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Trade Commissioner Service > Funding and support programs > CanExport > CanExport Innovation > Applicant’s guide

CanExport Innovation - Applicant’s guide

December 2020

Summary

A detailed guide for Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises, academic institutions and non-government research centres on how to access CanExport Innovation funding to facilitate collaborative research and development (R&D) partnerships with international partners and investors.

Table of contents

  1. Program overview
  2. How funding works
  3. Project scope
  4. Eligible organizations
  5. Eligible foreign partners
  6. Project objectives
  7. Activities
  8. Eligible expenses
  9. Assessment criteria
  10. How to apply
  11. After applying
  12. Contact us

1. Program overview

CanExport Innovation is designed to promote and enhance Canada’s international innovation efforts. The program, administered by the Global Affairs Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service, offers grants and contributions to Canadian organizations to assist them in establishing and formalizing new collaborative research and development (R&D) partnerships with foreign partners.

The objective of partnerships must be joint development, adaptation and/or validation of a Canadian technology owned by the applicant organization. The technology must be ready for commercialization within 5 years. Additionally, seeking investors to support joint R&D work could be considered an eligible objective by the program.

CanExport Innovation provides funding for activities up until the point at which partnerships are formalized. A partnership is considered formalized following the signing of all agreements necessary to secure the partnership and/or to begin the R&D work. All activities subsequent to the formalization of the R&D partnership, including the R&D work itself, are ineligible for CanExport Innovation funding.

CanExport Innovation is a sub-program of CanExport. Other sub-programs include CanExport SMEs, CanExport Associations and CanExport Community Investments.

COVID-19 and CanExport Innovation

CanExport Innovation now supports non-travel activities to help prepare for R&D opportunities in international markets. We also encourage virtual participation in meetings and conferences.

Approval of funding for trips and travel-related activities that require being physically present in a foreign country depends on the status of travel advisories when we assess your application. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that travel restrictions are lifted in Canada and in destination countries before submitting an application.

We encourage you to make informed decisions to minimize risk and protect your health and the health of your employees. Please refer to Government of Canada travel advisories for the most recent information.

2. How our funding works

In this section

2.1 Funding mechanism

Funding is provided on a cost-sharing basis between the recipient and CanExport Innovation. The applicant may submit a maximum budget of $100,000; there is no set minimum. The program funds up to 75% of eligible costs to a maximum of $75,000 in funding per project. The applicant is responsible for the remaining 25% (in-kind contributions are not permitted).

CanExport Innovation commits to a funding decision within 40 business days.

Financial assistance can take the form of a grant or contribution. CanExport Innovation determines the most appropriate funding mechanism based on a risk assessment analysis of the applicant and the project. Requests for funding from multiple CanExport sub-programs for the same project will not be supported. Applicants may apply to only one CanExport sub-program for a specific project, related activities and expenses. It is recommended that applicants review the objectives of each sub-program to determine which most appropriately meets their objectives.

2.2 Project time frame

CanExport Innovation funding is available year-round. Applications may be submitted at any time.

If approved, activities must be completed within the same government fiscal year in which the application is approved. The Government of Canada’s fiscal year begins April 1 and ends on March 31 of the following calendar year. CanExport Innovation does not support projects that span across multiple fiscal years.

Example: A project approved in November 2020 will have a maximum end date of March 31, 2021. A project approved in January 2021 will also have a maximum end date of March 31, 2021.

2.3 Stacking limit for government funding

CanExport Innovation’s stacking limit applies when funding is accessed from different Canadian government sources for a single project.

CanExport Innovation calculates fund stacking based on the total Canadian government assistance (including federal, provincial, territorial or municipal governments, or Crown corporations) provided for any eligible line item. The total amount of funding from all government sources must not exceed 75%.

Applicants must identify all Canadian government sources of funding for each expenditure submitted as part of their CanExport Innovation application. In the event that actual total Canadian government assistance exceeds the stacking limit of 75%, CanExport Innovation funding will be adjusted in order to comply with this limit. 

3. Project scope

The applicant must focus on only one technology per project application. However, a project can target multiple partners to achieve multiple R&D objectives for the same technology.

The applicant can pursue activities with foreign partners internationally and within Canada in all sectors, unless subject to Government of Canada sanctions or similar restrictions.

Applicants can pursue activities in countries for which they have received prior CanExport Innovation funding. In cases where the proposed activity is expanding on a previous initiative that received program support, it is important that the proposal demonstrate how it will build on previous outcomes, by expanding on past success or applying lessons learned.

