Applicant’s Guide to the CanExport Program

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Table of contents

Eligibility

To be considered for possible funding, the applicant must meet the following eligibility criteria:

Eligible activities

To be eligible, activities must aim to promote international business development and must go beyond the applicant’s core activities, represent new initiatives and provide an opportunity to yield incremental results. They also should happen entirely within the timeframe of the project. For illustrative purposes, these activities could include:

Ineligible activities

The following activities are not considered eligible under the CanExport program:

Eligible expenses

Eligible expenditures are shared up to a maximum of 50 percent between the CanExport program and the applicant. For illustrative purposes, please see the following examples of eligible expenses:

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

Note: if you hire a Contractor or a Consultant, and travel expenses must be incurred as part of the project, these costs, must be invoiced by the Contractor/Consultant as part of the work completed and cannot be claimed as part of travel costs.

Participation to trade events to meet key contacts from target market

Interpretation services for target market(s)

Marketing tools- adaptation and translation for target market(s)

IP protection/certification/ adaptation of contracts for target market(s)

*Consultant fees associated with these activities need to be included in the following category, “Business, tax or legal advice for target market”.

* Business, tax or legal advice for target market

* Market research/ key contacts identification/b2b for target market(s)

*Expenses associated with activities marked with an asterisk are considered consultant fees.  The total cumulative consultant expenses must not exceed 50% of the total approved contribution amount outlined in your CA. Total eligible consultant fees can be calculated by dividing the approved contribution amount by 2 (or alternatively, by multiplying the approved contribution amount by 50%).

Ineligible expenses

Though most expenses supporting international business development are eligible, as described above, the following list of expenses are deemed to be ineligible under the CanExport program:

Eligible markets

CanExport is open, with few exceptionsFootnote 3, to all markets. Applicants can apply for multiple markets – up to a maximum of five – but will need to provide a rationale as to why they want to enter specific markets and explain that they have either never exported to each market or have not substantially exported within the last 24 months.

In order to provide more flexibility and include more companies that might have had only limited sales in the target market , an exemption for sales can be allowed if:

OR

However, if the applicant’s wants to pursue a project targeting more than one target market , it will be considered eligible if:

AND

Large emerging markets (China, India and Brazil) are also segmented into sub-national markets, as indicated below. Export sales eligibility will apply per region. This means that if an applicant is active in one sub-market, they may still apply for support to target other regions of that same country.

Brazil:

China:

India:

List of eligible sectors

CanExport is open, with few exceptions, to all industry sectors. Note: the agriculture and processed food, fish and seafood, and wine, beer and spirits sectors are excluded from CanExport because companies active in these particular sectors and looking for export support are eligible to apply through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s AgriMarketing program.

Limits on funding requests

Preparing to apply for CanExport

In order to ensure a smooth application process and complete application:

  1. Ensure that your firm meets the eligibility criteria.
  2. Verify that the proposed activities are eligible.
  3. Verify that your proposed expenses are eligible.
  4. It is advisable that you have the following necessary information on hand before completing the application:
  5. Applicants are encouraged to discuss their international business development plans with the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) office in their region, where they can obtain assistance in preparing for international markets and support throughout the implementation. The TCS can also help you develop your business internationally by identifying market opportunities, barriers and trends or by making introductions to qualified foreign contacts. For more information on the TCS services offered, and to find the regional trade commissioner nearest to you who is responsible for your sector of activity, please visit the TCS’ website at Find a Trade Commissioner.

Assessment process

Once the basic eligibility criteria are met, each application will be assessed on the basis of the proposed project’s incrementality, the soundness of the export business case, its alignment with Government of Canada trade strategies and, if the information is available, on the firm’s previous history and export readiness. More precisely, all applications that meet the eligibility criteria set out in section 2 will be assessed against the following five criteria:

A. Incrementality

Demonstration that the project goes beyond the applicant’s core activities, represents new initiatives and yields incremental results. The applicant will need to provide a specific rationale as to why they want to enter a new market where they have not had substantial sales within the last 24 months, i.e.:

OR

However, if the applicant wants to pursue a project targeting more than one "target market”, it will be considered eligible if:

AND

The applicant also needs to demonstrate what the expected project results are, how these will be measured and what indicators will be used.

B. Export business case

The soundness of the export business case as described in the application form and the alignment of the export business case with the applicant’s overarching business strategy (including resources available to perform the activities and to develop the new market).

