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CanExport Funding During COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

September 24, 2020
Plant Floor

The CanExport Canadian government funding program supports businesses in their export market development projects, however, due to the effects of COVID-19, the program is changing the way it is helping assist businesses during the pandemic.

Through CanExport, Canadian businesses may access up to 75% of costs associated with export marketing projects to a maximum $75,000 per application.

The CanExport program is temporarily halting all travel related funding due to the novel coronavirus, but businesses can receive grants for other eligible projects such as virtual events, marketing tools, and market research.

About CanExport Market Development Grants

What is CanExport?

The CanExport program is a popular Canadian government grant that supports businesses as they explore/expand new and under-developed international markets. The export grant was designed to help firms participate in trade shows where company representatives travel to an export market and meet with potential customers. The program has suspended grants for travel or trade show-related projects but continuing to support businesses with non-travel-related eligible activities such as marketing expenses, market research, and virtual events.

How much funding could my business receive through the program?

Companies may access up to 75% of project costs to a maximum $75,000 in non-repayable funding per project. The maximum annual CanExport funding per applicant is $99,999 per government fiscal year, which begins April 1 and ends March 31.

Who administers the CanExport Program?

The CanExport program is being co-delivered by the Government of Canada through an administrative arrangement between Global Affairs Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) and the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP). NRC-IRAP has been chosen as a partner for its expertise in providing support and funding to Canadian SMEs.

CanExport Funding Eligibility Factors

Who is eligible for CanExport Grants?

Canadian businesses eligible for CanExport must fulfill the following criteria during COVID-19:

  • Be a for-profit organization;
  • Earn annual revenues ranging from $100,000 to $100,000,000;
  • Maintain 1 to 500 full-time employees;
  • Be incorporated federally or classified as a limited liability partnership (LLP);
  • Create eligible project expenses of $20,000 or more; and
  • Be financially stable and able to pay all project expenses not covered by the program. Businesses in the agricultural or agri-food sector are NOW eligible for CanExport grants.

What activities are eligible for funding?

The CanExport program will support projects that allow a Canadian business to gain exposure and find clients in new international markets. The eligible activities have changed during COVID-19. This includes activities such as:

  • Marketing tools creation, adaptation, and translation;
  • Business, tax, and legal advice;
  • Participation at virtual trade events and fairs;
  • Interpretation services;
  • Search engine optimization (SEO);
  • IP protection, certification, and adaptation; and
  • Market research, feasibility studies, identification of key contacts, and b2b facilitation.

What activities are ineligible for CanExport funding?

The following project activities are not eligible to receive CanExport business grants:

  • Activities in a foreign country where more than 10% or $100,000 of total sales has been generated in the last 24 months;
  • Ongoing or operational activities not associated with market expansion;
  • Language training and other educational services; and
  • Promoting Canadian investment or seeking economic immigrants.

How to Apply for CanExport Funding

When should I apply for funding?

CanExport funding applications should be submitted at least eight weeks prior to incurring project expenses.

How can I apply for CanExport funding?

Application forms can be accessed online and once completed will be approximately 8-10 pages in length, plus supporting documentation.

When can my business start the project?

Businesses can begin executing a project once the company’s application has received formal approval into the CanExport program and a contribution agreement has been signed. Have more questions? View additional CanExport FAQs, or discuss your business' eligibility for CanExport funding with a member of Mentor Works.

If you’re growing globally, download our Ebook to learn how smart manufacturing can support your efforts to expand while retaining a single version of truth and view into your operations.

Mentor Works is a business support organization specializing in Canadian government funding. The Ontario-based business has helped hundreds of businesses build and execute their funding strategy through a mix of federal and provincial government grants, loans, and tax credits. Mentor Works offers free online resources, funding webinars, and news via their website at

About the Author

Matthew Mongeon Marketing Coordinator at Mentor Works

Matthew Mongeon - As a Marketing Coordinator at Mentor Works, Matthew helps Canadian business owners by creating educational content on what Government funding opportunities are available to them.

Matthew Mongeon