Application Guidelines – Creative Export Canada

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Objectives and expected results for Creative Export Canada

Creative Export Canada offers funding for projects that generate export revenues and help Canadian creative industries reach more people around the world.

Ultimately, the program aims to increase export profitability for Canada’s creative industries.

Application deadline

The period for submitting a funding application for projects with expenses taking place between April 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023 is now closed.

Who can apply

To be eligible for funding, a company/organization must:

  • be incorporated under the laws of Canada, a province or a territory;
  • be a for-profit company or not-for-profit organization;
  • be Canadian-owned and -controlled;
  • have a maximum of $500M in annual revenues; and
  • have a minimum of one full-time employee.

Ineligible entities include:

  • individuals;
  • other financial support programs or funds, either public or private;
  • entities or subsidiaries of a parent company with more than $500 million in annual revenues in their most recent fiscal year.


The program is responsible for determining the eligibility of each applicant, its project and project-related expenses.

Creative Export Canada is extremely competitive. Requests for funding highly exceed the program’s annual budget. Therefore, submitting an eligible application does not guarantee funding. Furthermore, funding is limited to three years per recipient.

Eligible projects

To be eligible for funding, your project must:

  • be export-ready (content* is ready to be marketed, export research/plan is fully developed);
  • expect to generate new export revenues;
  • support one or more of the following creative industries:
    • audiovisual;
    • design (limited to exhibit design, fashion design, artistic product design, public art design, urban design);
    • music;
    • performing arts;
    • publishing;
    • visual art;
    • interactive digital media (in combination with at least one of the industries listed above).
  • have a minimum total cost of $150,000;
  • be funded at a minimum of 25% by private sources (which can include applicant’s own contribution).

* The applicant must hold the intellectual property rights for content. If the project involves content with a third party's intellectual property, the applicant must demonstrate that they have secured the rights of usage for the market(s) targeted by the project.

Projects that, in the opinion of the Department of Canadian Heritage, involve offensive content are not eligible.

A project that only consists of travel to events or business meetings is unlikely to be competitive in this process.

Eligible expenses

Only project-related cash expenses are eligible; these may include:

  • acquisition of digital or other technologies;
  • professional services or the portion of employees' salaries directly related to the project;
  • travel-related expenses, which must be directly related to the project and must not exceed the rates permitted for travel on government business, in accordance with the National Joint Council Travel Directive;
  • marketing expenses;
  • project-related administrative costs (e.g. general office supplies, mailing, and cloud storage costs), limited to a maximum of 15% of the total recommended amount;
  • project-related translation and interpretation expenses, limited to a maximum of 10% of the total amount of funding requested from the program.

Applicants must be able to provide supporting documentation if requested.

Ineligible expenses include:

  • ongoing operating expenditures (such as salaries or wages not directly related to the project, routine or recurring activities, ongoing overhead expenditures (e.g. rent, insurance, utilities, etc.);
  • capital expenses related to applicant’s ongoing operating activities (e.g. computer or equipment purchase, etc.);
  • content creation;
  • hospitality and related expenses (e.g. meals and beverages served at an event, catering fees);
  • contingency funds;
  • in-kind expenses;
  • costs related to the preparation of a business plan, export plan or documentation needed to present a Creative Export Canada application;
  • expenses relating to lobbying, public relations, policy development and influence.

Creative Export Canada funding must be used for expenses that occur between April 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023. If you incur expenses for your project as of April 1, and before receiving written confirmation of your funding approval, you will be doing so at your own risk.

Limits of government assistance

To ensure the success of your project, you are required to have other funding sources. This may include financial contributions from your company/organization, the private sector or other levels of government. Proof of support and partnerships are required.

The total financial assistance received from Creative Export Canada and other levels of government (federal, provincial, territorial and municipal) cannot exceed 75% for the same, eligible project-related costs. Due to the program’s extremely competitive nature, funded projects will likely receive less than 75% of total eligible project costs. The program can fund up to a maximum of $2.5 million per application.

You can submit only one application per deadline.

How to apply

Please read the Application Guidelines in their entirety before completing your application.

You must meet all eligibility requirements and submit a complete application package to be considered for funding. Failure to do so will result in an automatic rejection (in order to be fair and equitable to all applicants).

A complete application package includes:

  • completed, dated and signed Application Form;
  • project budget;
  • export plan (limit of 50 pages) per the requirements outlined in the Application Form;
  • incorporation documents;
  • most recent financial statements (unless justified);
  • proof of intellectual property rights;
  • written confirmation of other sources of funding and/or partnerships, if applicable.

Application process

Please note that the program cannot accept files submitted through a file hosting and sharing website.

Your application package must be sent no later than 11:59 p.m. local time on the date of the application deadline for it to be considered.

Please write to if you require assistance with opening the PDF form.

Application packages exceeding 16MB should be submitted through multiple emails identified accordingly (e.g., 1 of X).

How applications are evaluated

An internal Review Committee will assess applications based on the Evaluation criteria below. Consultations may be undertaken with other federal departments or agencies.

The competitive process will identify the projects that most strongly contribute to the Program’s objective of generating export revenues.

Once the assessment of the proposed project is complete, applicants will be informed of the status of their application.

Failure to submit a final report for a previously funded project will be considered in the evaluation of your new application and could result in the rejection of your new application.

