How to apply for CanExport Innovation program funding?

To apply, you need to meet these four criteria: 

  1. You are an innovator from one of the following Canadian organization types based in Canada:
    • Small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);
    • Academic institutions; and
    • Non-government research centres.
  2. You have decision-making authority over the technology.
  3. You have confirmed interest from a potential foreign collaborator – they know who you are, they know what your technology is AND they want to meet with you.
  4. You will be in a position to launch your technology into the global marketplace within the next 1-5 years.

If you meet the criteria, ask for the newest application package by sending an email to  Submissions completed on expired forms from previous years will not be accepted.

Applicant Guide

Table of Contents

1. CanExport Innovation Overview

CanExport Innovation is a Grants and Contributions program that offers funding to support Canadian organizations’ efforts to establish new research and development (R&D) collaboration opportunities with foreign partners. The purpose of the R&D collaboration with the foreign partner must be to conduct research and development to advance the commercialization of the organization’s technology, with the anticipation to launch the technology in the market within 5 years.

CanExport Innovation may provide funding up until the point at which the R&D collaboration is formalized. R&D collaboration is considered formalized following the signing of a contractual agreement, or once the Canadian and foreign entities begin engaging in the R&D activities. All activities subsequent to the formalization of the R&D collaboration, including the R&D work, are ineligible for CanExport Innovation funding.

Project objectives that are not related to research and development including but not limited to projects focused on sales, manufacturing, distribution, and marketing are ineligible for funding.

CanExport Innovation applications must be submitted at least 8 weeks in advance of the first travel date in order to guarantee that sufficient time is available to process the application. Activities that begin less than 8 weeks after submission date will not be reviewed and will be withdrawn from consideration immediately. The remainder of the application, independent of the withdrawn activities, must meet standard program criteria.

It is important to note that not all activities will be supported in all markets. Canada has sanctions and related measures in place against a number of countries, as well as sanctions against specific individuals and entities. The CanExport Innovation program may also decline funding for reasons of national interest.

2. Key Program Elements

2.1. CanExport Innovation Funding

CanExport Innovation funds up to 75% of eligible costs to a maximum of $75,000 for any approved CanExport Innovation Project.

The program operates as both a grant and contribution funding program. Eligibility for a grant or contribution will be assessed as part of the Formal Review phase of the Application Review Process.

2.2. Eligible Applicants

Eligible CanExport Innovation applicants are Innovator(s) from one of the following Canadian organization types based in Canada:

CanExport Innovation applicants must also meet the following eligibility criteria:

CanExport Innovation Applicants who have previously been approved for funding will also be assessed based on past performance in respect to outcomes achieved; timeliness of communication with CanExport Innovation; and compliance with CanExport Innovation requirements on requests for status updates and report submissions.

NOTE: If a CanExport Innovation application is approved, the Department will enter into a Grant or Contribution Agreement with the eligible Canadian organization that employs the Innovator. As such, the funds awarded will be issued to the Canadian organization’s corporate financial account only.

2.3. Outline of a CanExport Innovation Project

CanExport Innovation projects can take the shape of a number of different forms with activities occurring over multiples trips:

Projects are limited to a maximum of three trips per each partner.

2.4. Eligible Activities

CanExport Innovation is offered on an ongoing basis. However, all proposed activities within one application must take place within the same fiscal year. Eligible activities include activities directly related to the establishment of R&D collaboration with the identified foreign partner(s) for the purpose of co-development, adaptation and/or validation of a Canadian technology. For illustrative purposes, these activities could include:

This is not a comprehensive list of eligible activities. If you are unsure about any of the examples listed above or the eligibility of your proposed project, please contact the CanExport Innovation team by sending an e-mail to:

2.5. Ineligible Activities

2.6. Eligible Foreign Partners

Eligible foreign partners are organizations based outside of Canada that do not represent any of the organization types listed in Section 2.7.

In order to streamline the application process, applicants pursuing more than one foreign partner for different R&D collaborations can do so in one CanExport Innovation application form. Applicants pursuing opportunities with multiple foreign partners must provide sufficient evidence that they have the capacity to take on the project.

2.7. Ineligible Foreign Partners

2.8. Eligible Expenses

For activities requiring travel, the program determines the eligibility of travel expenses based on the following criteria:

Eligible expenditures are funded on a cost-sharing basis with CanExport Innovation supporting up to a maximum of 75 percent of the eligible expense type.

Requested funding for eligible expenditures may be adjusted upon assessment based on current policies.

Eligible Expense Types:

2.9. Ineligible Expenses

NOTE: This is not a comprehensive list of ineligible Project costs. If you are unsure about any of the examples listed above or the eligibility of your proposed Project, please contact the CanExport Innovation team by sending an e-mail to:

Please include your full contact information in all of your correspondence with the Department.

