Application Guidelines – Youth Forums Canada component of the Exchanges Canada program

Exchanges Canada

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Objectives and expected results for the Exchanges Canada program

The Exchanges Canada program helps youth to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the country, while connecting with other youth in Canada.

Participants can go almost anywhere in Canada. They can discover a rural area or a city centre, a French- or English-speaking community, a province on the other side of the country or an equally exciting place closer to home. Participants develop a sense of national identity and attachment to Canada and its rich diversity. The Program aims to involve youth participants from all walks of life, including Indigenous youth, racialized youth and youth with disabilities.

The Exchanges Canada program supports organizations that provide exchange and forum opportunities for youth through two components:

  • Youth Exchanges Canada, including the sub-component Summer Work / Student Exchange. For more information, please visit:
  • Youth Forums Canada (addressed within these Application guidelines)

Objectives and expected results for the Youth Forums Canada component

Youth Forums Canada funds organizations in Canada that provide workshops and conferences that connect youth – generally between the ages of 14 and 25 – who share a passion for issues, institutions, history, official languages, sports or the arts in Canada. Objectives and expected results are:

  • to contribute to increased knowledge and understanding of the country among youth in Canada, by enabling them to learn first-hand about the history, geography, industry, institutions, cultures, communities, languages and other facets of their country
  • to help youth in Canada connect to one another and create linkages, across the country and between groups, thereby helping to strengthen the fabric of Canadian society
  • to develop national identity and a sense of belonging to Canada among youth by enhancing their appreciation of both the diversity and the shared aspects of the Canadian experience

Application deadline

December 18, 2023

Information session

As part of the launch of the call for proposals for the Youth Forums Canada component of the Exchanges Canada program, representatives of youth-serving organizations are invited to attend an information session on the application process.

The 60-minute information session will be delivered virtually:

  • In French: Tuesday, December 5, 2023, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).
    • Interpretation in the Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ) will be available.
  • In English: Tuesday, December 5, 2023, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time).
    • American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation will be available.

To receive an invitation, please contact us by email at and specify whether you wish to take part in the French or English session.

Who can apply

To be eligible for funding, your organization must be 1 of the following:

  • a legally constituted, non-profit organization
  • a provincial or territorial government
  • a public or private school
  • a school board or other educational institution, such as a college or university

All applicant organizations must have at least 3 years of experience delivering youth programs with appropriate and adequate security and safety policies and procedures in place.

Federal government departments; crown corporations; and other federal government institutions are not eligible to apply.

Eligible projects

Eligible projects for Youth Forums Canada funding must include activities designed to achieve measurable objectives and positive outcomes. Activities must take place between April 1 of the year immediately following the application date and be completed by March 31 of the following year.

To be eligible for funding, your project must meet all of the following criteria:

  • be a national or international forum for young people that offers activities such as workshops, thematic events or other experiences that meet the objectives of the Exchanges Canada program
  • be inter-provincial and/or inter-territorial
  • be at least 3 full days in duration, excluding travel time
  • include participants who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada who are generally between the ages of 14 and 25 (except monitors and supervisors)
  • meet the objectives of the Youth Forums Canada component, as described above

Please note that for international forums, support is available only to cover the costs of youth participants who are part of a Canadian delegation.

Support for the regular and ongoing operations of an organization; projects with competition as the primary objective (i.e. a sport tournament); and an organization’s annual general assembly are not eligible for funding.

Expanded eligibility criteria

For the period of April 2021 to March 2026, eligibility criteria have been expanded to include support for:

  • Youth forums in alternate formats, including, but not limited to, virtual forums, activities taking place within one province or territory, or activities for a reduced duration of time
  • Additional eligible exceptional expenses, which can include: expenses relating to virtual activities; and, when in-person activities are possible, expenses for alternative and/or additional accommodations and expenses for purchasing personal protective equipment

Important: Contact us at for further clarification on the above.

Eligible expenses

Only project-related expenses, which can be of cash and in-kind value, are eligible; these may include:

Travel expenses

Eligible travel expenses include:

  • participants’ travel expenses to and from the proposed event by the most direct and cost-effective means
  • basic travel expenses for one supervisor per participating province/territory and/or one monitor per 10 participants, unless otherwise authorized by Youth Forums Canada
  • local transportation during the event (approved on a case-by-case basis)

Travel expenditures outside of Canada will not be reimbursed without prior written authorization from Youth Forums Canada.

