire Canadians, and in particular Canadian youth, to be entrepreneurial innovators; and
  • Foster an active culture of innovation that produces meaningful impacts on our lives.


Innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit are fundamentally important in all sectors of society and can have transformative, positive impacts regardless of whether it is in the private, public or not-for-profit realms. The Governor General’s Innovation Awards will, therefore, encompass all sectors of Canadian society.

The 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.

Awards are presented to accomplished innovators: individuals, teams and/or organizations whose innovations are having, or have had, a significant positive impact beyond their immediate organization or community. Our aim is to have at least one young innovator among the winners.

Each year, up to six Governor General’s Innovation Award winners will be identified by an expert merit-review panel.

Selection Process

The Canada Foundation for Innovation establishes and manages an expert merit-review adjudication process to select award winners based on the following 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 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 the following skills, attitudes and behaviors of innovation: inspiration, creativity, collaboration, risk-taking and problem solving.

The winners of the Governor General’s Innovation Awards receive an award (physical trophy) along with an accompanying congratulatory certificate.

The annual cycle of the Innovation Awards Program culminates in a presentation ceremony, presided over by the Governor General of Canada.


Nominations for the Governor General’s Innovation Awards are sought through a national network of organizations that have been designated as Nominating Partners. Drawn from all sectors of society, the Nominating Partners seek out, gather, and submit nominations on behalf of their members, clients, partners and associates. Nominating Partners include organizations that currently deliver innovation-related awards programs and others that work to support and promote innovation across Canada. In addition to providing a consistent and sustainable flow of nominations into the program on an annual basis, partners assist in generating visibility across the country.

To find out more, visit the Innovation Awards website.

Public Awareness and Outreach

In order to meet the objectives of inspiring Canadians to be innovative and fostering a culture of entrepreneurial innovation, the Governor General’s Innovation Awards program undertakes extensive communications and outreach activities. The intent is to build national awareness of the goals of the program and to foster a culture of innovation in the country, by celebrating the accomplishments of awards winners as broadly as possible. To this end, the Office of the Governor General will oversees and coordinates the communications and outreach activities of core partner organizations.


The program operates on an annual cycle, with an awards ceremony each spring.


  • The Governor General’s Innovation Awards Advisory Committee, made up of highly accomplished Canadians from all sectors, will provides oversight and strategic direction for the program.
  • The Office of the Governor General oversees the execution of all aspects of the program.


The Governor General’s Innovation Awards is an on-going national awards program, sustained through both public and private financial contributions and the efforts of numerous organizations across Canada. Key partners are:

  • The Canada Foundation for Innovation manages the adjudication process, drawing on the knowledge and expertise of some of our most highly accomplished Canadians.
  • Public education and outreach is supported by the Canadian Science and Technology Museums Corporation, which showcases and promotes Canada’s stories.
  • The Rideau Hall Foundation gathers and aligns resources from philanthropic and corporate sectors.


For high-resolution images of the Innovation Awards logo, please download the following file:

Date modified: October 26, 2017