2.10. Canadian Government Stacking Limits

The CanExport Innovation stacking limit for total Canadian government assistance (federal, provincial, territorial and/or municipal) for any eligible line item is 75%. Stacking limits apply to the following public sources of funding or support: grants and contributions; capital stock or equity; subsidies; rebates; loans; provisions for potential losses on loan guarantees or loans; or investment tax credits received from Canadian government (including federal, provincial, territorial, or municipal and Crown corporations).

Applicants must identify Canadian government sources of funding for each eligible expenditure. In the event that actual total Canadian government assistance exceeds the stacking limit, CanExport Innovation approved funding will be adjusted in order to comply with these limits.

3. How to Apply

The CanExport Innovation application package must be requested via email at The completed application and all supporting documents must be submitted electronically to

A complete Application submission includes:

Incomplete applications will not be processed.

3.1. Application Deadlines

The CanExport Innovation program accepts applications on an on-going basis. However, completed applications must be submitted at least 8 weeks in advance of the first travel date in order to guarantee that sufficient time is available to process the application. Activities that begin less than 8 weeks after submission date will not be reviewed and will be withdrawn from consideration immediately. The remainder of the application, independent of the withdrawn activities, must meet standard CanExport Innovation criteria.

In order to facilitate an eight (8) week processing time, applicants should provide immediate responses to any project-related inquiries from the program. Delay in responding to inquiries may result in additional processing time. If requests for information have been unanswered by the applicant for 30 or more days, the application will be cancelled.

Details on how to complete the Application Form can be found in the Instructions section of the Application Form.

4. Governing Legislative Policies

Successful Applicants must comply with the Conflict of Interest Act, the Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Code for Public Office Holders and the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector. Applicants must identify anyone involved with the Project that has in the past year been employed by the Government of Canada or held public office with the federal government.

Upon signing and submitting the Application, the Applicant acknowledges that information contained within is subject to the Canadian Access to Information Act and Privacy Act and agrees that the information provided may be:

The Application Form and Budget Form forms no obligation by the Department to provide funding now or at any point in the future and that merely meeting the Program’s requirements does not ensure or oblige the Department to fund the activities proposed in this Application.

5. Application Review Process

There are four phases within the Application Review Process:

5.1. Phase 1 – Receipt and Preliminary Assessment

To begin the CanExport Innovation application process, the applicant electronically submits a completed application package to at least eight weeks prior to the commencement of the proposed project activities. The applicant will receive an automatic acknowledgement from the system informing them that the application was received. The program does not review incomplete or draft applications.

A preliminary assessment of the application will be conducted to determine whether sufficient and satisfactory information was provided. At this stage, the applicant will be informed whether further information, documentation or initial clarification is required.

In order to ensure an eight-week processing time, applicants should provide immediate responses to any related inquiries from CanExport Innovation.  Delay in responding to inquiries may result in additional processing time or the application may be declined if requests for information are not provided within one month of the request.

5.2. Phase 2 – Formal Review

During the Formal Review phase, a CanExport Innovation Officer will assess all documents submitted and all exchanges with the applicant. Applications will be assessed for the quality and appropriateness of the information provided. For applicants having received previous funding from the CanExport Innovation program, applications will also be evaluated on the applicant’s the reported results. Applicants may be contacted by the CanExport Officer should further information and clarification be required at this phase.

Once the application has been fully reviewed and evaluated, the application is submitted to CanExport Innovation Management for a final decision. If the application is approved, it will move to Phase 3 of the review process. If the application is declined, the applicant will be notified by email and provided a brief explanation outlining the reason(s) why the application could not be supported.

5.3. Phase 3 – Notification for Approved Projects

Successful applicants will be notified via email when the application is approved for funding.  Information regarding the next steps in the funding process will be provided to successful applicants at that time.

Eligible expenses incurred starting on the date of approval and prior to the signing of the Grant or Contribution Agreement may be considered for funding support. Any expenses incurred prior to the approval of the application are ineligible for CanExport Innovation funding.

5.4. Phase 4 – Execution of Agreement

A Grant or Contribution Agreement stating the general conditions, obligations, and responsibilities of all parties is drafted following the approval in Phase 3. Successful applicants will receive an email containing the agreement with additional instructions. It is important that successful applicants return an electronic copy of the signed agreement in a timely manner. The signing authority for the Canadian organization (as identified in the Application Form) must sign the agreement prior to the start of any CanExport Innovation activities.

