Language selection


Canadian Experiences Fund — Guidelines

The application period for the Canadian Experiences Fund is now closed.

FedNor has received a high number of applications for this initiative and demand exceeds the amount of funding available.

Applications are currently under assessment.

Thank you for your interest.

Table of Contents

Scope & Objectives

Tourism plays a crucial role in the Canadian economy and is present in every province, territory and region. In 2017, the sector accounted for 2 percent of GDP, generated a total of $97.5 billion in revenue, which contributed an estimated $27 billion in tax revenues across all orders of government. Tourism is Canada’s largest service export and surpasses, in terms of GDP, the contributions of agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting combined.

Budget 2019 announced that the federal Government is developing a new Federal Tourism Growth Strategy. As part of the Strategy, the Government committed $58.5 million over two years (2019-20 and 2020-21) to the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) for the creation of the Canadian Experiences Fund (CEF).

The CEF is a key part of the Federal Tourism Growth Strategy. It provides a tangible investment platform that aims to address the following challenges:

  • Concentrated demand
  • Lacking investments
  • Skills and labour shortages

Expected Results

Results generated by FedNor's investments under the CEF will include:

  • Access to investment in the tourism sector is increased
  • Economic benefits of international and domestic tourism are increased in more regions and underrepresented groups in Canada
  • Canada is a location and destination of choice for tourism.


I. Eligible Applicants

  • Not-for-profit organizations in Northern Ontario, such as community economic development, Indigenous and Francophone organizations, industry and business associations, networks, or alliances.
  • Municipalities; municipal organizations; and First Nations in Northern Ontario.

To be considered eligible, project benefits must accrue to Northern Ontario.

All eligible applicants must be legal entities capable of entering into legally binding agreements.

II. Eligible Activities

The CEF will fund the following types of activities carried out by the tourism sector:

  • Product and service planning, development and implementation: designing new or improved tourism services and products (e.g., attractions, festivals, tours);
  • Market readiness training: working with tourism associations to train business to market their products to various audiences, adopt foreign payment systems, manage cultural differences, etc.; and,
  • Creating or improving tourism facilities: physical assets used by tourists (e.g., trails, shelters).

Funding will focus on supporting five categories of the tourism sector:

  • Winter and shoulder seasons;
  • Rural and remote tourism;
  • Indigenous tourism;
  • Inclusiveness, specifically for the LGBTQ2+ community; and
  • Farm-to-table, also known as culinary tourism.

III. Eligible Costs

Eligible costs include all expenses directly related to the project and deemed reasonable and necessary for its execution.

Non-capital costs may include:

  • fees for professional and technical services, including project implementation, engineering services;
  • Project-specific cost of labour (e.g., wages and benefits) and of material used;
  • costs related to community engagement and planning, such as facilitation, rental of facility;
  • costs related to producing and disseminating results of studies/plans;
  • marketing costs, including design, promotional materials, advertising, product demonstrations and participation at trade shows, photography, website development, signs, banners, and network airtime;
  • travel expenses and labour costs.
  • administrative costs (e.g., salaries, benefits);
  • translation and editing;

Capital costs may include:

  • servicing of industrial lands;
  • waterfront development;
  • leasehold improvements;
  • machinery, equipment and technology;
  • capital investments associated with a product, service or event (e.g., upgrades to the event grounds, stadium seating); and
  • capital investments associated with waterfront/downtown or trail development (e.g., dredging, docks, marina facility.

IV. Ineligible and/or Unsupported Costs

Certain activities and costs will not be considered eligible, including:

  • infrastructure supporting social goals, including educational facilities and health care services and delivery (e.g. hospices, long-term care facilities, health centres);
  • infrastructure related to retail, wholesale, accommodation and administrative facilities;
  • government services; and
  • land and rolling stock.


FedNor will work to ensure project applications align with the Government of Canada's Prosperity and Growth Strategy for Northern Ontario (PGSNO). Preference will be given to projects that respond to issues and opportunities identified in the PGSNO. In addition, project proposals could also be given preference should they meet one or more of the applicable asset criteria under the CEF:

  • Skills Development: Project proposals including new hires should demonstrate how the project will contribute to the skills development of Canada’s tourism workforce (in applicable jurisdictions).
  • Job creation: Project proposals will need to indicate how many jobs will be created or sustained, if applicable.
  • Economic Sustainability: Multi-year project proposals for festivals, events, conferences and tourism product/service offerings should demonstrate how the recipient intends to ensure the ongoing funding for the experience (e.g., through increased revenue streams). Projects including tourism facilities components should demonstrate how the recipient plans to fund the maintenance of the installations over the long-term.
  • Environmental Sustainability: Project sponsors should demonstrate how their proposal will benefit Canada’s environmental performance, or ensure minimal negative impact.


Assistance available includes repayable and non-repayable contributions. Contributions will normally be repayable where proposed projects generate profits for the eligible applicant.

The amount of the awarded contribution will be based on the minimum amount required for the project to proceed, the extent to which other sources of available funding have been leveraged, and the applicant's ability to repay the contribution, if applicable.

