The Trade Commissioner Service: Helping Canadian Companies Succeed Abroad for 127 Years and Counting

Business Export Strategy TCSOriginally published in the WBE Canada Magazine; Issue 5. Don’t miss out, subscribe to our magazine HERE.

Authored by Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) / Global Affairs Canada (GAC)

The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) is a Government of Canada organization that helps Canadian companies grow and sell their products and services abroad. It does so by connecting them with its funding and support programs, international opportunities, and its network of over 1,000 Trade Commissioners in more than 160 cities across Canada and worldwide. The TCS provides services and support to small, medium and large-sized exporters, while at the same time supporting diversity, equity and inclusion in trade through a number of initiatives.

Since Canada’s first Trade Commissioner was posted to Australia in 1895, the TCS has grown significantly and gained 127 years of experience helping Canadian companies do business abroad and succeed in international markets. Today, the TCS has access to an extensive network of international contacts with privileged access to foreign governments, business leaders and decision makers. It currently works with over 10,000 Canadian businesses every fiscal year, mainly through the work of individual employees in Canadian trade and diplomatic offices around the world who provide those businesses with tailored services, information, advice and funding.

In terms of results, compared to non-clients, Canadian companies that use TCS services:

  • export to 24.8% more markets;
  • export 11.2% more product varieties; and
  • earn 19.8% more value.

The TCS network

Trade Commissioners in the TCS’s regional offices across Canada can provide advice to help sharpen your export plan and begin your international expansion. This could include working with your company to decide on a target market, collecting market and industry information and improving your international business strategy. Each regional office in Canada has dedicated Inclusive Trade Champions, who are available to provide specific support and services to women-owned and led businesses, including introductions to business women’s associations within Canada and advising on upcoming events and initiatives for women entrepreneurs.

Trade Commissioners around the world provide advice and industry contacts to help with your market entry. They offer up-to-date information on foreign markets. They can inform Canadian companies about barriers and regulations associated with entering a specific region; provide an overview of the competitive landscape and practical advice on such areas as navigating business and cultural practices; share knowledge about upcoming opportunities or emerging trends; and identify upcoming events such as trade fairs, conferences, partnering seminars or trade missions.

TCS program and services

The TCS also offers funding and support programs to help Canadian businesses and organizations pursue new business opportunities abroad, connect with foreign partners, and attract foreign investment into Canadian communities. These include:

  • CanExport programs that provide funding for small and medium-sized enterprises, innovators, associations and communities. Regional Office Champions are available to provide additional support and advice to women-owned and led companies who wish to complete a CanExport funding application. Additionally, CanExport has recently begun accepting annual supplier diversity certification costs (including through WBE Canada) as an eligible funding expense.
  • Canadian Technology Accelerators(CTAs) that help Canadian companies that have an existing technology or product find opportunities and expand into key foreign technology hubs. Programs tailored specifically for women-owned and led companies are offered with varying deadlines throughout the year. Companies are advised to consult the CTA website for a comprehensive list of upcoming programs.
  • the Canadian International Innovation Program, which helps Canadian companies pursue international research and development projects with a foreign partner.
  • Trade Missions and events that are advertised online, including initiatives specific to women-owned and led companies. A number of initiatives and resources are also promoted in the TCS’s official magazine, CanadExport, which you can subscribe to today to get the latest trade related insights, events, stories, and opportunities that can help you make better business decisions delivered right to your inbox.

The TCS also recently launched a free new service for Canadian businesses looking to quickly resolve urgent export problems. Exporter Solutions offers both direct, on-the-ground assistance from TCS offices around the world, as well as troubleshooting and proactive support for a wide range of export and international-business related topics. The goal is to help Canadian exporters manage risk, save time and reduce costs, maintain relationships with clients, and get their business back up and running in no time.

You’re ready to grow. We’re ready to help. Visit the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service for more information, and find additional resources for women-owned companies on the TCS’s Business Women in International Trade webpage.