Travel expenses must not exceed the rates permitted for travel on government business.

Special measures expenses

Special measures expenses are designed to ensure participation by under-represented groups and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. They can include, but are not limited to:

  • the rental of dormitories or rooms for young people from low-income families and the cost of meals served on the premises
  • basic travel expenses for those accompanying young people with disabilities and the cost of suitable transportation within the host community
  • the hiring of a sign-language interpreter for hearing impaired youth

Exceptional expenses

In some cases, the Program will consider certain exceptional expenses to be eligible. These expenses may include:

  • hotel accommodation if the connection cannot be made until the next day, if the group arrives on the exchange premises after midnight, or if travel is delayed by circumstances beyond its control (e.g. strike, storm, etc.)
  • the cost of incidental meals, but only if travel is delayed by circumstances beyond the group’s control (e.g. strike, storm, etc.)
  • payment of a fixed amount applicable to the cost of living during the period in which the students are in the post-secondary institution hosting them
  • costs associated with organizing conferences, workshops, seminars or other forums and with participation by youth in Canada in these activities, either in Canada or abroad
  • costs associated with creating and maintaining web sites and bilingual electronic networks for sharing best practices, training opportunities and research results among the organizations delivering and/or giving former exchange program participants an opportunity to engage in discussions

Administrative expenses

Eligible administrative expenses for the direct delivery of the project generally may not exceed 15% of the total approved funding, and may include:

  • book-keeping services
  • office supplies
  • telephone and fax utilities
  • postage and courier fees
  • photocopying and printing fees
  • rent for office space
  • audit or legal costs
  • translation costs

In-kind contributions are considered real contributions to the cost of the proposed project but are not reimbursable. Donated goods and services may be considered in-kind contributions if they:

  • are essential to your project’s success
  • are eligible and would otherwise have to be purchased or paid for by you
  • can be measured at fair market value (i.e.: in relation to similar goods and services)
  • are balanced by an equal revenue in your budget (i.e.: total in-kind expenses equal total in-kind revenues)

The Program cannot fund expenses incurred before April 1 of the year following the application deadline. If you incur expenses for your project before receiving written confirmation of your funding approval, you will be doing so at your own risk.

Note: ineligible expenses generally include accommodations, meals, salaries, wages and benefits, fees (consultants and speakers), marketing and communications.

Eligibility criteria

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

The Youth Forums Canada component of the Exchanges Canada program is highly competitive. Requests for funding typically exceed program resources. If your organization is eligible, submitting an application is not a guarantee of funding.

Limits of government assistance

To ensure the success of your project, you are encouraged 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 Youth Forums Canada and other levels of government (federal, provincial, territorial and municipal) cannot exceed 100% of your total eligible project-related costs.

The Program can fund up to 100% of eligible expenses or up to $20,000 per fiscal year (April 1 to March 31) in the case of grants, and 100% of eligible expenses up to $10,000,000 per fiscal year (April 1 to March 31) in the case of contributions. However, please note that the average amount awarded by Youth Forums Canada ranges generally from $20,000 to $200,000.

Applying for more than 12 months

You may request funding for the same activities for a number of fiscal years. You must show that you have the capacity to complete the planned activities on an annual basis. This is demonstrated with realistic results and budget projections as well as sound governance and/or continued financial viability.

Requesting funding for multiple years does not guarantee funding over more than one year.

NOTE: Given that the expanded terms and conditions for the Exchanges Canada program expire on March 31, 2026, the Program is limiting multi-year funding to 2 years (2024-25 and 2025-26).

How to apply

Read these Application Guidelines in their entirety before completing your application.

Contact us to request the forms and other documents that you will need to submit in your application. You must meet all eligibility requirements and submit a complete application package to be considered for funding.

