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Trade Commissioner Service > Funding and support programs > CanExport > CanExport Innovation > Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions – CanExport Innovation

CanExport Innovation provides up to $75,000 to Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises, academic institutions and non-government research centers to facilitate collaborative research and development (R&D) with international partners and investors. This FAQ answers common questions. Consult our detailed Applicant’s guide to find out how the funding works, which activities we cover and to review assessment criteria.

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Potential applicants

  • In light of COVID-19, is it still possible to submit an application?

    Yes. CanExport Innovation now provides funding for non-travel activities. This is to assist in the partnership negotiation and formalization process with pre-identified foreign partner(s).

    We support the following types of non-travel activities:

    • Applying for intellectual property protection in international markets
    • Applying for certification to demonstrate compliance with local regulatory standards in international markets
    • Seeking expert legal and business advice
    • Shipping technology to determine feasibility/compatibility with a partner’s technology
    • Creating, adapting or translating promotional plans or materials


    We also encourage participation in virtual meetings to:

    • negotiate and/or formalize R&D collaboration agreements for the applicant’s technology
    • pitch and/or negotiate with foreign investors for supporting R&D work on the applicant’s technology
    • participate in a trade show which includes event-arranged B2B meetings with foreign organizations
    • participate in a trade mission led by the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) with R&D-related B2B meetings with foreign partners 

    Please note that funding for travel and travel-dependent activities is on hold. We will consider requests for travel and in-person participation at international trade events once Canada and the destination country have lifted travel restrictions.

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

  • Can I request funding for travel-related activities in anticipation of easing of travel restrictions?

    No, we will consider funding for travel-dependent activities once Canada and the destination country have lifted travel restrictions. We encourage you to make informed decisions to minimize risk and protect your health and the health of your employees. Please refer to the Government of Canada’s travel advisories for the most recent information.

Preparing an application

  • Which organizations can apply?

    CanExport Innovation accepts applications from Canadian small and medium-sized companies, as well as academic institutions and non-government research centres. To apply, you must provide your organization’s:

    • Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) business number
    • registration or incorporation documents (a copy will suffice)
  • Is there a minimum revenue requirement for CanExport Innovation?

    There is no minimum revenue requirement to apply. CanExport Innovation is open to pre-revenue companies. However, funding decisions take into account your organization’s financial capacity. We require applicants to demonstrate they have sufficient private revenues to cover 25% of costs for proposed activities. Applicants must also demonstrate they have sufficient funds (or a credible plan to secure funds) to finance R&D work resulting from a collaborative R&D agreement. These funds may come from private and/or public sources.

  • Which foreign partners are eligible?

    CanExport Innovation supports activities with pre-identified foreign partners of your choosing. You must include with your application written proof (letter or email) that a given foreign partner is interested in working with you. The documentation should make clear their willingness to meet with your organization on an upcoming date to discuss and pursue potential R&D collaboration or investments.

  • Can I use CanExport Innovation funding to conduct R&D?

    No, our program provides financial assistance to establish new collaborative research and development (R&D) partnerships with pre-identified foreign partners. We provide funding for activities up until the point at which partnerships are formalized. All activities subsequent to the formalization of the R&D partnership, including the R&D work itself, are ineligible for CanExport Innovation funding.

    If you are unsure about the eligibility of your project or proposed activities, please read our detailed Applicant’s Guide and contact CanExport Innovation (CanExportInnovation@international.gc.ca).

  • Why can I include only one event or conference per application?

    CanExport Innovation supports targeted meetings to pursue joint R&D collaboration. The program is not event-driven, which is why we limit participation to one virtual meeting or in-person meeting per application.

    Participating in a virtual trade show is eligible when the purpose is to identify a partner with whom a potential R&D collaboration may subsequently be pursued. Participation must include B2B meetings with potential foreign partners, arranged by the event host as part of the program. General participation is ineligible.

    Exceptionally, we may consider providing funding to meet in-person with pre-identified foreign partners on the margins of an event or conference when travel advisories are lifted.

    To be eligible, participation in the event or conference must be:

    • for the purpose of negotiating and/or formalizing an R&D collaboration with a potential foreign partner
    • include confirmed meetings with pre-identified foreign partners
    • be relevant to the industry in which the applicant is operating
  • When can I expect a decision?

    We encourage you to submit a completed application at least 40 business days before the start date of the first proposed activity. We may refuse funding for activities that take place within 40 days of the application.

  • When can I expect payment?

    For successful applicants who are eligible for a grant, we will issue a payment following the full execution of their funding agreement. Payment may take up to 45 business days after the agreement comes into effect.

    Successful applicants to whom we provide a contribution must submit a claim so we can reimburse them for expenses. Payments issued under a Contribution Agreement may take up to 30 business days once we fully assess the claim.

    We will issue payments to the Canadian organization’s corporate financial account. There are no exceptions.

  • I have submitted an application, but no longer intend to undertake some activities because of COVID-19. What should I do?

    Contact the CanExport Innovation team (CanExportInnovation@international.gc.ca) as soon as possible with the update. We will withdraw your application and close it without penalty. To revise proposed activities or change the list of identified partners, you must complete and submit a new application.

Current funding recipients

  • Do I need to save receipts for my project?

    Yes, you must keep the following for five (5) years after completion of your project in case of an audit:

    • proofs of payment
    • proof of travel
    • receipts
    • a record of activities

    We also encourage recipients to segregate CanExport Innovation project costs from normal operation costs in record-keeping to provide traceability of CanExport Innovation expenses.

  • I am no longer able to complete my approved activities because of COVID-19. What should I do?

    Contact CanExport Innovation (CanExportInnovation@international.gc.ca) as soon as possible to explain how COVID-19 is contributing to the cancellation of your approved activities.

    If you have yet to receive your grant payment, you can cancel and close your project without penalty.

    If you have already received your funding, CanExport Innovation may consider allowing you to reallocate the funding toward other eligible expenses if you can provide sufficient justification.

  • I would like to postpone my approved activities. How should I proceed?

    Contact the CanExport Innovation team (CanExportInnovation@international.gc.ca) to request an extension to the project timeline and explain why you postponed your activities. Please note that you must spend the funding during the same government fiscal year in which we approved it. CanExport Innovation does not support projects that span across multiple fiscal years.

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