Application Guidelines – Support for Booksellers
Canada Book Fund
On this page
- Objectives and expected results for the Canada Book Fund (CBF)
- Objectives and expected results for Support for Booksellers (SFB)
- Application deadline
- Who can apply
- Eligible expenses
- Limits of government assistance
- How to apply
- Application process
- How applications are evaluated
- Evaluation criteria
- Application processing time
- Funding decisions
- How funding is provided
- Funding conditions
- Workplace well-being
- Public Health Guidance
- Official languages requirements
- Acknowledgement of financial assistance
- Access to information requests
- Disclosure of information
- Audits of recipients and evaluation of the Program
- Contact us
Objectives and expected results for the Canada Book Fund (CBF)
The Canada Book Fund (CBF) ensures access to a diverse range of Canadian-authored books nationally and internationally, by fostering a strong book industry that publishes and markets Canadian-authored books.
The ultimate objective of the CBF is to maintain or increase readers’ access to a broad range of Canadian-authored books.
Objectives and expected results for Support for Booksellers (SFB)
The Support for Booksellers (SFB) sub-component of the CBF helps booksellers increase their online sales of Canadian-authored books and improve their business model for online sales.
April 24 2023, by 23:59 pm at the latest (local time)
Who can apply
The Support for Booksellers sub-component of the CBF supports individual Canadian booksellers or affiliated groups of booksellers and provides funding for eligible expenses related to the sale of new print books online. This funding is allocated based on sales of Canadian-authored books from January 1 to December 31, 2022.
At the time of application and through to the end of your funding agreement with us, a bookseller must:
- be at least 75% owned and controlled by Canadians;
- have its headquarters and at least 75% of its employees based in Canada;
- specialize in the sale of new print books to the public;
- sell Canadian-authored print books;
- have a physical retail store that is open to the public;
- have been in operation since at least January 1st, 2022;
- sell new books by a minimum of 25 publishers;
- had eligible total new book sales of $50,000 between January 1 and December 31, 2022; and,
- sell new print books online to the public through a transactional website at the time the application is submitted.
You will be asked to confirm in your application form that you meet the eligibility requirements above. If needed, a program officer may contact you to request additional information during the assessment process to validate this information.
The following organizations are not eligible for support:
- booksellers that exclusively sell used books, discounted books or digital books;
- booksellers that do not sell any Canadian-authored titles; and,
- events like festivals and salons du livre.
A sales threshold of $30,000 of total new book sales will be applied for booksellers owned and controlled by members of an official-language minority, Indigenous, or racialized community. The program may also consider an exception to either the requirement for a physical retail store that is open to the public or the requirement to sell new books by a minimum of 25 publishers for these booksellers.
If your organization is not owned and controlled by members of one of the communities listed above but specializes in selling books to members of Indigenous, racialized or official language minority communities, you may also be eligible for special consideration. The program reserves the right to request proof that your organization specializes in serving a particular community (or communities).
We are responsible for determining the eligibility of each applicant and validating their sales of eligible books, if required.
To be considered an eligible Canadian-authored book, a book must:
- be written by a Canadian author (or authors);
- clearly and publicly be attributed to the author(s); and/or,
- bear an ISBN.
The following materials are not eligible and should not be included in calculations of either total book sales or sales of Canadian-authored books:
- directories, agendas with less than 36 pages of original editorial content, catalogues, calendars, maps or books of maps, loose-leaf updates, colouring books, sticker books or other activity books, games in the form of a book, and other similar products;
- digital audiobooks or ebooks;
- music recordings;
- toys or other giftware; and,
- periodicals published two or more times a year at regular intervals.
Support is available to offset cash expenses between April 1, 2023, and March 31, 2024, for eligible activities that support online sales. These include:
- the establishment or improvement of technological or logistical tools directly related to the sale of print books online;
- the promotion and marketing of Canadian-authored books for online sale; and,
- costs arising from the management and shipping of orders (labor, shipping and postal costs, storage, etc.).
Within these categories, expenses associated with the implementation of positive measures for the development of official language minority communities and the promotion of French and English can also be considered eligible. This could include, but is not limited to, translation costs for marketing materials. If you have any questions about whether a particular expense would be eligible, please contact the program.
Capital and salary expenses are eligible only if they are directly related to an eligible activity supporting online sales, as defined above.
Funding may not be used to pay dividends, bonuses or other extraordinary compensation to shareholders or owners.
We cannot fund expenses incurred before April 1, 2023. If you incur expenses before receiving written confirmation of your funding approval, you will be doing so at your own risk.
