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CanExport SMEs - Applicant’s guide

CanExport SMEs provides up to $75,000 to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) registered in Canada for international business development activities. The program helps develop export opportunities for products and services in new international markets.

Table of contents

  1. Program overview
  2. Eligible companies
  3. How our funding works
  4. Eligible international markets
  5. Eligible expenses
  6. How to build a project
  7. Assessment criteria
  8. How to apply
  9. After applying
  10. Contact us

1. Program overview

CanExport SMEs is a funding program designed to promote and enhance Canada’s trade diversification efforts. It offers grants and contributions to Canadian companies to help them prepare for and establish a presence in international markets where they currently have little or no sales.

The program focuses on export marketing activities of existing products and services in foreign markets. Activities designed to attract investment or related to a company’s day to day operations in Canada are ineligible. Activities related to the development, production and distribution of new products and services are also ineligible.

CanExport SMEs supports exploratory activities as well as activities that contribute toward a longer-term strategy for internationalization. Companies may opt for a multi-year project, or submit a new application to build upon a previous project. Including up to 5 international markets helps companies accelerate their growth and pursue a regional expansion strategy. The choice of 7 activity categories allows for a high degree of project customization.

The program is delivered by the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS), Global Affairs Canada, in partnership with the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP).

COVID-19 and CanExport SMEs

CanExport SMEs supports several categories of non-travel activities to help prepare for international markets. We also encourage virtual participation in international trade events and meetings.

Approval of funding for travel and 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. Eligible companies

In this section

2.1 Eligibility criteria

CanExport SMEs is open to all industry sectors.

To be eligible, your company must satisfy 5 essential criteria:

* Companies that do not have a CRA business number because they are registered on First Nations reserve lands may write to CanExportSMEs@international.gc.ca.

Example of how to count full-time employees

Your company has 5 part-time employees on its payroll. Each employee works one day per week. Over the span of one year, these employees represent the equivalent of 1 full-time employee.

Declared annual revenue

CanExport SMEs reserves the right to validate information provided in your application. We may do so by requesting copies of your company’s financial statements or any other supporting document.

To complete your application, please use the amount from the following section of your taxes for your company’s last complete fiscal year:

For monthly and quarterly filers, please use the most recent 12-month period.

Companies that have not filed a tax return should apply only after they have the required financial information.

We do not grant exemptions to the annual revenue eligibility requirement for companies that:

2.2 Ineligible companies and projects

Third-party representatives

Third-party representatives are generally not eligible for CanExport SMEs funding. These would include:

Cannabis and tobacco related projects

We welcome projects from all sectors.

However, we do not offer funding for projects that have a focus on recreational cannabis, even in jurisdictions where its use is legal. This includes projects that focus on the cultivation or supply of recreational cannabis, as well as ancillary products related to its cultivation or use. Additionally, we do not provide funding for projects focusing on tobacco, vaping or any similar industries involving recreational substance inhalation.

We make no exceptions to this.

More information about eligibility

If you are unsure about the eligibility of your company, please contact CanExportSMEs@international.gc.ca.

2.3 Companies in the agriculture and agri-food sector

CanExport SMEs supports companies in the agriculture and agri-food sector since August 2019. We work together with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to support international business development activities.

CanExport SMEs provides:

AAFC’s Agri-Marketing program provides:

Events covered by the Canada Pavilion Program are not eligible for CanExport SMEs funding. This is true even when AAFC is not providing financial support for participation in the Canada Pavilion Program.

Eligible companies may request CanExport SMEs funding to participate in international trade shows outside of the Canada Pavilion Program only.

The Canada Pavilion Program includes 7 events:

  1. GULFOOD (Dubai)
  2. FoodEx Japan (Tokyo)
  3. Food & Hotel Asia (Singapore)
  4. Seoul Food & Hotel (Seoul)
  5. Salon International de l’Alimentation (Paris)
  6. ANUGA (Cologne)
  7. Food & Hospitality China (Shanghai)

3. How our funding works

CanExport SME provides funding on a cost-sharing basis with the recipient. The applicant may submit a maximum budget of $100,000; the minimum budget is set at $20,000.

The program funds up to 75% of eligible costs for $15,000 to $75,000 in funding per project. The applicant is responsible for the remaining 25% (in-kind contributions are not permitted).