4. Eligible organizations

The applicant is the Canadian organization applying for CanExport Innovation funding.

Eligible Canadian organizations are:

In this section

4.1 Eligibility criteria

Eligible organizations must meet basic eligibility by demonstrating that they:

* Organizations registered on First Nations reserve lands do not require a CRA business number.

Financial Capacity

There is no minimum revenue requirement for eligible organizations; CanExport Innovation is open to pre-revenue companies. However, financial capacity is one of 5 project assessment criteria outlined in Section 9. As such, applicants must demonstrate they have sufficient private revenues to cover 25% of costs for proposed activities. Additionally, applicants must demonstrate they have sufficient funds (or a credible plan to secure funds) from private and/or public sources to finance R&D work resulting from a collaborative R&D agreement.

4.2 Ineligible organizations

If you are unsure about the eligibility of your organization, please contact CanExport Innovation (CanExportInnovation@international.gc.ca).

5. Eligible foreign partners

In this section

5.1 Eligible partners

Proposed activities must contribute to negotiating an agreement that will result in the development, adaption or validation of the applicant’s technology.

Eligible foreign partners are defined as foreign organizations with specific expertise and/or technology with whom the applicant is seeking to negotiate an R&D agreement or an investment agreement to facilitate R&D work on the technology identified in the application. R&D agreements must stipulate that R&D work will be performed under the terms of a joint collaboration where neither party will be paying the other for services provided.

Applicants may pursue agreements with multiple foreign partners as part of the same CanExport Innovation application.

5.2 Ineligible partners

Canada has sanctions and related measures in place against a number of countries and sectors, as well as sanctions against specific individuals and entities. CanExport Innovation may decline funding for reasons of national interest. For more information, please visit Current sanctions imposed by Canada.

This is not a comprehensive list of ineligible partners. If you are unsure about the eligibility of your chosen partner or your proposed project, please contact CanExport Innovation (CanExportInnovation@international.gc.ca).

6. Project objectives

In this section

6.1 Eligible objectives

CanExport Innovation supports projects whose objective is to:

Technology development

R&D work that typically involves further development or enhancement of an applicant’s technology. This may include:

Technology adaptation

R&D work that involves the modification of an applicant’s existing technology to fit a new market or sector. This may include leveraging the technical expertise and/or technology of the foreign partner to modify the applicant’s technology to:

Technology validation

R&D work that involves the testing of an applicant’s technology by foreign partners who will typically be its first adopters. This may include:

6.2 Ineligible objectives

Project objectives that do not focus on R&D are ineligible under CanExport Innovation. This includes the pursuit of partnerships that are directly related to/for:

In addition, CanExport Innovation will not support R&D objectives related to:

This is not a comprehensive list. If you are unsure about the eligibility of your project objective, please contact CanExport Innovation (CanExportInnovation@international.gc.ca).

7. Activities

In this section

7.1 Eligible activities

CanExport Innovation supports activities that will assist applicants in negotiating and establishing new agreements with pre-identified foreign partner(s).

COVID-19 and CanExport Innovation

Participation in virtual meetings is encouraged. Travel and activities involving being physically present in a foreign country will not be considered unless both the Government of Canada and the destination country permit travel.

For illustrative purposes, virtual meetings can include:

Note: Applicants registered for a TCS-led trade mission should contact their Trade Commissioner if they are unsure the mission qualifies for CanExport Innovation support.

CanExport Innovation also supports:

When travel permits, CanExport Innovation supports:

This is not a comprehensive list of eligible activities. If you are unsure about any of the examples listed above, please contact CanExport Innovation (CanExportInnovation@international.gc.ca).

7.2 Ineligible activities

This is not a comprehensive list of ineligible activities. If you are unsure about any of the examples listed above or the eligibility of your proposed project, please contact CanExport Innovation (CanExportInnovation@international.gc.ca).

8. Eligible expenses

In this section

COVID-19 and CanExport Innovation

CanExport Innovation supports non-travel activities to help prepare for R&D opportunities in international markets. We also encourage virtual participation in meetings and conferences.

The applicant is responsible for consulting the Government of Canada travel advisories before finalizing a funding request that includes travel-dependent activities.

Approval of funding for trips and travel-related activities that require being physically present in a foreign country depends on the status of travel advisories when we assess your application.

Applicants are responsible for checking that travel restrictions are lifted in Canada and in destination countries before submitting an application. We will not provide per diem funding for any additional travel days that result from mandatory quarantine periods.