Limits of government assistance
To ensure success, we encourage you to have other funding sources. This may include contributions from your organization, the private sector or other levels of government.
The total financial assistance received from the CBF’s Support for Booksellers sub-component and other levels of government (federal, provincial, territorial and municipal) cannot exceed 75% of your bookselling expenses. This funding limit is 90% of bookselling expenses for recipients owned and controlled by a members of an official-language minority, Indigenous, or racialized communities.
The maximum amount that can be awarded to an individual eligible bookstore is $1,500,000. Also, no affiliated group or chain of bookstores can receive more than $3,500,000 in total funding for all individual stores.
You can submit only one application to this sub-component per application deadline.
How to apply
Read these Application Guidelines in their entirety before completing your application. Please contact the program to request an application form.
You must meet all eligibility requirements and submit a complete application package to be considered for funding.
A complete application package includes the application form and the following supporting documents:
- Financial statements of the last year of operation, if available (financial statements must be provided if you had more than $1 million in total book sales in 2022);
- For organizations requiring support in providing their Canadian-authored sales data, a completed and signed “Authorization of Assistance with Identification of Canadian-Authored Sales” form (if applicable – please see below);
- For organizations with more than one bookstore, a list of all eligible stores, with their physical address and their individual websites (if applicable);
- If you have never submitted a funding application to Canadian Heritage or if there has been a change to your organization, a copy of your incorporation papers; partnership agreement or the business number and registration documents for your sole proprietorship;
- Proof of signing authority;
- A Geographical Analysis Report dated between January 1, 2023, and March 28, 2023 (only publicly traded companies have to provide this document); and,
- A disclosure regarding the participation of any former public office holder or public servant subject to the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and the Policy on Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment.
We also reserve the right to request additional information and/or documentation during the assessment of your application.
Smaller bookstore chains with more than one but fewer than 15 bookstores should submit one application but are required to provide a supporting document with information on each location (see above). To have their Canadian sales included in the formula, each bookstore included in the application must meet the program eligibility requirements, including the sales minimum.
Booksellers can choose to provide their own sales data directly in their application form OR authorize the program to work with the industry data aggregators BookNet Canada or la Société de gestion de la Banque de titres de langue française (BTLF) to access their data.
If you are providing your total sales data directly in your application form but need support from the program in calculating your Canadian-authored sales, you must request and complete an “Authorization of Assistance with Identification of Canadian-Authored Sales” form.
If you authorize the program to work with BookNet Canada or BTLF to access your sales data, you are confirming that they have your available and complete data for 2022. The program will accept the data as provided for the purposes of calculating funding. If you know that you have incomplete data with a third-party data aggregator (for example, only six months of available sales data), you can still authorize us to work with them but you should contact the program in advance of the program deadline to request an “Authorization of Assistance with Identification of Canadian-Authored Sales” form for support in analysing the missing data.
In both cases above, a signed copy of this form needs to be included in your application package for your application to be considered complete. The program will contact you during the analysis of your application if further information is required.
Large chains with 15 or more bookstores can provide aggregate sales data for all locations but details on the physical location of each bookstore should be included in the application package.
Booksellers that are part of a cooperative should submit their applications individually for each bookstore or affiliated group of bookstores.
- Complete, sign and date the Application Form;
- Attach all the required supporting documents; and
- Submit your application by email.
We encourage you to submit your application package electronically to the following email address:
The email must be sent no later than 11:59 p.m. local time on the date of the application deadline for your application to be considered.
- 819-997-0055/1-866-811-0055 (toll-free)
- 1-888-997-3123 (for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired)
Agents are available to answer your questions, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (ET).
Please contact us if you wish to submit your application package by fax.
How applications are evaluated
Each application is verified and tested against program eligibility criteria. Eligible sales of Canadian-authored books between January 1 and December 31, 2022, are used for the calculation of each contribution/grant using a formula.
In your application form, you will have the option of providing sales data directly or by authorizing the program to obtain your 2022 sales data from an eligible third-party data provider (BTLF or BookNet Canada).
If you authorize the program to get 2022 sales data from a third party, you are confirming that sales data was provided during the reference period and it was accurate and complete.
We reserve the right to request additional information and/or documentation from an applicant to determine eligibility.
If a change of ownership or other major change in operations occurs during the assessment of your application, it is your responsibility to notify the program as soon as possible. Additional documentation may be required and failure to provide notification may result in the rejection of your application.
Failure to comply with any conditions of a previously funded project will be considered in the evaluation of your new application and could result in a rejection of your new application.