In this section

3.1 Funding mechanism

CanExport SMEs commits to a funding decision within 60 business days.

Financial assistance can take the form of a contribution or grant.

Contributions work on a reimbursement-basis and have additional reporting requirements. For contributions, applicants must have sufficient cash flow to fund their proposed activities in their entirety, prior to reimbursement.

We determine the funding mechanism based on a risk assessment of the applicant and the project. We assess each application on its own merit. A decision to award a grant is no guarantee that future successful applications by the same company will also receive grants.

3.2 Project time frame

CanExport SMEs funding is available year-round. You may submit applications at any time.

Support for multi-year projects is available. In your application, submit a budget that divides activities by government fiscal year. Please note that:

Example of budget breakdown by fiscal year

Your company intends to exhibit at a trade show taking place in June 2021. You must register and pay a deposit by December 2020 to guarantee your spot. In your budget, you must:

3.3 Trade missions for under-represented groups

Companies participating in trade missions organized by Global Affairs Canada for groups under-represented in international trade (women, LGBTQ2+ and Indigenous exporters) may exceptionally submit a project of less than $20,000 for consideration. Approved projects are funded at 75%.

We make no exceptions to eligibility criteria for companies that participate in a GAC-led trade mission.

3.4 Stacking limit for government funding

CanExport SMEs’ stacking limit applies when funding is accessed from different Canadian government sources for the same activities within a project.

We calculate stacking based on the total funding provided by federal, provincial, territorial or municipal governments, or Crown corporations. Canadian government assistance must not exceed 75%.

Applicants must identify all Canadian government sources of funding for each expenditure submitted as part of their application. If you fail to disclose all other sources of funding, we may be forced to:

If total Canadian government assistance exceeds the stacking limit of 75%, CanExport SMEs will be adjust the funding to comply with this limit.

3.5 Funding limits

CanExport SMEs identifies companies by their Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) business number:

If you fail to disclose pre-existing relationships and affiliations, CanExport SMEs may terminate the grant or contribution agreement, or take other action. This includes relationships and affiliations between the recipient and its consultants.

4. Eligible international markets

In this section

4.1 Target markets

CanExport SMEs supports market diversification by helping Canadian companies introduce their products and services to new international markets.

We define target market as the country (or sub-national market) where your company wishes to secure new customers or generate sales with the help of CanExport SMEs funding.

We consider a market new and eligible if, during the company’s last complete tax reporting year (or last 12 months for monthly and quarterly filers), sales for that particular market were:

The applicant may select a maximum of 5 target markets per project. If you include more than one target market in your application, each market must be new and eligible as stated above. We will refuse activities proposed in markets we deem ineligible.

For our purposes, you should not confuse target markets with:

Example of a target market

Your company is attending a major trade show in Germany knowing that important sales leads from France will be attending. The destination for your activities is Germany. However, your target market is France.

4.2 Ineligible markets

Efforts to introduce new business lines in markets where the applicant has already made more than $100,000 in revenue or more than 10% of the company’s total sales are not eligible for CanExport SMEs funding. To determine sales in a given market, CanExport SMEs considers brick-and-mortar retail sales as well as online sales.

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

4.3 Sub-national markets

Brazil, China, India and the United States (US) are segmented into independent sub-national markets.

Each sub-national market counts as one choice toward your company’s maximum of 5 target markets per project. In your application, you must disclose export sales for the chosen sub-national market, as well as total export sales for that country.

Brazil: sub-national markets

We recognize Brazil to have 4 markets for the purpose of this program:

East-Central Brazil
North and West Brazil
São Paulo
South Brazil

China: sub-national markets

We recognize China to have 4 markets for the purpose of this program:

East China
South China
North China
West China

India: sub-national markets

We recognize India to have 3 markets for the purpose of this program:

North and East India
South India
West India

The United States (US): sub-national markets

We recognize the US to have 4 markets for the purpose of this program:

Midwest US
Southern US
Northeast US
West US

5. Eligible expenses

COVID-19 and CanExport SMEs

CanExport SMEs supports several categories of non-travel activities to help prepare for international markets. We also encourage virtual participation in international trade events and meetings.

Approval of funding for travel and 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 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.