We encourage you to make informed decisions to minimize risk and protect your health and the health of your employees. Please refer to Government of Canada travel advisories for the most recent information.

8.1 Non-travel expenses

8.1.1 Registering for a secure video conferencing platform

CanExport Innovation may support registration to secure video conferencing platforms for the purpose of conducting meetings with pre-identified foreign partners.

To be eligible, the purpose of the virtual meetings must be to:

Registration fees will cover months in which eligible meeting sessions will take place, up to a maximum of 6 months per application. The total number of months approved will take into consideration months in which activities and related meetings overlap.

Maximum eligible rate is CAD $30 per month (CAD $22.50 per month at 75% funding) for a maximum of 2 individuals directly participating in the CanExport Innovation project.

Required documentation to be submitted with your application:

8.1.2 Registering for virtual events

CanExport Innovation may provide funding to support registration for 1 virtual event per application. The event must be relevant to the industry in which the applicant is operating or targeting, and must include Business-to-Business (B2B) meetings.

To be eligible, the purpose in attending the virtual event must be to pursue opportunities that may lead to developing R&D partnerships with foreign partners and/or obtaining investment funds from foreign investors - where the applicant will use a significant portion of funds raise to support R&D work on the applicant’s technology.

Required documentation to be submitted with your application:

8.1.3 Rental of audio/visual equipment

CanExport Innovation may provide funding for audio/visual equipment rental costs. The applicant must provide justification for why audio/visual rental is required as opposed to using a readily available medium such as a smart phone, laptop or webcam.

Required documentation to be submitted with your application:

8.1.4 Promotional materials

CanExport Innovation may provide funding for the development of professional promotional material that will assist in attracting potential foreign R&D partners and/or foreign investors. Funding can be used to support creating new materials, or significantly enhancing existing ones.

The applicant must outline the types of promotional materials that will be developed and provide a breakdown of associated costs. Development of promotional materials for general marketing purposes, or to generate sales is not eligible.

Eligible expenses include:

Required documentation to be submitted with your application:

8.1.5 Translation or interpretation services

CanExport Innovation may provide funding for translation of documents or interpretation services up to a maximum cost of CAD $2,000 per application (CAD $1,500 at 75% funding). Only translation/interpretation from English/French to the partner’s language is eligible.

Eligible expenses include:

Required documentation to be submitted with your application:

8.1.6 Shipping

CanExport Innovation may provide funding for return shipping up to a maximum cost of CAD $4,000 per application (CAD $3,000 at 75% funding).

Shipping costs must be related to pursuing an R&D collaboration agreement with a foreign partner. Shipping the applicant’s technology for purposes related to conducting actual R&D work or selling the applicant’s technology are ineligible. Products/prototypes shipped to the foreign partner cannot be sold and must be returned to Canada.

The shipping of promotional and marketing materials is not eligible.

Eligible expenses include:

Required documentation to be submitted with your application:

8.1.7 Certification

To help applicants comply with foreign regulations and standards, CanExport Innovation may provide funding to cover application fees for new certifications in foreign markets where the pre-identified partners reside. Applicants must show how obtaining this certification will assist in securing the partnership.

Application fees under this category must be incurred directly through the foreign agency issuing the certification.

Required documentation to be submitted with your application:

Ineligible expenses include:

8.1.8 Intellectual property protection

CanExport Innovation may provide support to cover costs related to registering and/or applying for IP protection where the foreign partner is located. Registration and/or application fees must be incurred directly through the foreign agency issuing the certification.

Costs related to filing a trademark application are ineligible.

Eligible expenses include:

Required documentation to be submitted with your application:

8.1.9 Consultant/legal fees

CanExport Innovation may provide funding to support consultant/legal fees to assist the applicant in pursuing R&D opportunities. Requested amounts will be assessed against industry standards to determine reasonability of cost for the type of services provided. Only reasonable amounts will be deemed eligible. Requests for funding with amounts  that appear high will be flagged and applicants will be asked to provide more information.

Consultants must have a specific expertise outside of what the applicant organization would be expected to have; expenses are ineligible where there is indication of an employer-employee relationship.

The printing of legal agreements may be considered an eligible expense.

Other eligible expenses under this category include expert advice for:

8.2 Travel-dependent expenses

CanExport Innovation determines the eligibility of travel expenses based on 3 criteria:

1 - Travel duration

Reasonable travel duration is determined based on the scope and complexity of the R&D collaboration being pursued. The applicant must provide an outline with travel dates and activities to be conducted on each date. CanExport Innovation will consider providing support for a maximum of 5 days per travel destination.

