Department of National Defence invests in Canadian solutions to COVID-19 challenges

April 8, 2021

Jenna Rotondi, biomedical engineering co-op student with Envision SQ, uses the reactor in Dr. Bill Van Heyst's lab to synthesize an anti-viral coating that can kill COVID-19.


Today, on behalf of Minister of Defence Harjit S. Sajjan, Lloyd Longfield, Member of Parliament for Guelph, highlighted investments by the Government of Canada in support of research and development efforts related to COVID-19.  Two contribution agreements, totaling $369,050, have been awarded to Guelph-based innovators under the Department of National Defence’s Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program.

The contribution agreements, which address two recent IDEaS challenge areas were awarded to:

  • University of Guelph to address challenge area Re-using protective equipment in the amount of $169,050 (to develop a low-cost, easy-to-use device for sterilizing PPE within minutes)
  • EnvisionSQ Inc. to address challenge area Sanitization of workspaces in the amount of $200,000. (The self-disinfecting coating, called GermStopSQ, kills viruses and bacteria on hard surfaces for 24 hours.)

This follows an announcement by Minister of Defence Harjit S. Sajjan on March 4, 2021, of 48 contribution agreements awarded under this call for proposals, with a total value of $8.64 million.

The IDEaS program fosters open innovation to provide creative thinkers with the structure and support to encourage solutions which will assist in solving some of Canada’s toughest defense and security challenges.

Innovators are encouraged to consult the IDEaS website for more information on this and subsequent calls for proposals and opportunities.  



“These contribution agreements demonstrate investments in Canadian innovators that will help combat challenges brought on by COVID-19. I look forward to seeing the outcomes of these investments and how they will benefit not only the Canadian Armed Forces, but all Canadians into the future.” 

-The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence

“We are committed to doing what it takes to face down the challenge of COVID-19. These investments will support important work right here in Guelph that brings us closer to that goal.”

-Lloyd Longfield, Member of Parliament for Guelph


These innovations are fantastic examples of how University of Guelph continues to find ways to harness our research expertise to lessen the global impact of COVID-19.”

-Malcolm Campbell – Vice-President Research at the University of Guelph.

“The DND funding significantly advanced the development of GermStopSQ, which will benefit all Canadians, including the Canadian Armed Forces. We expect GermStopSQ to be the first Health Canada approved residual disinfectant that will continue to kill bacteria and viruses for 24 hours. GermStopSQ is highly desirable because it reduces cleaning and disinfection, reducing cost and re-contamination on high touch surfaces.”

-Scott Shayko, CEO of EnvisionSQ


Quick facts  

  • Four specific challenge areas were developed in consultation with Government of Canada partners to address sanitization of workspaces; pandemic decision making; re-using protective equipment; and moral trauma on the frontline.
  • Contribution agreements are a non-repayable funding mechanism that enable innovators to generate solutions to defence and security challenges without acquisition by the Government of Canada of any goods, services or assets. This is different than previous calls under Competitive Projects, where the Department had used a procurement contract.
  • These contribution agreements are for Phase one research into the viability of the proposals submitted.


Associated Links  

IDEaS website 



Todd Lane
Office of the Minister of National Defence

Phone: 613-996-3100


Media Relations

Department of National Defence

Phone: 613-904-3333