C. Alignment with Government of Canada trade strategies and priorities

D. Market potential

E. History/export readiness

Decision and contribution/grant agreement

The applicants can expect to obtain the results of the assessment process within 25 working days of a completed application. Global Affairs Canada will notify both successful and unsuccessful applicants, and will provide the successful applications to the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP ), which will prepare and mail either a Contribution or Grant Agreement to each recipient. The recipient can expect to receive the Agreement in the mail within 10 to 12 business days after being notified by Global Affairs Canada of their approval. An authorized officer of your firm will be asked to review, and sign and return the Agreement within 20 business days of the NRC-IRAP’s signature date. The Agreement is a legally binding document which sets out the approved activities and the approved financial contribution, as well as the responsibilities and obligations of both signing parties.

The recipient must notify NRC-IRAP of any material modifications to the firm’s information, approved activities, approved costs, or any other issues that may require an amendment to the Agreement. Changes that represent a significant departure from the scope of the original Agreement will require the recipient to submit a new application for assessment. The recipient will be notified if a new application is required.

Note: activities that were rejected based on ineligibility in the original application cannot be resubmitted.

Claiming process for reimbursement of approved expenses (for contributions)

Recipients will receive detailed information via email on the claiming and reporting process, upon the return of their signed Contribution Agreement.

Each claim must be accompanied by a status report as described in the Contribution Agreement, which details the activities and outcomes of the project, measured against the approved activities and project objectives. The recipient must demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the NRC, acceptable undertaking of the eligible activities. Firms will submit their claims to NRC-IRAP for costs incurred between the start and end dates of the project phase of the signed Contribution Agreement. Recipients will not be required to submit receipts. However, they are required to keep adequate financial records and segregate CanExport project costs from their normal operation costs as the program may request proof of costs incurred. The terms of the signed Contribution Agreement will dictate the period for which recipients are expected to keep these financial records. The segregation of project costs means the ability to provide traceability of CanExport project costs from normal operating costs. NRC-IRAP will endeavor to pay claims within 20 working days of receiving the claim and associated report.

Activity monitoring, audit, evaluation and reporting

The Government of Canada will monitor activities, conduct audits and evaluations and seek information on program results.

Site visits
On occasion, Global Affairs Canada or the NRC-IRAP may visit the firm at its place of business or at the site where approved projects and activities are taking place. Such visits may require access to a site for a given period of time; program recipients will be expected to grant such access to Global Affairs Canada or NRC-IRAP representatives. Such visits ensure that approved activities are being carried out.

Audits
Recipients may be subject to an audit. If a recipient has been selected for audit, it will be notified well in advance. Audits normally occur after the expiry date of the agreement and are carried out by the Global Affairs Canada or by professional auditing firms on behalf of the CanExport Program. For this reason, it is imperative that firms maintain records of activities to substantiate costs incurred, including dates, times and locations of travel, the name and role of the staff traveling and the use of consultants, as well as receipts for all expenses claimed related to the approved activities set out in the Contribution/Grant Agreement. If an overpayment is identified in the audit, the firm will be asked for reimbursement. Failure to provide payment may be deemed a breach of the Contribution/Grant Agreement.

Evaluation
An evaluation of a program will be conducted. Recipients may be asked to provide performance-related information to an evaluator or to respond to a questionnaire to support the evaluation.

Results reports (for contribution recipients)
Contribution recipients must submit a status report with their claim and a final report at the end of the Contribution Agreement project phase. The report will ask questions relating to the details of activities conducted, challenges encountered, concrete project outcomes, including in relations to the expected results (note that the project “expected results” to be achieved by the recipient are referring to the “expected results” that were provided by the recipient in their initial submission of the online application form to the program, in section 6.” Project information”, under the question “Incrementality”), as well as successes achieved in the new market. The firm will also be asked to report a snapshot after one year and three years following the end of the project, on the benefits resulting from the project. The snapshot provides details on the benefits of the project and will ask questions regarding continued export sales and assess the benefits resulting from the funded project. Specifically, the recipient will need to report the number of employees, total revenue, international sales revenue, and list of countries it has exported to in the last fiscal year.

Results reports (for grant recipients)
Grant recipients must submit a post-project report at the end of the Grant Agreement project phase. The report will ask questions relating to the details of activities conducted, challenges encountered, concrete project outcomes, including in relations to the expected results (note that the project “expected results” to be achieved by the Recipient are referring to the “expected results” that were provided by the Recipient in their initial submission of the online application form to the program, in section 6 . “Project information”, under the question “Incrementality ”), as well as successes achieved in the new market. The Recipient will also be asked to report an annual snapshot for three years following the end of the project, on the benefits resulting from the project. The snapshot provides details on the benefits of the project and will ask questions regarding continued export sales and assess the benefits resulting from the funded project. Specifically, the recipient will need to report the number of employees, total revenue, international sales revenue, and list of countries it has exported to in the last fiscal year.