2 - Number of participants

All travellers for whom funding is requested must be identified in the application. Only employees or executives of the applicant organization are eligible for funding; employees based in Canada must be legally able to work in Canada. At least one traveller must have decision-making authority over the technology. Travel costs for participants deemed essential to formalizing the R&D partnership are eligible; travel expenses of individuals CanExport Innovation considers non-essential to the formalization of the R&D partnership will not be covered. 

3 - Costs

Funding is allocated per person based on reasonability of estimated costs and quotes provided. For certain expenses, estimated costs are assessed against established CanExport Innovation guidelines, as detailed below. Estimates that appear high will be flagged and may impact a project’s approval. Applicants may wish to provide additional explanations/rationales for high estimates.

Please note that CanExport Innovation reserves the right to adjust funding for eligible expenses based on its policies at the time of assessment.

8.2.1 Economy class airfare

CanExport Innovation may provide funding for economy class roundtrip airfare from Canada to travel destinations where meetings will be conducted with foreign partners.

Only the cost of return economy class airfare for the straight route is eligible. For CanExport Innovation purposes, the straight route is defined as the route between the traveller’s home location in Canada and the location of approved program activities.

For trips that include more than one meeting in destinations that require additional air travel, only the cost of economy class multi-city airfare is eligible. Additional stops are not permitted.

Example: If a traveller based in Vancouver is meeting with foreign partners located in Tokyo and Shanghai, the applicant must provide a quote for the cost of economy class airfare for Vancouver-Tokyo-Shanghai-Vancouver or Vancouver-Shanghai-Tokyo-Vancouver.

Eligible expenses include:

Required documentation to be submitted with your application:

The applicant is expected to provide quotes that are reasonable, economical and take into account, where possible, advance booking. CanExport Innovation commits to a decision within 40 business days.

8.2.2 Per diem

CanExport Innovation calculates a per diem rate of CAD $400 for each approved traveller (CAD $300 at 75% funding) for accommodation and meals.

8.2.3 Single entry visas

CanExport Innovation may provide funding to support visas for markets that require visas to enter. Only single entry visas are eligible.

Required documentation to be submitted with your application:

8.2.4 Ground transportation

CanExport Innovation may provide funding for reasonable ground transportation costs in Canada and internationally.

If a traveller chooses to use bus, car or train to travel (straight route) to an event or meeting as an alternative to flying, the estimated expense cannot exceed what an equivalent straight route economy class airfare is expected to cost.

If a traveller uses their personal vehicle, they can estimate travel expenses based on CanExport Innovations’ kilometric rate (included with application package). The estimated cost of ground transportation cannot exceed economy airfare for the same trip.

Eligible expenses include local transportation (e.g. bus, taxi, train, car rental, etc.) for transit to and from:

Required documentation to be submitted with your application:

8.2.5 Renting meeting rooms

CanExport Innovation may provide funding for renting meeting rooms and required audio-visual equipment up to a maximum cost of CAD $500 per international destination (CAD $375 at 75% funding).

Required documentation to be submitted with your application:

8.2.6 In-person event registration

CanExport Innovation may provide funding to support registration for one event per application. The event must be relevant to the industry in which the applicant is operating or targeting, and must be for the purpose of meeting with a pre-identified foreign partner.

Events where meetings with pre-identified foreign partners have not been confirmed are ineligible.  

Required documentation to be submitted with your application:

8.3 Ineligible expenses

Ineligible expenses include:

Ineligible travel-dependent expenses include:

This is not a comprehensive list of ineligible expenses. If you are unsure about any of the examples listed above or the eligibility of your proposed expenses, please contact CanExport Innovation (CanExportInnovation@International.gc.ca).

9. Assessment criteria

In this section

Criteria 1: Applicant capacity

The applicant must demonstrate:

Criteria 2: Past performance on CanExport Innovation projects

The applicant must:

Criteria 3: Technology readiness and ownership

The applicant must demonstrate that the technology:

Criteria 4: Appropriate choice of foreign partners

The applicant must:

Criteria 5: Methodology used for pursuing partnership

The applicant must demonstrate in sufficient detail an appropriate and logical plan of action for pursuing and securing an R&D partnership with foreign partners.