A complete application package includes:

  • the General Application Form
  • the Application Questionnaire
  • the Anticipated Demographic Distribution Form
  • the project budget
  • the Conflict of Interest Disclosure
  • a copy of your organization’s letters patent and documents of incorporation
  • a copy of your organization’s charitable status, with certificates and registration numbers, if applicable
  • a copy of your organization’s bylaws or constitution
  • a copy of your organization’s financial statements for the most recent fiscal year
  • a copy of your organization’s minutes for the most recent Annual General Meeting or Executive Meeting
  • a list of your current Board of Directors, if applicable
  • a copy of your organizational chart, if applicable
  • copies of letters (on official letterhead) confirming amount of financial or in-kind support pledged to the project
  • proof that person signing the General Application Form is authorized to represent the organization. The official representative of an organization must have authority to perform certain legal duties (such as signing the contribution agreement), according to the organization's rules or by-laws, or as established by a resolution of its board of directors
  • a security plan to ensure the safety of participants which includes steps to be taken in the event of a disciplinary issue
  • proof of comprehensive general liability insurance with a coverage at a minimum of $2 million covering the organization, the Board of Directors, its employees, and all participants; or a commitment to obtaining the required coverage if your project is funded
  • proof of travel rates/prices in effect (such as quotes from a travel agency/web site)
  • a proposed forum agenda, including keynote speakers and workshops

Submitting a complete application package does not guarantee funding.

Application process

To submit your application:

  • Complete, sign and date the General Application form
  • Attach all required supporting documents
  • Submit your application package electronically at the following email address:
  • Include the name of your organization and the name of the project in the subject of the email

The embedded “sent” date must be no later than 11:59 p.m. local time on the date of the application deadline for your application to be considered.

If you are unable to send your application package by email, please contact us.

How applications are evaluated

Youth Forums Canada fund 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 reviewed for eligibility and then evaluated based on the criteria below.

Your applicatiNote:on will be evaluated by a review committee that will compare it with other applications and prioritize it in relation to the funds available.

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 the rejection of your new application.

Evaluation criteria

The Program will evaluate all eligible applications using the following criteria:

Anticipated impact of the project

  • The extent to which the proposed activities implementation would support the Program’s objectives and priorities.
  • The application describes clear and concise activities and results are specific, measurable, achievable and realistic.
  • The organization’s ability to provide access to participants in both official languages and include participants from official language minority communities.
  • The proposed event’s contribution to Youth Forums Canada’s efforts to ensure a broad participation of youth in Canada, that is representative of provincial/territorial youth populations and encourages the participation of under-represented groups (including, but not limited to, Indigenous youth, racialized youth, youth with disabilities, and youth from rural or isolated regions).

Organizational capacity

  • The application demonstrates how the organization has the stability, financial capacity, necessary staff and expertise to successfully manage and deliver the project.
  • The application reflects that the organization has experience in carrying out similar activities and/or is supported by a network of partners.


  • The expenses are realistic, reasonable and in line with the proposed activities.
  • The budget includes information demonstrating how expenses were forecasted (i.e. calculations, quotes).
  • The budget includes other financial support (cash and/or in-kind) from partners (federal, provincial or municipal governments, private sector) and your organization, and projected revenues balance with expenditures.
  • A comparative analysis will be made to determine which projects demonstrate the most value for money (e.g. number of participants, cost per participant, etc.).

Funding priority may be given to projects promoting/supporting one (or all) of the following elements. If your project supports these priorities, please clearly articulate how in your application.

  • Reconciliation – projects with a focus on bringing together Indigenous or Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth in dialogue and action, or projects highlighting reconciliation.
  • Diversity and inclusion – projects with a focus on bringing together different socio-economic and ethnic groups of youth in Canada, including youth from a racialized group, new Canadians, Indigenous youth, youth from rural or isolated communities and youth with a disability.
  • Official Language Minority Communities – projects engaging youth from Anglophone communities residing in Quebec and/or Francophone communities residing outside of Quebec.

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. If you do not receive an acknowledgement of receipt within this time, you must contact us.

Funding decisions

The Program reserves the right to target funding to specific projects. Please note that decisions regarding eligibility and funding amounts are final.

How funding is provided

The Program will determine if funding will be disbursed as a grant or 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 your organization and by the Program and specifies the terms and conditions to receive payment. At the end of your project, you must submit a final report.

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.

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.

You must have a minimum of $2 million in general liability insurance, and additional conditions may apply and will be included in your funding agreement.

Official languages requirements

The Program 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 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

The Program 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 the Program 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
  • To support transparency, accountability and citizen engagement

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. Also, you may be required to present documentation during periodic Program evaluations.

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:

1-866-811-0055 (toll-free)

Agents are available to answer your questions, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (ET)


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.
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 the 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.
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.
Security plan
This refers to the document outlining measures taken by the organization to ensure the safety and security of all youth participants in the project.

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