To be eligible for funding, proposed activities and incurred expenses must take place between the project start and completion dates specified in your funding agreement. All expenses and activities outside of the project phase will not be eligible for reimbursement.

Global Affairs Canada will notify applicants of whether their project has been approved. Once notified, companies must return a signed funding agreement to NRC IRAP within 20 business days. If they fail to do so, they forfeit their funding and will not be reimbursed for their activities.

Important! Applicants must link every activity for which they request funding to a new and eligible target market. We reserve the right to request any evidence in support of costs incurred by your company, including work performed by consultants.

In this section

5.1 Travel for meetings/events with key contacts from target market(s) (category A)

CanExport SMEs may support international travel expenses for the purpose of:

Travel within Canada is ineligible.

How we assess international travel expenses

We use three (3) criteria to assess whether international travel expenses are eligible:

1- Travel duration

We determine reasonable travel duration based on the scope and complexity of the activities the applicant intends to undertake. The applicant must provide an outline of travel dates and activities they will undertake during each trip. We pay per diem expenses to a maximum of 30 days per trip.

2- Number of participants

Recipients can submit travel expenses for a maximum of 2 individuals per trip: owners of the company or employees based in Canada. Employees based in Canada must be legally able to work in Canada.

3- Costs

We allocate funding per person based on reasonableness* of estimated costs. Estimates that appear high will be flagged and may impact approving your project. Applicants should provide additional explanations for high estimates.

We do not require receipts for meals and incidentals; however, we ask you to keep proof of stay (for example accommodation receipt, airline tickets, etc.) for 5 years in the event of an audit.

*The applicant must provide quotes that are reasonable, economical and take into account, where possible, advance booking. CanExport SMEs commits to a decision within 60 business days.

Eligible expenses for international travel

The following expenses are eligible:

Note: Travellers may opt for a higher fare class or ground transportation if the claimed expense does not exceed the equivalent direct route economy or premium economy class airfare. The applicant must provide supporting evidence that the higher fare class or alternate mode of transportation is cost-effective compared to economy or premium economy airfare.

Ineligible expenses under international travel

This is not a comprehensive list of ineligible expenses. We recommend you also consult the program’s general list of ineligible expenses.

5.2 Participation in trade events to meet key contacts from target market(s) (category B)

CanExport SMEs may support participation in international trade events. These include trade fairs, seminars, international forums or private exhibitions. Participation can be virtual or in-person when travel permits. Trade events taking place in Canada are ineligible.

Eligible expenses for international trade events and meetings

The following expenses are eligible:

When travel permits, for events requiring in-person participation:

Ineligible expenses under international trade events and meetings

This is not a comprehensive list of ineligible expenses. We recommend you also consult the program’s general list of ineligible expenses.

5.3 Marketing tools creation, adaptation and translation for target market(s) (category C)

CanExport SMEs may support creating or adapting marketing tools for target markets. Adaptation requires significantly enhancing existing marketing tools with new features, functionality or foreign language availability. We will not cover in-house expenses, such as employee salaries.

Eligible expenses for marketing tools

The following expenses are eligible:

Eligible platforms include:

Ineligible expenses for marketing tools

Important! CanExport SMEs does not support costs related to “core” marketing and promotional materials that support your company’s operations in Canada. These include creating a Canadian website or software development expenses.

The following expenses are also ineligible:

This is not a comprehensive list of ineligible expenses. We recommend you also consult the program’s general list of ineligible expenses.

5.4 Interpretation services for target market(s) (category D)

CanExport SMEs may support paying for an interpreter to facilitate teleconference/videoconference meetings or in person interactions when travel permits. In your application, indicate the language for which you need interpretation.

The interpreter must be an independent contractor and cannot be an employee of your company. As such, travel expenses and per diem for an interpreter are ineligible. We recommend you also consult the program’s general ineligible expense list.

5.5 Intellectual property protection, certification and adaptation of contracts for target market(s) (category E)

CanExport SMEs may support application fees paid to regulatory agencies for intellectual property (IP) protection and certification. Please submit relevant consultant fees separately under Category F.

Eligible expenses under IP protection and certification

The following expenses are eligible:

Ineligible expenses under IP protection and certification

This is not a comprehensive list of ineligible expenses. We recommend you also consult the program’s general list of ineligible expenses.