10. How to apply

In this section

10.1 Working with the Trade Commissioner Service

The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) helps Canadian companies navigate the complexities of international markets and make better business decisions. The TCS is on the ground in more than 160 cities worldwide gaining market intelligence, uncovering opportunities for Canadian companies and helping reduce business costs and risks. The TCS is a free service of the Government of Canada that helps companies find qualified contacts, assess market potential, prepare for international markets, and resolve business problems.

Applicants can find the name of the trade commissioner responsible for their sectors in Canada and in international markets through Find a trade commissioner.

10.2 Submitting an application

Application package

Contact the CanExport Innovation (CanExportInnovation@International.gc.ca) team to request an up-to-date application package.

Note: We will not accept application submissions on expired forms.

Completed applications

Completed application forms and all supporting documentation must be submitted by e-mail. If you are unsure about the eligibility of your project objectives, proposed activities or proposed expenses, please send us an email prior to finalizing your application.

A complete application submission includes:

Incomplete applications will not be processed.

Concurrent projects

CanExport Innovation does not support concurrent projects, and will not assess new applications where documents for active projects are still outstanding. Before submitting a new application, applicants must first complete any active CanExport Innovation projects. This includes submitting all required documentation to close the project.

Only in instances where applicants are participating in a trade mission led by Global Affairs Canada may concurrent CanExport innovation projects be considered for funding.

The stipulation on concurrent projects does not apply for to active projects supported by other CanExport sub-programs. Organizations that have applied or have been approved for funding from other CanExport sub-programs may submit an application for a new project to CanExport Innovation. CanExport Innovation will not consider funding any project, activity and expense that has been approved or is being requested as part of another CanExport sub-program application.

10.3 Processing time

CanExport Innovation requires you to submit a completed application at least 40 business days in advance of the first proposed activity’s start date. Applicants who submit applications with activities scheduled to commence in less than 40 business days risk being refused funding for those activities.

Details on how to complete your application are indicated in the Instructions section of the Application Form.

11. After applying

In this section

11.1 Decision

Following assessment of the application, a decision email will be sent to the Signing Authority identified in the Application Form. Decisions are final and non-negotiable.

Applicants who are not approved for funding may request additional information and resubmit a revised application. Activities included as part of a revised application must respect the 40 business days timeline required of all application submissions.

In the case of a successful applicant, CanExport Innovation, on behalf of Global Affairs Canada, and the recipient will sign a funding agreement that outlines approved activities and their expected costs, as well as the obligations and responsibilities of both parties.

The funding agreement comes into effect once signed by both parties.

11.2 Payments

Grant recipients

Successful applicants will be issued a payment following the full execution of the Grant Agreement. Payments issued under a Grant Agreement may take up to 45 business days after the agreement comes into effect.

Contribution recipients

Successful applicants are required to submit claim and report forms to request reimbursement for eligible expenses. Templates for the claim and report forms will be provided once the Contribution Agreement is fully executed.

Forms must be submitted to the program 30 days following the completion of each activity. The program will conduct an assessment of the claim and report forms; the recipient will be reimbursed based on the results of the assessment. Payments issued under a Contribution Agreement may take up to 30 business days once a claim has been fully assessed.

11.3 Amendment to the funding agreement

Amendments to agreements will only be considered on an extraordinary basis and if a strong rationale is provided. Please note that an expired agreement cannot be amended. 

11.4 Reporting requirements

Final report

The Final Report will ask you to describe the overall results of all activities approved by CanExport Innovation.

Grant recipients

The recipient must complete and submit a Final Report no later than 30 days following the completion of the project. A template for the Final Report will be provided to the recipient with their fully executed Grant Agreement. Recipients may also request the form from the program by contacting CanExportInnovation@international.gc.ca. In the event that the terms and conditions of the agreement are not satisfied, repayment of funds may be requested.

Contribution recipients

Contribution recipients are required to submit interim reports for each activity and a final report. Interim reports must be submitted as part of the claim process, 30 days following the completion of an activity. The templates for claims and interim/final reports will be provided with the fully executed Contribution Agreement.

Periodic updates

CanExport Innovation may periodically request updates on your project. We ask that you respond to the requests in a timely manner.

11.5 Disclosure of change of circumstances

You must let us know if anything is likely to affect your project. Keep us informed about key changes to your company or its business activities, particularly if they affect your ability complete your project, carry on business and pay debts due.

You must also inform us if you become aware of a breach of terms and conditions under the funding agreement, or any changes to information that identifies your company such as:

12. Contact us

Contact the CanExport Innovation (CanExportInnovation@international.gc.ca) team for more information about this program, or the application process.

Date Modified: