Minister Ng announces new measures to help Canadian small businesses access global markets amid COVID-19

News release

November 3, 2020 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

Helping Canada’s small businesses go global is key to driving economic recovery.

Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, announced new actions to help Canadian businesses grow while navigating the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in the global marketplace.

The Government of Canada launched the CanExport SMEs program—delivered through the Trade Commissioner Service—in 2016. As an investment totalling $190 million, this program has helped thousands of small business owners and entrepreneurs break into new international markets with funding of up to $75,000 to cover travel costs and other expenses.

With international travel restricted due to COVID-19, the CanExport SMEs program is pivoting to now help small businesses:

  • develop and expand their e-commerce presence by covering partial costs associated with online sales platforms and digital strategy consulting, as well as advertising and search engine optimization
  • attend virtual trade shows and other business-to-business events
  • navigate new COVID-19-related trade barriers by helping pay for new international market certifications and requirements

Canada is working to build a sustainable and resilient recovery that benefits everyone. That is why these new measures will also provide dedicated support for Indigenous and women-owned small businesses, which have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

This new support will help hundreds of small businesses in the coming months explore new opportunities to sell their world-class Canadian products and services in the international marketplace, grow their businesses, and create good jobs for Canadians.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply for CanExport SMEs program funding


“Our innovative and resilient small businesses across Canada continue to find new ways to translate today’s challenges into tomorrow’s opportunities. The new measures will help small business owners and entrepreneurs continue to adapt to the economy of the future and succeed in the global marketplace amid COVID-19.”

- Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

Quick facts

  • Since its inception in 2016, the CanExport SMEs program has supported over 3,000 projects in more than 145 markets, resulting in over $600 million in new exports.

  • In 2018, the government announced investments of $150 million over 6 years to help Canadian businesses export and grow and to strengthen the Trade Commissioner Service and enhance the support it provides to Canadian exporters.

Associated links


Youmy Han
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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