5.6 Consultant - Business, tax and legal advice for target market(s) (category F)

CanExport SMEs may support paying a consultant for expert advice pertaining to your target markets.

To be eligible, the consultant must be an independent contractor and have a specific expertise outside of what the applicant company is expected to have. Expenses are ineligible where there is indication of an employer-employee relationship.

You can request a maximum of $66,667 per project for work done by consultants. The program will cover 75% of eligible costs up to $50,000 in funding for categories F and G.

In your application, you must clearly explain the role of the consultant. Consultants (including another corporation) must not be affiliated with the recipient organization in any way. This means that recipients must complete all transactions at arm's-length terms and for full market value. The program reserves the right to request any evidence in support of the work performed. We can deny any expense incurred by a consultant who is affiliated with the recipient organization or any of its members.

Note: The consultant may be based in Canada or in a target market. With sufficient justification, consultants based in a foreign market other than the applicant’s target markets may be eligible.

Eligible expenses under consultant fees for expert advice

Ineligible expenses under consultant fees for expert advice

This is not a comprehensive list of ineligible expenses. We recommend you also consult the program’s general list of ineligible expenses.

5.7 Consultant - Market research, feasibility studies, identification of key contacts and b2b facilitation for target market(s) (category G)

CanExport SMEs may support paying a consultant to provide services or create products for international business development (IBD), namely:

In addition, the purchase of IBD tools may be eligible with appropriate justification:

To be eligible, the consultant must have a specific expertise outside of what the applicant company is expected to have, and be an independent contractor. Expenses are ineligible where there is indication of an employer-employee relationship.

You can request a maximum of $66,667 per project for work done by consultants. The program will cover 75% of eligible costs up to $50,000 in funding for categories F and G.

In your application, you must clearly explain the role of the consultant. Consultants (including another corporation) must not be affiliated with the recipient organization in any way. This means that recipients must complete all transactions at arm's-length terms and for full market value. The program reserves the right to request any evidence in support of the work performed. We can deny any expense incurred by a consultant who is affiliated with the recipient organization or any of its members.

Ineligible expenses under consultant fees for IBD products and services

This is not a comprehensive list of ineligible expenses. We recommend you also consult the program’s general list of ineligible expenses.

5.8 Ineligible expenses

This is not a comprehensive list of ineligible expenses. Please consult category specific exclusions under sections 5.1 to 5.7 as applicable.

Ineligible expenses include:

Important! If an item is not listed in Section 5, it does not mean that it is an eligible expense. If you are unsure about the eligibility of any of your proposed expenses, please contact us prior to undertaking the activity and incurring the expense.

Contact CanExport SMEs (CanExportSMEs@international.gc.ca), copying NRC IRAP (NRC.CanExport.CNRC@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca).

6. How to build a project


CanExport SMEs defines a project as the ensemble of activities for which a company requests funding in its application. Do not confuse it with a construction project or your company’s broader expansion plans.

Your application must tell the full story of your company’s plans in terms of CanExport. Answers should be concise. The program will assess the quality and the pertinence of information provided.

You must satisfy the program that the project put forward in your application:

Steps to submit a successful application

Step 1: Select a maximum of 5 international markets in which your company wishes to make sales or secure new customers.

Step 2: Confirm that each market you have chosen meets CanExport SMEs’ definition of a new and eligible target market.

Step 3: For each target market, set realistic objectives and outline a detailed plan of action.

Step 4: For each target market, select from 7 categories of activities to help you achieve your objectives. The exact combination will vary depending on market requirements and your company’s profile.

Step 5: Provide a detailed and specific budget. Do not include any activities that are “To be confirmed” or “To be determined.”

Step 6: Allow a realistic timeframe in which to conduct your activities.

Building your project - example scenario

Company A manufactures innovative cleantech products. After several months of negotiations, Company A is on the verge of signing a major distribution deal in Japan. Company A’s local representative in Japan facilitates an introduction to a potential customer based in Taiwan. The potential customer is interested in buying Company A’s products if they perform to expectation.

The sales lead is important enough that Company A is considering setting up a new office in Australia to coordinate its operations in Taiwan and throughout East Asia. Unfortunately, Company A is not familiar with the Australian market and needs to identify credible representatives to move forward.

