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CanExport Community Investments: Applicant’s guide

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Program overview

The CanExport Community Investments program provides financial support to communities for their foreign direct investment (FDI) initiatives and activities. The funding helps communities seeking to improve their capacity to attract, retain and expand FDI in order to create jobs for Canadians, support innovation and increase exports through specific types of activities.

We define an investor as:

The program does not fund initiatives related to mergers and acquisitions, investments from other parts of Canada, trade or export.

The program supports non-profit partnerships at the local community level.

How the program works:

Are you eligible?

You can apply if you are:

You must also meet these criteria:

We may support giving funding to a community or not-for-profit organization acting as a third party or go-between for a number of eligible communities.

We do not fund departments, agencies, Crown corporations and other federal or provincial organizations.

Eligible activities

The program supports activities that will help you attract, expand, or retain greenfield foreign direct investment, such as:

We do not fund initiatives related to mergers and acquisitions, investments from other parts of Canada, trade or export.

Expenses we cover

We cover specific expenses for eligible activities. Please review the following table of expenses that we do and don’t cover before you complete your application form. The table is organized by type of activity.

Expenses that we do and don’t cover

ActivityExpenses that we coverExpenses that we don’t cover
  1. Consultants are expected to have specific expertise outside of what your community or organization would normally have.
  2. An intern should be a graduate student, an undergraduate in their last year of studies or a recent graduate (in the last 3 years). The intern’s mandate must be FDI specific, with a contract of up to 1 program calendar year and a salary of up to $50,000 (we cover 50%, or up to $25,000).
  3. Travel (transportation): If you choose to use bus, car or train to travel to an event instead of flying, the claimed expense cannot be more than what an equivalent straight route economy class airfare would be expected to cost.
  4. Travel (daily allowance): $500 per day incurred by travellers for accommodation, meals and incidentals; we will reimburse applicants 50% of the daily allowance.
  5. Travel (airfare): We cover only the cost of return economy class airfare for the straight route. In the application, you are expected to provide estimates for economy airfare that are reasonable, economical and take into account advance booking, where possible.
Doing strategic planning and analysis for foreign direct investment (FDI)
  • research to identify targets, do comparative competitive analysis, develop business cases, prepare business retention and expansion studies, etc.
  • collecting community and economic data for investment profiles, etc.
  • developing strategic FDI plans, doing community consultations
  • translating documents or website content into either of Canada’s official languages or foreign languages
  • consultant fees1 and intern salary2
  • research activities that are not linked to attracting, retaining and expanding investment
  • collection or purchase of statistical data that is not linked to attracting, retaining or expanding investment
Developing FDI tools and materials
  • design and layout of promotional material (print or electronic)
  • software customization (but not the cost of software license or off-the-shelf add-on modules)
  • website development or a major redesign, adding significant architecture and functionality
  • translation of documents or website content into either one of Canada’s official languages or foreign languages
  • site selection criteria/ certification
  • production of FDI promotional videos
  • consultant fees1 and intern salary2
  • regular website maintenance and updating web content, site hosting, software licensing
  • corporate logo design, costs of printing, pressing CDs or DVDs
  • design and layout of non-investment ads (such as promoting tourism), cost of ad placement in any media
  • branding

Note: political representatives are not allowed in recorded videos.

Giving FDI training
  • training as part of the community’s investment attraction and retention strategy for employees of the community (or economic development agency) at a different level of expertise, including FDI customized training
  • travel costs (only for economic development staff and only in association with an investment training program), including:
    • transportation3
    • airport departure taxes, fees and insurance
    • a daily allowance4, which includes accommodation, meals and incidentals

Note: when a low ratio of staff asks for customized training, we encourage you to work with regional partners.

  • consultants hired to facilitate a session (moderator/ facilitator)
  • conferences and forums
Generating FDI leads and meetings with potential investors
  • meeting room rental abroad
  • travel costs for up to 2 employees of your organization per trip (economy fares and a daily allowance)4
  • talent attraction mission (includes meeting rooms, material and data collection)
  • research target companies
  • translation of documents or website content into either of Canada’s official languages or foreign languages
  • FDI attraction seminar
  • costs to develop targeted cases for follow-up with potential investors
  • consultant fees1 and intern salary2
  • logistics
  • travel costs incurred by partners or consultants
  • travel costs incurred by potential investors

Activities and expenses we don’t cover

We do not fund the following types of expenses. Please review this list carefully before completing your application.

ActivityExpenses we don’t cover
  • consultant or contractor fees where there are signs of an employer-employee relationship (for example, the contractor or consultant shares your office space, has business cards from your organization, has a title of responsibility within your organization, or has a presence on your website)

Note: A contractor or consultant cannot represent an organization that is receiving CanExport Community Investments funding

  • Goods and services tax (GST)
  • Province-specific tax (PST)
  • Harmonized sales tax (HST)
  • Value-added tax (VAT)
  • or taxes applied by foreign governments
Trade show, conference or forum participation
  • registration fees at international trade shows or conferences (in Canada and abroad)
  • booth design, purchase, assembly and shipping
  • design of promotional material specifically for a trade show
  • overhead costs, such as a pre-show mailing
  • stationery
  • long-distance phone calls
  • consultant costs for organizing outgoing missions (including training participants)
  • cost of developing an advertisement (design and layout) for show­ specific publications
  • cost of meals or alcohol, lodging, clothing and uniforms, and all giveaways
Activities or projects related to attracting infrastructure for tourism and motion picture industries
  • for example, to develop ski resorts, theme parks or film production facilities
Capital costs
  • infrastructure development
  • capital expenditures to acquire or enhance assets
  • software licenses
  • electronics (computers, digital cameras, etc.)
  • demonstration aids

These include the direct costs of acquisition, construction, expansion, modification, conversion, transportation, installation and insurance (during construction) of fixed assets, as well as the cost of licensing and franchising fees

Overhead and operating costs
  • postage, including postage for direct mail campaigns
  • phone
  • office space rental
  • photocopying
  • salaries and benefits of personnel
  • activities to attract investment from inside Canada
  • costs incurred before your application is approved
  • activities for which one or more partners expect to receive compensation through a commission, a finder’s fee, etc.
  • promotion activities related to properties or business investment in which one or more partners receives a personal or corporate financial gain
  • giveaways (gifts, concert tickets, logo items, mugs, pens, etc.)

How we evaluate your application

CanExport Community Investments is a competitive program. The Adjudication Committees led by Global Affairs Canada, one for each region, approve and evaluate all applications. Each committee includes a mix of public sector participants, including representatives from the provincial government and regional development agencies.

We assess applications using the following criteria and questions:

Criteria 1: Strategy

Criteria 2: Project components

Criteria 3: Performance measures

Criteria 4: Capacity

Criteria 5: Workplan

Criteria 6: Partnerships

Other factors

How to apply

To register and apply, access the CanExport Communities portal. For a step-by-step guide on how to register your organization consult the tutorial on YouTube.

Registering your organization

For more details on what you’ll need on hand to complete your registration, consult the registration information checklist. It is not possible to save your work until the full completion of the registration process. Your session will time out within 30 minutes of inactivity.

To register you must:

Filling out the application form and submitting an application package

Please submit your application as early as possible. To fill out and submit the application form you must:

The portal can’t accept applications after the close of the call. You must submit your application through the CanExport Communities portal; mailed, emailed or faxed applications will not be accepted.

After you apply

The adjudication process takes place once per year, after the conclusion of the application period. Our team will contact you with the results. Successful applicants will be notified initially by email, when the project is approved. A second email will be sent that includes the Grant Agreement outlining the approved activities.

Contact us

If you have questions that this guide does not answer, please contact:

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