Evaluation criteria

Your application will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • the project’s viability and potential for export revenue generation (as detailed in the export plan);
  • the impact on Canadian creative industries;
  • the project’s growth potential (capacity to expand or be replicated in other international markets);
  • innovation involved in the project;
  • strategic collaborations/partnerships that strengthen the project;
  • the applicant’s demonstrated need for funding;
  • the level of commitment to implement gender or diversity considerations with regards to staffing, leadership and decision-making.

Application processing time

For application processing time, please refer to the Service standards for Canadian Heritage funding programs.

The program will acknowledge receipt of your application by email. It is your responsibility to contact the program if you have not received an acknowledgment receipt within two weeks of submitting your application.

Funding decisions

Decisions regarding eligibility and funding amounts are final.

How funding is provided

Funding will be disbursed as a contribution.

A contribution is a conditional payment issued to your company/organization for a specific purpose, as outlined in a funding agreement. The agreement is signed by the Department and your company/organization and specifies the terms and conditions to receive payment. At the end of your project, you must submit a final report.

Funding conditions

You may be required to submit interim reports during your project. If you receive $250,000 or more as a contribution, you are required to submit an audited financial report or audited financial statements of the cost of your project.

Additional conditions may apply and will be included in your funding agreement.

Workplace well-being

The Government of Canada is strongly committed to promoting healthy workplaces where harassment, abuse and discrimination are not tolerated. Companies/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

The Department of Canadian Heritage is 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 or in your funding agreement.

Acknowledgement of financial assistance

If you receive funding, you must publically acknowledge – in English and in French – the financial support received from Creative Export Canada in all communications materials and promotional activities. Additional requirements may be included in your funding agreement.

For additional information, please refer to the Guide on the public acknowledgement of financial support.

Access to information requests

Creative Export Canada is 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 Creative Export Canada 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.

The program may choose to publish summaries of the results of the most successful projects on the Department's website to share creative industry export best practices. The Department will ensure that any public disclosure respects all requirements to protect personal information and third-party information. The case studies will not include any sensitive business information. If a funded project's information will be used for a case study, the program will seek the recipient's permission to disclose non-personal information.

Audits of recipients and evaluation of the program

The program reserves the right to audit your accounts and records to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of your funding agreement, and to 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.

Contact us

For further information, please contact us:

Department of Canadian Heritage
Creative Export Canada
25 Eddy Street
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0M5

For specific questions:


Please note that we will respond to you within two business days.

For generic questions:


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, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (ET).

Regional offices of the Department of Canadian Heritage


Audited financial report:

An audited financial report includes a statement of operations for the given period with regard to the Project and is prepared by a certified accountant who is not part of your company/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 company/organization. The certified accountant performs auditing activities in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards.

Canadian control and ownership:

To be eligible, a company/organization must be majority owned and controlled by a Canadian. For the Creative Export Canada program, "Canadian" means:

  1. a citizen within the meaning of the Citizenship Act who is ordinarily resident in Canada;
  2. a permanent resident within the meaning of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act;
  3. a company/organization, a partnership, trust or joint venture in which a Canadian or permanent resident or any combination of Canadians and/or permanents residents beneficially owns and controls, 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. The president or other presiding officer, and more than half of the directors or other similar officers are also Canadians or permanent residents;
  4. a not-for-profit organization in which 75% of its members are Canadians or permanent residents.

If at any time one or more persons who are not Canadian have any direct or indirect influence through a trust, an agreement, an arrangement or otherwise that, if exercised, would lead to a control in fact of the company/organization, the company/organization will no longer be recognized as Canadian-owned.

Canadian -owned and -controlled company/organization:

A "Canadian company/organization" is a company/organization that meets the following conditions:

  1. it is incorporated under the laws of Canada, a province or a territory;
  2. its activities are based primarily in Canada;
  3. 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;
  4. if a company/organization 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;
  5. if a company/organization 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.
Creative industries:

For the purposes of the program, creative industries are:

  • audiovisual;
  • design (limited to exhibit design, fashion design, artistic product design, public art design, urban design);
  • music;
  • performing arts;
  • publishing (books and periodicals);
  • visual arts;
  • interactive digital media (in combination with one of the industries listed above).
Export plan:

A written document, with a limit of 50 pages, that describes your company/organization's plans regarding international markets for two to five years. It identifies future opportunities and includes the financial, operational and marketing strategies to achieve your goals.

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 your project and include a final report of actual revenues and expenses.

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.

Fiscal year:

A fiscal year is the financial 52-week period of a company/organization for accounting purposes. The fiscal year of the Government of Canada is April 1 to March 31.

Indigenous communities:

Indigenous communities include First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities.

Interim reports:

Interim reports are submitted during your project based on the requirements in the funding agreement. Your interim report will provide the results of the activities you have undertaken for a specific period, a report on the status of work to be accomplished and include updated revenue and expense reports.

Offensive Content:

Projects that, in our opinion, contain or promote any of the following:

  • material that is hate propaganda, obscene or child pornography, or any other illegal material, as defined in the Criminal Code;
  • pornography or other material having significant sexual content unless it can be demonstrated that there is an overriding educational or other similar purpose;
  • material that contains excessive or gratuitous violence;
  • material that is denigrating to an identifiable group; and
  • any other similarly offensive material.
Official-language minority communities:

The official-language minority communities are the Anglophone communities residing in Quebec and the Francophone communities residing outside of Quebec.

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