Company A is not ready to travel to Australia. The priority is to direct limited resources toward securing sales in Taiwan first. If successful, Company A intends to submit a new application to CanExport SMEs with additional activities for Australia.

Company A submits the following application:

1st target market:Japan

2nd target market: Taiwan

3rd target market: Australia

How does CanExport SMEs view the project?

Company A has provided a strong business case for conducting activities in Japan and Taiwan.
However, the application mistakenly identifies Australia as a target market. This is because Company A is not explicitly interested in sales to Australia, but rather in leveraging a presence in Australia to generate sales in Taiwan.

The program will not accept consultant fees for Australia. Note that those same activities would have been eligible if Company A had submitted them under Taiwan, an eligible target market. If the project’s budget falls under $20,000 without the Australia component, CanExport SMEs will refuse Company A’s application.

7. Assessment criteria

CanExport SMEs is a competitive program with limited funding. We assess all applications against the same merit criteria and score the application relative to:

We award funding on a competitive basis for activities that will be most effective in achieving their international business development goals. We take into account a company’s resources and capacities. Funding decisions are final and non-negotiable.

In this section

We assess applications using the following 5 criteria:

Criteria 1: Pursuing new or expanded initiatives (“Incrementality”)

The program will assess if the project:

Criteria 2: Export business case

The program will assess the quality and pertinence of answers to the following questions:

Criteria 3: Market potential

The program will assess the choice of target markets by:

Criteria 4: Exporting readiness and history

The program will review:

*CanExport SMEs takes into consideration a company’s funding lapse rate. To build a strong track record with the program, recipients should claim at least 80% of approved funding.

Criteria 5: Global Affairs Canada trade priorities

We give special consideration to projects aligned with Government of Canada economic objectives and priorities. These include projects that:

8. How to apply

In this section

8.1 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. On the ground in more than 160 cities worldwide, the TCS shares market intelligence, uncovers opportunities for Canadian companies and helps to manage risk and reduce business costs. The TCS is a free service of the Government of Canada that helps companies prepare for international markets, assess market potential, find qualified contacts, and resolve business problems.

Applicants can find a trade commissioner responsible for their sectors in Canada and in international markets.

For assistance with domestic Canadian markets, we invite applicants from the agriculture and agri-food sector to consult with Agriculture and Agri-food Canada.

8.2 Submitting an application

Application system

We accept applications year-round through our online platform.

Ensure you regularly save your information as you progress through the online application process. You will lose your information if you do not save before:

You may use the menu at the top of your screen to navigate through the sections of your application. This allows you to see what follows and prepare your responses.

Note: Our online platform is not compatible with some versions of Internet Explorer. If you continue to have problems after selecting a different browser, contact Fluid Review (support@fluidreview.com). If you require assistance to reset your password, please follow this password support link.

Budget section

It is essential that your application includes a budget and costing that is fully broken down and justified. Otherwise, you may receive significantly less funding that your activities merit or none at all.

The budget table in Section 7.2 of the application form has formatting constraints. You should include pertinent information that cannot fit in the budget table in Section 6.4 of the application form.

Completed applications

An application cannot be edited or changed once submitted. Before submitting, ensure your application is complete, true and follows the program requirements outlined in this document.

Upon submitting your application, you will receive an email confirmation of receipt. Our system will automatically assign your application a unique submission identifier (such as A-4145075999). Please include this submission identifier in the subject line of all future correspondence with CanExport SMEs and NRC IRAP.

Concurrent projects

CanExport SMEs does not support concurrent projects. We will not assess new applications where documents for active projects are still outstanding. NRC IRAP requires approximately 30 business days to process your final claims and report before you can submit a new application to CanExport SMEs.

We do not consider CanExport Innovation projects to be concurrent projects. Companies that have applied or been approved for CanExport Innovation funding may submit a project for consideration to CanExport SMEs. Any overlap in expenses is subject to the stacking limit for government funding.

8.3 Processing time

CanExport SMEs requires you to submit a completed application at least 60 business days in advance of the first proposed activity’s start date. We may refuse funding for activities taking place less than 60 days from when you submit the application.

If we approve your project, we adjust the start date based on the date you submitted a completed application:

The program does not reimburse expenses incurred prior to a project’s start date. There will be no exceptions.

9. After applying

In this section

9.1 Decision

After we assess the application, we send a decision email to the signing authority identified in the application form. The Program is competitive and funds are limited: decisions are final and non-negotiable.

Any expenses incurred before CanExport SMEs communicates a decision are at the applicant’s own risk.

CanExport SMEs can provide information about your application or project only to individuals named in your application in Section 11. You may authorize us to speak with additional individuals by sending an email to this effect (CanExportSMEs@international.gc.ca).

Unsuccessful applicants

Applicants we do not approve for funding may submit a revised application. Activities included as part of a revised application must respect the timeline of 60 business days required of all application submissions.

Successful applicants

Recipients can expect to receive their funding agreement by electronic mail within 10-12 business days. An authorized officer of your firm will need to review, sign and return the agreement within 20 business days of the date it was ratified by NRC IRAP.

Companies that fail to return a signed funding agreement to NRC IRAP within the prescribed timeline of 20 business days forfeit their funding. We will not reimburse them for their activities.

The funding agreement is a legally binding document. It stipulates the responsibilities and obligations of both signing parties, the recipient and CanExport SMEs, on behalf of Global Affairs Canada.

The funding agreement outlines:

For operational reasons, the program reserves the right to shorten the end date of your project. This may happen if we consider that activities taking place at the end of a fiscal year could be moved earlier.

The National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) manages your funding agreement. NRC IRAP is also responsible for processing claims and issuing payments. Please direct all questions regarding claims and reporting to NRC IRAP (NRC.CanExport.CNRC@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca).

9.2 Payments

CanExport SMEs will reimburse eligible expenses in Canadian dollars. If you incur project expenses in another currency, you must keep proof of the exchange rate for the transaction.

Funding recipients must keep adequate financial records and segregate CanExport project costs from their normal operation costs. This is to provide traceability of CanExport expenses.

Recipients must keep receipts, proofs of payment, and proof of travel for 5 years after completion of their project in case of an audit.

Contribution recipients

Successful applicants to whom we provide contribution funding must submit reimbursement claims for eligible expenses. Recipients must include a status report with each claim.

We recommend submitting claims every 3 months at a minimum. NRC IRAP will assess the claim and status report. Reimbursement is based on the results of the assessment. NRC IRAP will endeavour to process claims and reimburse eligible expenses within 30 business days.

NRC IRAP provides templates for claims and status reports after they receive a signed copy of your funding agreement. They will send templates to the legal signing authority identified in the application.

You may request additional copies of the claim template by writing to NRC IRAP (NRC.CanExport.CNRC@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca).

Grant recipients

NRC IRAP will issue a payment to successful applicants who we approve for grant funding after NRC IRAP receives a signed copy of your funding agreement. Grant recipients do not submit claims.

For multi-year projects, the program makes payments according to the fiscal year distribution of your agreement.

Payments may take up to 30 business days.

9.3 Amendment to the funding agreement

It is possible for recipients of contribution funding to request a formal change to the terms of their funding agreement. However, we only consider amendments on an extraordinary basis when applicants provide a strong rationale.

We will consider a request for an amendment only if the recipient:

Please note that we cannot amend:

Knowing when to request an amendment

Important: Advise us immediately if you will not be using all of the funds provided for your project. Lapsing funds without sufficient justification will impact your company’s ability to secure future CanExport SMEs funding.

Amendments to a contribution agreement are most commonly requested to:

9.3.1 Adding a target market

Expanding into a target market outside of your approved project is a significant change from the original agreement. As such, it is ineligible for an amendment. In order to pivot to a new target market, you will need to close your active project and submit a new application.

9.3.2 Adding a travel destination

We require an amendment when travel to a new destination supports activities in approved target markets. You must submit the request before travelling. We will not approve trips to new destinations retroactively. To register a new travel destination, contact CanExportSMEs@international.gc.ca, copying NRC IRAP (NRC.CanExport.CNRC@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca).

9.3.3 Removing an approved target market

We do not require an amendment if you will not be conducting activities in all of the target markets approved for your project. You may reallocate funding for a given target market to other approved target markets, as long as you respect the total allocation per fiscal year.

9.3.4 Adding an activity category

You must make requests for an additional activity category prior to incurring expenses in the new category. CanExport SMEs reserves the right to approve or refuse amendment requests.

