Frequently Asked Questions – CanExport SMEs
CanExport SMEs provides up to $75,000 to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) registered in Canada to help develop export opportunities for their products and services in new international markets. Consult our detailed Applicant’s guide to find out how the funding works, which activities we cover and how to build a project step-by-step.
In light of COVID-19, is it still possible to submit an application?
Yes. CanExport SMEs continues to provide funding for non-travel activities to help prepare for international markets where your company has little or no sales. We also encourage virtual participation in international trade events and meetings.
We support the following 5 categories of non-travel activities:
- Market research, feasibility studies, identification of key contacts and b2b facilitation
- Legal, tax and business advice
- Intellectual property protection, certification and adaptation of contracts
- Translation, adaptation and creation of marketing tools
- Interpretation services
At the same time, funding for travel and travel-dependent activities are on hold. The program will consider requests for travel and in-person participation at international trade events once travel restrictions have been lifted in Canada and in the destination country.
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.
The bulk of my application involves travels and in-person participation at trade shows. Should I wait until travel restrictions are lifted?
Yes, you should wait until:
- travel restrictions are lifted
- trade shows cancelled because of COVID 19 have new confirmed dates
We advise against submitting an application that includes travel-related expenses in anticipation that travel restrictions will ease. This is because funding for trips 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.
We invite you to consider the many non-travel activities for which we provide support and participation in virtual meetings until travel restrictions are lifted. Please refer to the Government of Canada travel advisories for the most recent information.
Preparing an application
I am having technical issues with the application site or have forgotten my password. Who should I contact?
If you are having technical problems or need help resetting your password, contact NRC-IRAP (NRC.CanExport.CNRC@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca).
When can I expect a decision?
We encourage you to submit a completed application at least 60 business days before the first proposed activity’s start date. Applicants whose activities are scheduled to begin in less than 60 business days risk being refused funding for those activities.
If your project is approved, expenses will be eligible from the start date specified in your funding agreement. The program does not reimburse expenses incurred prior to a project’s start date. There are no exceptions.
Please note that the project start date is adjusted based on the date your completed application is submitted:
- If submitting between April 1 and December 14, the project start date will be the day your application was submitted.
- If submitting from December 15 to March 31, the project start date will be April 1 of the following government fiscal year.
Current funding recipients
Do I need to save receipts for my project?
Yes, you must keep proofs of payment, proof of travel and receipts* for 5 years after completion of your project in case of an audit. We encourage recipients to segregate CanExport project costs from normal operation costs in record-keeping to provide traceability of CanExport expenses.
* Recipients given a per diem for approved travel are not required to keep receipts for meals and incidentals. They must, however, keep proof of travel (example: airline tickets, hotel receipts, etc.) and a record of activities for the corresponding days.
Trade shows and other events approved as part of my CanExport SMEs project have been cancelled because of COVID-19. What should I do about costs already incurred?
If you have incurred costs for approved activities, CanExport SMEs will reimburse 75% of costs that cannot be refunded. The usual claim procedures apply. You will not be penalised for unused funding because of COVID-19 related cancellations.
Trade shows and other events approved as part of my CanExport SMEs project have been cancelled because of COVID-19. Can I use my funding for activities in other markets?
No, you may only use CanExport SMEs funding for the approved activity categories and approved target markets listed in your CanExport SMEs funding agreement. To add or change target markets, please request to close the project and submit a new application with an updated export business case. You will not be penalised for unused funding because of COVID-19 related cancellations.
My trade show was cancelled and the organizers offered me a credit for future events. Can I still claim this expense as part of my active CanExport SMEs' project?
Yes. A credit is not a cash refund, therefore you may claim the expense. Note that credits used for future events cannot subsequently be submitted for reimbursement as part of a new application.
How do I close my project?
Closing a project requires submitting a final report and all outstanding claims. NRC IRAP manages the process: to request templates and submit documents, write to NRC.CanExport.CNRC@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca.
Processing time for final claims is approximately 30 business days. Once NRC IRAP officially closes the project, you are free to submit a new project for consideration to the CanExport SMEs program.
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