Application Guidelines – Export Development Stream

Creative Export Canada

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Objectives and expected results for Creative Export Canada

Creative Export Canada offers funding for projects that forecast generating 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.

Objectives and expected results for the Export Development Stream

The Export Development Stream of the program enables companies and organizations in the creative industries with little to no experience in export to expand their sales into international markets. It also enables seasoned exporters to enter international markets where they currently have little to no sales and to develop new or existing international business networks.

Application deadlines

The application deadline is July 26, 2023 for projects with expenses starting between April 1, 2023, and March 31, 2024.

Who can apply

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

Who can apply notes

Who can apply note *

Companies/organizations that are not incorporated because they are registered on First Nations reserve lands may write to the program at to submit proof of their registration.

Return to Who can apply note * referrer

Ineligible entities include:

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.

Reserved Funding

A percentage of Creative Export Canada – Export Development Stream funding will be reserved for companies/organizations whereby at least 50% of the owners and/or board members self-identify as Indigenous peoples and/or members of equity-deserving communities. As such, the program encourages applicants from these communities to self-identify through the voluntary self-identification questionnaire to be eligible for this reserved funding. Only those who complete the self-identification questionnaire will be considered for this reserved funding.


The program is responsible for determining the eligibility of each applicant, its project and project-related expenses. Furthermore, funding is limited to three fiscal years of funding per recipient in a five-year period.

Meeting the eligibility criteria does not guarantee funding.

Eligible projects

To be eligible for funding, your project must:

Eligible projects notes

Eligible projects note *

The applicant must hold the intellectual property rights for the content within the scope of the project, if applicable. This requirement does not apply to applicants who wish to organize projects on behalf of others, for example, an association who organizes a collective project on behalf of its members. 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.

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

Eligible expenses

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

Applicants requesting funding for training and mentorship activities must clearly demonstrate how the project aligns with the program’s objectives. Training and mentorship activities must be offered to Canadian companies/organizations operating in the creative industries. Training and mentorship activities must be directed by recognized professionals in the creative industry in which training is provided (you are required to provide a copy of the diploma, biography and/or curriculum vitae for each of the principal teaching staff involved in the delivery of training and mentorship activities relating to the project). A minimum of 30 hours of training must be offered to participants for export training expenses. Applicants must demonstrate how the proposed training and mentorship activities respond to industry needs (for example, studies, surveying members, letter of support).

Applicants requesting funding for travel-related expenses to bring delegations of international buyers to events in Canada must demonstrate a benefit to multiple Canadian creative companies/organizations.

Applicants requesting funding for travel-related expenses may apply for single or several destinations within one (1) trip and for multiple trips within one (1) application, within costing limitations.

Applicants whose projects demonstrate strong business partnerships for creative industries, or the potential to develop and/or expand business partnerships for creative industries, will be prioritized for market development activities.

Project-related administrative costs (e.g., general office supplies, mailing, and cloud storage costs) are limited to a maximum of 15% of the total eligible expenses.

Project-related translation and interpretation expenses are limited to a maximum of 10% of the total amount of funding requested from the program.

Ineligible expenses include:

Funding may not be used to pay dividends, bonuses or other extraordinary compensation to shareholders or owners.

If funding is approved, the program may fund expenses incurred as of April 1, 2023. However, if you incur expenses for your project 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 contributions from your company/organization, the private sector (including a loan from a financial institution, such as the Business Development Bank of Canada) or other levels of government. Proof of support and partnerships are required.

The total financial assistance received from Creative Export Canada – Export Development Stream and other levels of government (federal, provincial, territorial and municipal) cannot exceed 75% of the same, eligible project-related costs. The program can fund up to $90,000 per fiscal year, and you can submit only one application per deadline.

Projects eligible for funding from other programs that fund the same activities must list the requested amount from these programs in their project budget and specify whether they are forecasted or confirmed.

Applying for more than 12 months

You may request funding for a project spanning up to 24 months but ending no later than March 31, 2025. 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 these 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 submit a complete application will result in an automatic rejection (to be fair and equitable to all applicants).

An organization/company may submit only one application per deadline, including entities or subsidiaries of a parent company.

A complete application package includes:

How to apply notes

How to apply note *

Companies/organizations that are not incorporated because they are registered on First Nations reserve lands may write to the program at to submit proof of their registration.

Return to How to apply note * referrer

The program reserves the right to request additional information and/or documentation during the assessment of your application.

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.

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

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

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 application deadline. Your application will be evaluated based on the evaluation criteria below.

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

Evaluation criteria

Your application will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

Other factors could be taken into consideration in the evaluation of your application. Special consideration may be given to applicants:

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

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, the program considers all applications based on the information provided.

How funding is provided

Funding will be disbursed as a grant or contribution.

A grant is a payment issued to a recipient for a project. The conditions you agree 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 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, and you will be required to submit a final report at the end of the funding period.

In this final report, you will be required to submit the results of your project one year after the project end date. Failure to submit the required information by the deadline identified in your funding agreement could result in a rejection of your next application.

Additional conditions may apply and, if applicable, 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.

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 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

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:

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

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.

Contact us

For further information, please contact us:

Department of Canadian Heritage
Creative Export Canada
25 Eddy Street
Gatineau, Quebec
J8X 4B5
Please note that the program will respond to you within two business days.
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 4:30 p.m. (Local time).

Regional offices of the Department of Canadian Heritage


Artistic craft

Artistic crafts include original artistic works and/or products, unique or in multiple copies, made by hand or with tools, or even mechanical means, as long as the direct manual contribution of the artisan remains the most substantial component of the finished product, that are defined as artistic, creative, cultural, decorative, traditional, or symbolic expressions, and that are related to the transformation of a raw material (wood, clay, or earth) and/or processed material (e.g., metals, leather, textile)

Exclusions are:

  • Any completely factory-made production, or ready-to-assemble machined part sets, including production from molds that were not designed by craftsmen.
  • All aesthetic, body care, hair care, bath products, candles, perfumes, soaps and food products.
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 place of business is based primarily in Canada;
  3. whose chairperson or presiding officer and at least 75% 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 shared 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.
Cash flow
A presentation of all anticipated revenues and planned expenses that will occur over the length of your project. At the beginning of your project, your cash flow will have only forecasted revenues and expenses. Over time, your cash flow will be updated to reflect the actual revenues and expenses.
Creative industries

For the purposes of the program, creative industries are:

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

The Government of Canada's environmental protection strategies are driven by a vision of environmentally sustainable economic development. This vision depends on a clean, healthy environment and a strong, healthy economy that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Environmental considerations include, among other things: the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and air contaminants; improved energy and water efficiency; reduced waste and support reuse and recycling; the use of renewable resources; reduced hazardous waste; reduced toxic and hazardous substances; and biodiversity.

Equity-deserving communities

A group of people who, because of systemic discrimination, face barriers that prevent them from having the same access to the resources and opportunities that are available to other members of society, and that are necessary for them to attain just outcomes.

Under the Creative Export Canada program, groups considered to be equity-deserving groups include women, racialized communities, 2SLGTBQ2+, persons with disabilities and official language minority communities.

Final report
A final report will be 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.
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 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 will indicate the results of the activities undertaken for a specific period. In addition, they will include a status on the work to be accomplished and updated revenue and expense reports.
Market-ready content
Content that is fully developed and ready for sales.
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.
Public relations
Public relations are a set of specialized communication activities with the intention of directing the public image of an organization or a company.
A person's own assertion of belonging to a certain group or category of people.

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