Your application will be evaluated based on the following formula:
- Support for Booksellers (SFB) funding is allocated using a formula tied to eligible recipients’ sales volume of Canadian-authored print books. Sales from 2022 will be used for the calculation of 2023-24 funding.
- The formula determines the amount of each recipient’s contribution/grant by dividing funding among all eligible recipients based on each bookseller’s share of the total eligible sales revenues of all recipients. For example, a bookseller responsible for 5% of the total eligible sales revenues reported by SFB recipients will receive roughly 5% of the formula funding budget.
- The maximum amount payable will be considered in the formula (see Section on “Limits of government assistance”).
- A set minimum funding amount or a funding cap may also be applied to balance funding.
Other factors that could be taken into consideration in the calculation of the formula include linguistic and regional differences, such as being located in a rural or remote region.
In addition, special consideration may be given to booksellers that are owned and controlled by members of an Indigenous, racialized or official language minority community or that specialize in serving these communities.
Application processing time
Please refer to the Service standards for Canadian Heritage funding programs or contact the Program.
We will acknowledge receipt of your application within two weeks of receiving your application in our office.
We reserve the right to target our funding to specific applicants. Please note that decisions regarding eligibility and funding amounts are final.
Previous funding does not guarantee continued support. Whether you are a first-time or returning applicant, we consider all applications based on the information provided.
How funding is provided
We will determine if funding will be disbursed as a grant or as a contribution.
A grant is a payment issued to a recipient for a project. The conditions you agreed to at the time of application will apply. At the end of your project, you may be required to submit a report and/or participate in the evaluation of results.
A contribution is a conditional payment issued for a specific purpose, as outlined in a funding agreement. The agreement is signed by your organization and by us and specifies the terms and conditions to receive payment. At the end of your project, you must submit a final report.
You may be required to submit interim reports during your project. If you receive $250,000 or more as a contribution, you will be required to submit an audited financial report.
You will be required to submit a final report at the end of the funding period.
If you receive less than $250,000, you will have to confirm in your final report that you have provided your book sales data to either BookNet Canada or la Banque de titres de langue française (BTLF) for the funded period (April 2023 to March 2024). This funding condition will apply to both booksellers that provided their own sales data in their application form and those that provided data through one or both organizations.
For individual bookstores or chains that receive more than $250,000, you will have a funding condition included in your contribution agreement that ensures that your funding broadly benefits the book industry in Canada. This could include a requirement to spend a minimum of 25% of the contribution you receive on the promotion and marketing of Canadian-authored books for online sale and/or a requirement to provide your book sales data to either BookNet Canada or la Banque de titres de langue française (BTLF) for the funded period (April 2023 to March 2024). If the condition is related to marketing and promotion, the program may ask for supporting documentation to demonstrate the activities in question promoted Canadian-authored books. If the condition is related to data provision, you will be required to confirm in your final report that you have done so for the funded period (April 2023 to March 2024).
Additional conditions may apply and, if applicable, will be included in your funding agreement.
The Government of Canada is strongly committed to promoting healthy workplaces where harassment, abuse and discrimination are not tolerated. Organizations that receive funding from Canadian Heritage must take measures to create a workplace free from harassment, abuse and discrimination.
Public Health Guidance
We expect that you will act in compliance with applicable statutes, laws, bylaws, regulations, orders, codes, standards, directives and guidelines governing the activities for which funding is being sought, including those related to public health and safety due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Official languages requirements
We are committed to taking positive measures to enhance the vitality of official-language minority communities and to promote the use of English and French in Canadian society. If you receive funding, you agree to comply with the official languages requirements set out in your application and in your funding agreement.
Acknowledgement of financial assistance
If you receive funding, you must publicly acknowledge – in English and in French – the financial support received from the Government of Canada in all communications materials and promotional activities. Additional requirements may be included in your funding agreement.
For additional information, please refer to our Guide on the public acknowledgement of financial support.
Access to information requests
We are subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. The information you submit in your application may be disclosed in accordance with these acts.
Disclosure of information
By submitting your funding application, you authorize us to disclose any information submitted with this application within the Government of Canada or to outside entities for the following purposes:
- to reach a decision;
- to evaluate the results of the project; and
- to support transparency, accountability and citizen engagement.
Audits of recipients and evaluation of the Program
We reserve the right to audit your accounts and records to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of your funding agreement. We also conduct periodic Program evaluations, during which you may be required to present documentation.
You must keep any records, documents, or other information that may be required to perform the audit or the evaluation for five years. Demonstrated failure to maintain such records may result in the repayment of amounts previously received.
