CanExport Innovation Program covers Intellectual Property related activities for Foreign R&D and Licensing Endeavours

November 4, 2021
By Isi Caulder and Paul Blizzard

The CanExport Innovation program, administered by the Global Affairs Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service, helps Canadian organizations pursue collaborative research and development (R&D) agreements with international partners and investors. CanExport Innovation provides financial support on a cost-sharing basis. Applicants may submit a project application that focuses on one technology with a maximum budget of $100,000 CAD. For approved projects, the program will fund up to 75% (i.e., up to $75,000 CAD) of eligible costs while the applicant is responsible for the remaining 25% of the costs.

In August 2020, CanExport Innovation began supporting certain non-travel activities, including IP-related activities. IP-related activities may include applying for IP protection in the country where a foreign partner is located.

Eligible expenses related to these activities may include registration and/or application fees incurred through the foreign agency issuing the IP protection, as well as costs of translating such applications from English or French to the foreign partner’s language (up to a total translation cost of $2000 CAD). However, it should be noted that the program only supports registration and/or application fees for patent or copyright protection of software programming code. Costs related to filing a trademark application, for example, are considered ineligible expenses. Funding may also be provided for consultant or legal fees incurred to assist the applicant in pursuing IP protection in the foreign market.

To be eligible for CanExport Innovation funding, an organization must be one of the following types of organizations:

  • a Canadian small and medium-sized (SME) enterprise (i.e., a for-profit company with 499 or fewer full-time equivalent employees);
  • a Canadian academic institution; or
  • a Canadian non-government research centre (i.e., a research organization that is not wholly or majority funded by the government);
  • be registered in Canada;
  • have a Canada Revenue Agency business number;
  • own, co-own, or have decision-making authority over the IP rights for the technology;
  • have a prototype that is classified as Technology Readiness Level 4 or higher (i.e., the basic technological components are integrated to establish they will work together); and
  • intend to commercially launch the technology within 5 years.

CanExport Innovation does not have a minimum revenue requirement to apply. However, applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have sufficient private revenues to cover 25% of the proposed budget, as well as sufficient funds—or a credible plan to secure funds—to cover the R&D work resulting from a collaborative R&D agreement.

To apply for CanExport Innovation funding, applicants should email CanExport Innovation to request a current application package. Applicants may find CanExport Innovation’s Applicant’s guide and Frequently Asked Questions helpful throughout the application process. Completed applications—including documents to support the proposed expenses—should be submitted by email to CanExport Innovation at least 40 days before the start date of the first proposed activity.

CanExport Innovation funding is available year-round, and applicants can apply at any time. However, approved activities must be completed within the same government fiscal year—which begins April 1 and ends March 31 the following calendar year—in which the application is approved.

Applicants who receive other Canadian government assistance (including federal, provincial, territorial or municipal governments, or Crown corporations) for the same project should be aware that a CanExport Innovation stacking limit restricts the total amount of funding from all government sources to 75% of the proposed project budget. Accordingly, CanExport Innovation funding will be adjusted to comply with this limit.

For organizations involved in R&D or licensing activities with foreign partners, the CanExport Innovation funding can offer a funding boost, and help multiply the size of your IP portfolio. Our team of professionals is happy to help you plan your IP portfolio and assist with preparing a CanExport application.


Subscribe to our newsletter

You can unsubscribe at any time. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

This site is registered on as a development site.