6. Status Updates and Final Reporting

At the end date of each Activity outlined in the Approved Budget Form, Recipients must provide a status update for their CanExport Innovation Project. If an Activity did not take place, a reason must be provided as to why the Activity was not conducted. If the activity takes place at a later date, the Recipient must indicate if the change in date will extend the end date of the Project Timeline.

At the end date of the Project Timeline or earlier completion of the project, the Recipient must complete and submit a Final Report Form which includes:

The Final Report Form must be submitted within 15 days of project completion.

NOTE: For recipients entering into a Contribution Agreement with the Department, the release of fund will be subject to interim financial and project reports. These reporting requirements will be described in the corresponding Contribution Agreement.


Academic Institution: A recognized Canadian educational institution dedicated to education and research.

Activity: A trip or a leg of a trip set in a specific city outlining the meetings with the partner(s) in the identified city, the expected outcomes and the related expenses.

Applicant: The Canadian organization that employs the innovator(s) who will participate in the CanExport Innovation activities.

Canadian Organization: A small or medium enterprise, academic institution or non-government research centre incorporated in Canada that employs the eligible CanExport Innovation participants and owns or co-owns the intellectual property of the technology being commercialized.

Contractual Agreement: A legally binding instrument between the Applicant and the Foreign Partner for the purpose of establishing an R&D collaboration that will result in the adaptation, validation or co-development of a new or improved technology-driven product, service or application up to its commercialization. The formalization of a Contractual Agreement represents the last step prior to commencing the R&D work.

The Department: Global Affairs Canada (GAC), identified as the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) in the Government of Canada’s Registry of Applied Titles, has overall responsibility for the CanExport Innovation Program.

Final Report Form: A report describing the overall results of all Activities approved by the Department.

Foreign Partner: A foreign organization with specific knowledge, expertise and/or technology that the Applicant is seeking to collaborate with to enhance a specific product, service, or application that will lead to anticipated commercial outcomes. A Foreign Partner must be actively contributing to the technical aspects of the R&D work.

CanExport Innovation Project: The activities, foreign partners and anticipated outcomes outlined by the applicant in the Application Form and Budget Form.

Innovator(s): An employee of a Canadian organization who will participate in the CanExport Innovation activities.

Intellectual Property Agreement: A contract defining the parameters for the protection, purchase and/or sale of intellectual property rights. It sets forth the rights and responsibilities of each organization concerning intellectual property that may be created during the term of the collaboration.

Joint Revenue Model: A commercial enterprise undertaken jointly by two or more parties that otherwise retains their distinct identities.

Market: The country and/or region where the foreign partner is located.

Material Transfer Agreement: A contract that governs the transfer of tangible research materials between two organizations, when the recipient intends to use it for his or her own research purposes.

Non-Government Research Centre: An organization founded for the purpose of conducting research that is not wholly or majority funded by the government.

Non-Peaceful Use: The application and commercialization of a technology for military purposes such as the development of arms combat support or intelligence gathering. This is not a comprehensive list.

Partnership Agreement: A contract that explicitly details the relationship between the business partners and their individual obligations and contributions to the partnership.

Project Timeline: The period starting at the earliest start date of all Activities until the latest end date of all Activities.

R&D Collaboration: Research and development project undertaken by the Applicant and the foreign partner for the purpose of adapting, validating or co-developing a new or improved technology-driven product, service or application up to its commercialization.

Recipient: A CanExport Innovation program applicant whose project was approved for funding.

Service: The provision of work from an individual or organization hired and paid for by another individual or organization. For CanExport Innovation program purposes, pursuing partnerships for the purpose of hiring and paying an organization to conduct R&D work for the Canadian organization is ineligible. Additionally, pursuing partnerships where the Canadian organization will be paid to provide work for the foreign organization is ineligible.

Signing Authority: Officer or representative vested (explicitly, implicitly, or through conduct) with the powers to commit the authorizing organization to a binding legal agreement.

Small or Medium-Sized Enterprise (SME): A for-profit company with 500 or fewer full-time equivalent employees.

Technology Adaptation: Projects that typically involve a product already commercialized in at least one market which requires some technical modification to fit a new market (either foreign or the Canadian market depending on the project lead).

Technology Co-Development: Projects that typically involve the creation of a new product with significantly longer project timeframes and a much more uncertain path to commercialization.

Technology Licensing Agreement: agreement whereby an owner of a technological intellectual property allows another party to use, modify, and/or resell that property in exchange for compensation.

Technology Validation: Projects that typically involve a new product that has yet to be commercialized and requires technical and business validation from potential early adopter customers.

Trip: One or more activities conducted as part of one continuous travel itinerary starting from Canada and ending in Canada. One trip can include multiple destinations, reflected as multiple Activities.

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