For further information, please contact us:
Department of Canadian Heritage
Canada Book Fund
25 Eddy Street, 25-8-T
Gatineau, Quebec J8X 4B5
- 819-997-0055/1-866-811-0055 (toll-free)
- 1-888-997-3123 (for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired)
Agents are available to answer your questions Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (ET).
Regional offices of the Department of Canadian Heritage
- Affiliated group
- A group of companies in which the same person, group of persons, or entity holds the majority of shares with full voting rights or has control in fact of these companies.
- Audited financial report
- An audited financial report includes a statement of operations for the given period with regard to your eligible activities that support online sales and is prepared by a certified accountant who is not part of your organization.
- Audited financial statements
- A complete set of financial statements including a statement of financial position; a statement of operations; and a statement of changes in financial position. Audited financial statements are completed by a certified accountant who is not part of your organization. The certified accountant performs auditing activities in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
- An individual, firm, member of a cooperative, not-for-profit organization, or corporation that is directly engaged in the sale of books in Canada for at least 30 consecutive days in a year.
- Bookselling expenses
- Expenses related to the organization’s activities as a bookseller.
- a citizen within the meaning of the Citizenship Act who is ordinarily resident in Canada;
- a permanent resident within the meaning of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act;
- a Canadian corporation;
- a not-for-profit organization in which 75% of its members are persons referred to in paragraphs 1 or 2; or
- a partnership, trust or joint venture in which a person or any combination of persons referred in paragraphs 1, 2, 3, or 4 beneficially own or control, directly or indirectly, interests representing in value at least 75% of the total value of the assets of the partnership, trust or joint venture, as the case may be.
- Canadian-owned and -controlled firm
- that is a sole proprietorship, partnership, cooperative or a corporation (for profit or not for profit) established under the laws of Canada or a province;
- whose activities are based primarily in Canada;
- whose chairperson or presiding officer and at least 75% of whose directors and other similar officers are Canadian citizens or permanent residents within the meaning of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act;
- if a corporation with share capital, of which Canadians beneficially own or control, other than by way of shares held only as security, directly or indirectly, in the aggregate at least 75% of all the issued and outstanding voting shares representing at least 75% of the paid-up capital; and,
- if a corporation without share capital, of which Canadians beneficially own or control, directly or indirectly, interests representing in value at least 75% of the total value of the assets.
If at any time one or more persons that are not described in any of paragraphs (1) to (5) of the definition Canadian have any direct or indirect influence through a trust, an agreement, an arrangement or otherwise that, if exercised, would result in control in fact of the firm, the firm is deemed not to be Canadian-owned.
- Cash flow
- A presentation of all anticipated revenues and planned expenses that will occur over the length of your project. At the beginning of the year, your cash flow will have only forecasted revenues and expenses for eligible activities. Over time, your cash flow will be updated to reflect the actual revenues and expenses.
- Final report
- A final report is submitted at the end of your project based on the requirements in the funding agreement. Your final report needs to provide the results of the activities you have undertaken for the duration of the funded period.
- Final financial report
- A final financial report includes, as separate items, the revenues realized and expenditures incurred for the given period with regard to the activities being funded.
- Financial statements
- A complete set of financial statements, including a statement of financial position; a statement of operations; and a statement of changes in financial position. Financial statements may be audited or unaudited.
- Government of Canada Fiscal year
- The Government of Canada fiscal year runs from April 1 to March 31.
- Indigenous communities
- Indigenous communities are First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.
- Interim reports
- Interim reports are submitted during your project based on the requirements in the funding agreement. These reports indicate the results of the activities undertaken for a specific period. In addition, they include a status report on the work to be accomplished and updated revenue and expense reports.
- Online sales
- Online sales, for the purpose of the program, refers to sales of new print books via a transactional website. It can apply both to when the book is shipped to the end consumer and when the consumer picks up the book in store. Payment can be made online or at the time of pickup in a bookstore.
- Official-Language Minority Communities
- Official-language minority communities are Anglophone communities residing in Quebec and Francophone communities residing outside of Quebec.
- Racialized (person or community)
- Often used to replace “visible minority,” this more nuanced term acknowledges that race is a social construct and that racialization is a process through which groups come to be socially constructed as races, based on characteristics such as ethnicity, language, economics, religion, culture and politics. It can be applied to people and attributed to them as a group in ways that negatively impact their social, political, and economic life (e.g., Black, Asian, Muslim).
- Specialize in the sale of new print books to the public
- The sale of new print books to members of the public is a main focus of the organization’s regular operations.
- Specialize in selling books to members of an Indigenous, racialized or official language minority community
- The sale of books to members of an Indigenous, racialized or official language minority community is a main focus of the organization’s regular operations.
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