Application Guidelines – Creative Export Canada

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Objectives and expected results for Creative Export Canada

Creative Export Canada provides annual funding to high-potential projects that amplify the international reach of Canada's creative industries.

The program supports projects that generate export revenues and the discoverability of Canadian creative works regardless of platforms or formats. Ultimately, the expected outcome of the program is to grow the export revenues of Canada's creative industries.

Please read these guidelines carefully before submitting an application to the program. The application guidelines, including the eligibility criteria, may change so it is highly recommended that you reread the guidelines before applying.

Application deadline

The period for submitting a funding application is now closed. We will accept new applications in the Fall of 2019.

Feel free to visit this page frequently to stay abreast of the latest news.

Who can apply

To be eligible for funding, you must be a Canadian-owned and -controlled organization incorporated under the laws of Canada, a province or a territory, with a minimum of one full-time employee and capable of entering into legally binding contracts. A group of legal entities are eligible for the program but individuals are not.

Eligible recipients are:

  • for-profit organizations;
  • not-for-profit organizations;
  • indigenous band councils, tribal councils, and other organizations (First Nations, Inuit or Métis).

Any eligible recipient may also act as an initial recipient and further disburse funds.

Initial recipients (third-party deliverers) are defined as those who submit applications directly to the program for funding and who in turn provide funding or services to other eligible recipients. For example, an association that serves its members from a certain industry is considered an initial recipient. A funding organization (a "fund") is not considered as an initial recipient.

Other financial support programs or funds, either public or private are not eligible to apply to the Creative Export Canada program.

Entities with more than $500 million in annual revenues in their most recent fiscal year are not eligible. In addition, entities that are subsidiaries of a parent company with more than $500 million in revenue in their most recent fiscal year are not eligible.

To facilitate the funding of new recipients, the program has a limit on how many years the same recipient can be funded during a specific time period. Currently, the limit is three out of five years, calculated on a rolling basis. For example, if a recipient receives funding in the first two years of the program's operation, then they would only be eligible to receive one additional year of funding over the course of the following three years.

Eligible projects

To be eligible for funding from the program, your project must develop exports in new markets or further penetrate existing international markets through projected export revenues for the following creative industries:

  • audiovisual;
  • design: (limited to exhibit design, fashion design, product design, public art design, urban design);
  • interactive digital media;
  • music;
  • performing arts;
  • publishing;
  • visual art.

For example, projects could focus on:

  • the implementation of digital technologies related to the international discoverability or monetization of Canadian creative content;
  • establishing a significant and/or sustained presence in a foreign market;
  • strengthening export capacity; and
  • branding or promotion.

Content will be considered eligible for a project as long as the intellectual property rights are held by the applicant. 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) relevant to the project. The applicant must also demonstrate that they retain an acceptable share of revenues from exploitation of the project in markets inside and outside of Canada.

Projects that, in the opinion of Canadian Heritage, involve the following content are not eligible:

  • 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.

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 related to time directly spent on the project;
  • travel and accommodation*;
  • marketing expenses;
  • administration costs; and
  • other direct costs related to the project.

*Although travel and accommodation are eligible expenses, it is unlikely that a project that only consisted of travel to an event or business meeting (i.e., was not part of a larger export initiative) would have sufficient expected results to compete successfully with the other applications to the program.

The program does not cover accommodation, meals and incidentals separately but rather uses a set per diem amount of a maximum of $400 per traveler per day when considering such travel expenses (i.e. combination of expenses for accommodation, meals and incidentals). If funding is requested for travel expenses, it may be granted at a rate set in the "limits of government assistance" section.

Please ensure that travel expenses are in accordance with the National Joint Council Travel Directive.

Translation and interpretation expenses are considered eligible as long as they are deemed crucial to the project. Applicants may request funding support for these expenses up to a maximum of 10% of the total amount of funding requested form the program.

The program considers administrative expenses eligible up to a maximum of 15% of other eligible project expenses. Administration costs include such expenses as general office supplies, mailing, and cloud storage costs. Recipients must be able to provide supporting documentation should it be requested at the end of the project.

The following expenses are not eligible for funding:

  • applicant's ongoing or core/normal business activities;
  • capital expenses related to applicant's ongoing or core/normal business activities;
  • in-kind expenses;
  • expenses relating to lobbying, public relations, policy development and influence;
  • costs related to the preparation of a business plan, export plan or documentation needed to present an Creative Export Canada application; and
  • hospitality and related expenses.

The program cannot fund expenses incurred before June 8, 2018 for the August 31, 2018 deadline (for funding for the 2018-19 fiscal year).

For the first deadline of the program, the Minister will allow eligible costs to be incurred from the approval date of the Creative Export Canada program's Terms and Conditions (June 8, 2018), but prior to the signing of a contribution agreement if the Minister deems this necessary for the achievement of objectives under the project. Such costs must be reasonable, incremental and required to carry out the eligible activities to which they relate.

For the remaining years of the program, the Minister may allow eligible costs to be incurred after a funding proposal has been received by the program, but prior to the signing of a contribution agreement if the Minister deems this necessary for the achievement of objectives under the project. Such costs must be reasonable, incremental and required to carry out the eligible activities to which they relate.

If you incur expenses for your project before receiving written confirmation of your funding approval, you will be doing so at your own risk.

Where initial recipients further distribute funding, they must ensure that ultimate recipients use project funds for eligible activities.


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

Creative Export Canada is highly competitive. Requests for funding will typically exceed resources. If your company or organization is eligible, submitting an application is not a guarantee of funding.