Glossary

Benefits to Canada
Benefits to Canada resulting from export activities may include the creation of new jobs, an increase in revenues for Canadian firms, an increase in transactions with foreign firms or an increase in Canadian gross domestic product.

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Business Number (BN)
The CRA BN is a nine-digit identifier for businesses to simplify their dealings with federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal governments in Canada. The number is assigned by the Canada Revenue Agency. It aims to give each registered business its own unique number.

Contribution
A contribution is a conditional transfer payment for a defined purpose as set out in a contribution agreement that is subject to being accounted for and audited.  In order to receive funding and be reimbursed for specific costs, recipients need to meet certain performance conditions and submit claims.

Grant
A grant is a transfer payment subject to pre-established eligibility and other entitlement criteria. A grant is not subject to being accounted for by a recipient, nor is it normally subject to audit by the department. The recipient may be required to report on results achieved. Unlike a contribution, funding is provided without the need for claims.

Contribution Agreement
A Contribution Agreement is a legal agreement between the two parties, in this case the Government of Canada and the recipient, which sets out the terms and conditions of the funding, as well as the legal and reporting obligations of each party.

Grant Agreement

A Grant Agreement is a legal agreement between the two parties, in this case the Government of Canada and the recipient, which sets out the terms and conditions of the funding, as well as the legal and reporting obligations of each party.

Incrementality
Incrementality is a project that goes beyond the applicant’s core activities, represents new initiatives and yields incremental results.

Legal name
The legal name of your firm is the name you choose when you apply to incorporate a company under the Canada Business Corporations Act. If you do not choose a name, you are assigned a numbered name and this is your legal name.

Market
The term “market” refers to:

The term “target market” refers to:

The term “new market” refers to a country or sub-region in which the applicant meets the following characteristics:

OR

However, if the applicant wants to pursue a project targeting more than one "target market”, the “new markets” will need to meet the following requirements:

AND

The term “active market” refers to:

NAICS code
The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is used by businesses and governments to classify and measure economic activity in the United States, Canada and Mexico. NAICS is 6-digit code system that is currently the standard used by federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments according to the similarity in the processes used to produce goods or services. Each and every company will have a primary NAICS code. This number indicates a company’s primary line of business. A company’s primary NAICS code is the code definition that generates the highest revenue for that company at a specific location in the past year.

Operating name
A firm’s operating name is the name used in day-to-day activities and in advertising business. The operating name need only be provided if it is different from the company’s legal name.

Other government assistance
Other Canadian government sources of funding include funding provided by federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal governments.

Primary contact
The primary contact is the employee of the firm designated as the main contact point for communications regarding the firm’s application. The primary contact must have full legal signing authority to submit the application and sign the Contribution or Grant Agreement.

Project
For the purpose of the CanExport program, a “project” is defined as the grouping of activities to be undertaken in the target market (s), during the period established in the Agreement.

Qualified foreign contacts
Qualified foreign contacts may include foreign buyers and partners. If the applicant requires assistance from the Trade Commissioner Service in order to identify and qualify key contacts, it should visit the following websites:

Revenues from international sales
The revenues from international sales refer to the income from the sale of goods and services to non-Canadian residents as well as revenue earned from interest and dividends on foreign assets.

Stacking limit
The stacking limit refers to the maximum level of total Canadian government funding (federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal) a successful applicant can receive towards the total eligible costs of a project.

Feedback or questions

We invite you to read our FAQs for more guidance.

If you require additional information about CanExport or would like to provide us with your comments or suggestions on this Guide, please contact us at CanExport@international.gc.ca or by phone at 1-866-203-2454. For more information, you can also consult our website.

Have a success story to share with us that resulted from your CanExport project? Please email it to us using this template.

We would also encourage you to discuss your firm’s international business development plans with the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) office in your region, where you can obtain assistance in preparing for your new international market and support throughout the implementation of your project. TCS can help you develop your business internationally by identifying market opportunities, barriers and trends or by making introductions to qualified foreign contacts. For more information on the TCS services offered, and to find the regional trade commissioner nearest to you who is responsible for your sector of activity, please visit our website.

Please note that Global Affairs Canada and the National Research Council of Canada are committed to protecting the privacy rights of individuals and safeguarding the personal information under its control. Personal information collected by Global Affairs Canada and the National Research Council of Canada is protected from disclosure to unauthorized persons and/or agencies subject to the provisions of the Privacy Act. Individuals have the right to the protection of and access to their personal information and to request corrections where the individual believes there is an error or omission. Individuals may contact Global Affairs Canada’s Access to Information and Privacy Protection Division to request corrections.

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