To request an amendment to add an activity category, write to CanExportSMEs@international.gc.ca, copying NRC IRAP (NRC.CanExport.CNRC@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca).

9.3.5 Removing an approved activity category

We do not require an amendment if you will not be conducting activities in all of the categories approved for your project. You may reallocate funding for a given activity category to other approved categories and approved target markets, as long as you respect the total allocation per fiscal year.

9.3.6 Requesting additional funding

We will only consider amendments requesting additional funds on an extraordinary basis and if a strong rationale is provided. CanExport SMEs will assess how your project is progressing. Requests for additional funding by a company that has yet to submit any claims will be refused automatically.

To request an amendment for additional funding, write to CanExportSMEs@international.gc.ca, copying NRC IRAP (NRC.CanExport.CNRC@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca).

9.3.7 Flagging approved funding that will go unused

Important! Advise us immediately if you will not be using all of the funds provided for your project. Lapsing funds without sufficient justification will impact your company’s ability to secure future CanExport SMEs funding.

To inform us that you do not require all of your approved funding, write to CanExportSMEs@international.gc.ca, copying NRC IRAP (NRC.CanExport.CNRC@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca).

9.3.8 Changing dates of activities or extending the project end date

We allocate funding amounts by government fiscal year, which runs from April 1 to March 31 of the following year. We cannot reallocate funds from one fiscal year to another. It is not possible to extend activities or the project end date into a new government fiscal year.

If you wish to undertake activities on different dates than those submitted in your application, you may do so without an amendment if the activity takes place before your project’s end date. Under exceptional circumstances, we may allow for a project extension. However, the new end date must not go into a new government fiscal year.

9.4 Disclosure of change of circumstances

You should 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 to 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:

9.5 Closing a project

We only allow applicants to have one active project at a time. Applicants can close their project by submitting a final report and any outstanding claims to NRC IRAP (NRC.CanExport.CNRC@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca). Processing time for final claims is approximately 20 business days. Once NRC IRAP officially closes the project, you are free to submit a new project for consideration to the CanExport SMEs program.

9.6 Reporting requirements

Interim report

Grant recipients approved for a multi-year project must complete an interim report by March 31. They must do so to receive payment for the next fiscal year. The interim report asks for details on how your project is progressing.

Final report

All recipients must submit a final report no later than 7 days after the project completion date. Contribution recipients must include a final claim with their final report.

The final report will ask you to detail:

NRC IRAP provides recipients with a template for the final report. We include the template with your fully executed funding agreement. Recipients may also request a copy by contacting NRC.CanExport.CNRC@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca.

In the event that you do not satisfy the terms and conditions of the funding agreement, we may request repayment of funds.

Snapshot report

We ask that recipients complete a one-page questionnaire once a year for 3 years following the end of the project phase. The snapshot report helps us understand how your company has benefitted from participating in the CanExport SMEs program:

We collect this information for statistical purposes only. It does not factor into the evaluation of future CanExport SMEs applications.

Audits

Recipients may be subject to an audit. If your company is selected for audit, we will notify you well in advance. Audits are carried out by GAC/NRC IRAP or professional auditing firms on their behalf. You must maintain records of activities as well as receipts for all expenses related to your approved project for 5 years. If an audit identifies overpayment, it must be reimbursed.

Site visits

On occasion, a trade commissioner with Global Affairs Canada may visit companies at their place of business or at the site where approved projects and activities are taking place.

Program evaluation

Evaluating program performance is a key part of the federal government's strategy to manage for results. We may ask recipients of the CanExport SMEs program to provide information on how their project has performed to an evaluator. Funding recipients may also be asked to respond to a questionnaire to support an evaluation of the program.

10. Contact us

If you have questions that this guide does not answer, please contact us: CanExportSMEs@international.gc.ca.

Due to the high volume of requests and applications that we receive, we are only able to respond to questions that this guide does not already answer or that are not covered by our Frequently Asked Questions.

Please contact the National Research Council (NRC.CanExport.CNRC@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca) if you have questions about:

If you are having difficulty with our online application system, contact Fluid Review (support@fluidreview.com ).

If you require assistance to reset your password, please follow this password support link.

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