Applicants are normally eligible to receive up to 75 percent of eligible and supported costs. On an exceptional basis, FedNor may consider projects eligible for up to 100 percent of eligible and supported project costs.  Where contributions are awarded to commercial projects, recipients must assume a portion of a project's eligible costs.

For projects involving redistribution of funding to SMEs, the ultimate recipients (SMEs) must provide minimum 50 percent cash contribution. The maximum disbursement of a contribution that provides funding to SMEs as their ultimate recipient is capped at a maximum of $25,000 per SME under a FedNor project with a not-for-profit organization.

Government stacking up to 100% is allowed for the Canadian Experiences Fund. All potential recipients of assistance under this program must disclose all sources of confirmed and potential government assistance before the start and at the end of the project.

Financial assistance from government programs may have tax implications for an organization. It is recommended that applicants obtain advice from a qualified tax professional.

Project funding is subject to parliamentary approval of funds and to the maintenance of current and forecasted program-related budgetary levels.

Disbursement of Funding

If a project receives approval, a contribution agreement will be executed with FedNor. Funding will be disbursed on a reimbursement basis, calculated based on the percentage of funding approved for eligible costs incurred.

FedNor will allow for advance payments under this program based on the recipient’s cash flow requirements.

To receive funding, recipients must submit claims forms, on templates provided by FedNor, that summarize eligible costs incurred and paid within a defined period. Generally, the duration of these periods will be quarterly.


The specific terms of repayment, if applicable, including date of commencement and length of repayment term, will be determined on a case-by-case basis during the development of the contribution agreement. Repayment will normally begin no later than one year following the completion of the project.

Application Process

Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis with no submission deadlines. FedNor has a Two-phase application process and a Phase One Application for Funding that is used across all programs.

Refer to the Application Guide for instructions on how to complete FedNor's Phase One Application for Funding. Applicants are encouraged to review the Application Guide in conjunction with these programming guidelines.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact a FedNor Program Officer prior to submitting an application.

Multiple and concurrent project submissions from the same applicant are discouraged and may not be considered by FedNor; applicants are encouraged to prioritize project submissions.

FedNor reserves the right to initiate calls for proposals as deemed necessary to encourage applications in priority areas or sectors. FedNor also reserves the right to change the application process at its sole discretion.

Assessment Process

FedNor will review Phase One applications as they are received.

All applications will be screened initially for completeness.

Complete applications are those that include all prescribed documentation containing all information needed for FedNor to complete the review. Information should be accurate, verifiable, relevant and consistent.

Applicants that meet the program eligibility criteria will be notified and asked to submit a Phase Two application.

Phase Two applications will undergo a due diligence process where they are assessed against a number of factors. Assessment criteria include, but are not limited to:

  • Net economic benefit to Northern Ontario, especially in the short- to medium-term (up to five years);
  • development, growth and increased competitiveness of SMEs;
  • creation and retention of jobs in Northern Ontario;
  • competitive impacts on existing businesses;
  • alignment with community economic priorities;
  • need for assistance to make the project viable;
  • requested assistance complements and does not displace other available government funding programs;
  • availability of FedNor's CEF funds;
  • opportunities to leverage investment from other funding sources; and
  • projects that are deemed to enhance the vitality and support the development of Official Language Minority Communities and/or foster the full recognition and use of English and French in Canadian society.


All proprietary data, commercially sensitive information and potentially valuable results or ideas will be protected from unauthorized, inadvertent or untimely disclosure. This information will be treated in accordance with the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

These laws govern, protect and limit the collection, use and disclosure of personal and confidential information by federal government departments and agencies. Beyond the parties already mentioned above, confidential commercial information will not be shared without the applicant's consent.

Reporting Requirements

Recipients may be required to submit to FedNor periodic project reports and annual financial statements. Project reports will provide details on results and completion of deliverables, including achievement of performance indicators and project benefits identified in the contribution agreement.

Visibility and Communications Requirements

Recipients must agree to participate in a public announcement and other promotional activities linked to the Contribution, as outlined in the Communications requirements section of FedNor's website.

Service Standards

FedNor is committed to providing quality service to all applicants and funding recipients in the official language of their choice.

Our goal is to:

  • acknowledge receipt of an application within three (3) working days; and,
  • provide a decision on applications within eighty (80) working days of receipt of a fully completed application.


FedNor reserves the right to modify these guidelines at any time without notice and may waive certain requirements on an exceptional basis.

Where applicable, FedNor requires that:

  • Applicants address the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, and reflect the spirit and intent of the Official Languages Act;
  • Capital projects respect Canada's obligation to consult and, where appropriate, accommodate Indigenous communities;
  • Applicants use a fair, competitive and transparent procurement process to ensure the best value for money when supplies, equipment and services are purchased or personnel hired; and
  • An appropriate authority or regulatory body endorses the project.

Contact Us

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact FedNor to discuss their project with a Program Officer, who will also explore other government programs that may be applicable, or begin your application process.

For more information on FedNor's programs, visit Our Programs, or call 1-877-333-6673. TTY (for hearing-impaired): 1-866-694-8389.

Date modified: