Governor General's Award for Innovation


The objectives of the Governor General’s Innovation Awards are to celebrate excellence in innovation across all sectors of Canadian society and inspire Canadians, particularly Canadian youth, to be entrepreneurial innovators.

The 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 not intended for lifetime achievement or innovations that have not yet demonstrated impact. Rather, by recognizing active, current innovators across the breadth of our economy and society the Awards help foster an active culture that celebrates innovation that is having a meaningful impact on our lives.


Nominees must be living Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Posthumous nominations are not eligible. Nominees may be from any sector of activity – the arts, sciences, business, not-for-profit or community-based, for example.

Nominees can be at any stage in their life or career. The 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.

The innovations for which nominees are proposed must be demonstrably having an active impact in the economy or society.

Special Notes

In addition to being assessed on whether the innovations are truly exceptional and transformative, and are having an active and positive impact on society, nominations are assessed based on the following specific selection criteria:

  • Inspiration – extent to which new knowledge, technology, approaches or methods have been deployed in the process of innovation
  • Leadership – evidence of initiative, collaboration, risk-taking and problem-solving in the process of developing and implementing the innovation
  • Impact – quantifiable demonstration of the impact the innovation is having because of its successful implementation in the sector, economy, society or culture


If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

Internal Deadline
External Deadline

This is the anticipated deadline for Universities Canada, a nominating partner.  

How to Apply

The Vice-President (Research) invites expressions of interest (EOIs) in this prestigious, highly competitive national award.  EOIs will be reviewed by the Research Innovation Office.

Expressions of Interest should include:

  • ​A 2-page letter, addressed to the VPR, explaining how the nominee meets the GG Innovation Award Criteria.  Specifically:
    • Inspiration – How does the process leading to this innovation, its implementation and its developer(s) inspire future innovators in Canada?
    • Leadership – How did the nominee(s) demonstrate leadership in their work? Discuss evidence of initiative, collaboration, risk-taking and problem-solving in the process of developing and implementing the innovation .
    • Impact – Does the innovation in question have a positive effect in the world? Describe the successful implementation of the innovation in the sector, economy, society or culture, and the role of the nominee(s) in that implementation. If possible, please quantify the impact. For example, a nominee(s) may have created a B Corporation to market the innovation and realize social benefits at the same time, with sales of this amount and this number of persons assisted.​

Where possible, the letter should include hyperlinks to websites that provide additional information on the innovation. 

Alert Classifications
Honours and Awards

Health and Life Sciences
Information and Communications Technology
Physical Sciences and Engineering
Social Sciences