Limits of government assistance

To ensure the success of your project, Creative Export Canada encourages you to have other funding sources. This may include financial contributions from your company or organization, the private sector or other levels of government. Proof of support and partnerships will be required (Refer to "Part 3 - Documents to provide" in application form). In-kind contributions (e.g., provision of goods or services) will not be considered by the program when calculating an applicant's monetary investment in a project.

The total financial assistance received from the program and other levels of government (federal, provincial, territorial and municipal) cannot exceed 75 % for the same, eligible project-related costs. Funded projects will likely receive less than 75% of funding from Creative Export Canada towards eligible expenses. Applications from Government of Canada priority groups may receive up to 75% of funding.

You can submit only one application to Creative Export Canada per application deadline.

Applying for more than 12 months

You may request funding for a project spanning more than 12 months, up to a maximum of 24 months. You must then show that there is a need for a multi-year commitment and that you have the capacity to complete the project. This is demonstrated with a realistic project timeline and budget projections as well as sound governance and continued financial viability. 

How to apply

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

Applicants who wish to receive preliminary feedback on their project's eligibility prior to the application deadline can submit a completed Statement of Interest Form - please contact the program at in order to receive a copy of the form.

Please note that it can take up to two weeks for the program to complete its review of the Statement of Interest and to provide a reply by email. Applicants are therefore encouraged to submit a completed Statement of Interest well in advance of the application deadline. 

IMPORTANT: Submitting a Statement of Interest Form is optional; any feedback you receive does not represent a pre-approval in any way, and does not guarantee that your application will be approved for funding. You must meet all eligibility requirements outlined by the program, and you must still submit a complete application package prior to the application deadline in order to be considered for funding.

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;
  • organization and project description;
  • export plan;
  • project budget;
  • proof of intellectual property rights;
  • financial statements for your organization's most recent fiscal year (if applicable*); and
  • proof of other financial support listed in your budget.

*An organization which has been recently formed and does not yet have financial statements will be exempt from submitting them, if applicable, please indicate it in your application.

Initial recipients who redistribute funds to ultimate recipients must also provide the following information:

  • a description of the service provided by the initial recipient;
  • a written description of the selection criteria and approval procedures for projects and activities funded by the initial recipient; and
  • a written description of the monitoring procedures for projects and activities funded by the initial recipient.

Application process

  • complete, sign and date the Creative Export Canada Application Form;
  • attach all the required supporting documents listed in the Application Form; and
  • submit your application package electronically to the following email address:

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

The email must be sent no later than the date of the application deadline for your application to be considered.

If you wish to include files that are too large to email as part of your application (e.g., videos), please copy them onto a USB key and mail it to:

Department of Canadian Heritage
Creative Export Canada
25 Eddy Street
8th Floor
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0M5

Please note:

  • courier clients must use the postal code J8X 4B5
  • the USB key will not be returned to you.

How applications are evaluated

The program funds projects that have clear objectives and measurable results. Funding decisions are based on the number and quality of applications received for each Creative Export Canada application deadline. Your application will be reviewed for eligibility and then evaluated based on the Evaluation criteria below.

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

Assessments will consider the overall quality of the application, including the following:

  • the applicant possesses or has access to the qualifications (such as the necessary technical, financial and managerial capacities) required to complete the project;
  • all sources of funding for the project are identified;
  • the export plan's ability to show how export revenues will be generated;
  • the potential for the project to grow;
  • the possibility for the project to be reproduced;
  • the proposed activities and expenditures are eligible and reasonable;
  • the technical and financial viability of the project and the proposed work plan;
  • the applicant's collaborations or partnerships;
  • whether the project features strategies, approaches or technologies that are new to the recipient or to the recipient's industry in Canada or to the sector in Canada; and
  • the proposed activities, including expected results and outcomes, support the program's objective and priorities.

Applicants or projects that demonstrate plans or commitments for implementing gender or diversity considerations with regards to staffing, leadership and decision-making roles will be granted bonus points in the assessment process.

Your application will be evaluated by an internal Review Committee who will compare and prioritize it with other applications in relation to the funds available.

Application processing time

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

The program will acknowledge receipt of your application within two weeks of receiving your application.

Funding decisions

The maximum amount payable to a recipient under Creative Export Canada will not exceed $2.5 million per application.

The program reserves the right to target our funding to specific projects. Please note that 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 organization for a specific purpose, as outlined in a funding agreement. The agreement is signed by the Department and your organization and specifies the terms and conditions to receive payment. At the end of your project, you must submit a final report.

Ultimate recipients are defined as those who receive funding approval and allocation directly from Creative Export Canada or through initial recipients.

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 auditor's 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. Organizations that receive funding from Canadian Heritage must take measures to create a workplace free from harassment, abuse and discrimination.

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.

Diversity and inclusion

It is expected that all activities undertaken as part of funded projects will take into consideration the needs of diverse Canadians, including but not limited to Indigenous Peoples, Canadians of various faiths, cultures, ethnicities, abilities, sexual orientations and gender identities.

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 of Canadian Heritage 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




Teletypewriter (TTY)

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. (EST).

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 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 auditing standards.
  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 Canadian corporation;
  4. a not-for-profit organization in which 75% of its members are persons referred to in paragraphs 1 or 2; or
  5. 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:

A firm:

  1. 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;
  2. whose 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 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;
  5. 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.

Export plan:
A written document that describes your 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 an 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.
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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