Expeditions Program

The goal of the RCGS Expeditions Program is to enhance the appreciation, understanding and knowledge of the physical, environmental and cultural geography of Canada by recognizing and encouraging the spirit of discovery and adventure through expeditions taking place largely within Canada.

RCGS expedition support is awarded to individuals and teams undertaking expeditions in Canada that complement the mandate of the Society to “make Canada better known to Canadians and to the world.”

The deadline to apply is January 7 annually.

Please review the full funding details below. If you’re ready to apply, click the “Apply now” button at the bottom of the page. 

In order to be considered for support:   

  • Expeditions must take place primarily within Canada
  • Expeditions taking place solely outside of Canada will not be funded
  • Expeditions do not have to be “a Canadian first,” but may instead provide a new lens through which to understand the landscape, people, and environment in Canada
  • Preference will be given to Canadian Citizens and individuals with permanent residency in Canada
  • Expeditions must have a well-defined purpose or objective that contributes to geographic appreciation, understanding, and/or knowledge of Canada
  • Expeditions must have a clear element of physical challenge, adventure, and exploration while taking into account remoteness; physical challenges and difficulty; terrain and elements
  • Expeditions must have a clear and well-developed outreach component designed to reach as many people as possible. The outreach must incorporate as a minimum one or more of digital media, video, photography, print, community and/or school and public engagement
  • Expeditions undertaken by non-professional adventurers will be considered equally with expeditions led by professional adventurers and explorers

However, those expeditions whose leadership and/or majority of participants are “professional adventurers” will require:

  • A higher level of physical challenges;
  • An enhanced gain in knowledge and awareness of Canada (in the geographic sense as opposed to “scientific” discoveries);
  • An enhanced and significant outreach component
COVID-19 update

All applications have a mandatory requirement to submit a COVID-19 plan as described in the online application form.

Expedition Grants

There are five levels of expedition grants. Not all grants may be awarded in a given year.

Expedition of the Year:

Awarded to a project considered to have an exceptional combination of adventure, enhancement of geographic appreciation of Canada and its people, and a broad outreach component.

Major Grants:

Awarded to projects that are deemed to have a strong combination of adventure, enhancement to geographic appreciation of Canada and its people, and a solid outreach component.

Women’s Expedition Grants:

For expeditions with female leadership and participation, awarded to projects where all participants are women; Intended to encourage leadership and participation by women on expeditions in Canada.

Indigenous Expedition Grants:

Awarded only to projects that are led by Indigenous groups, organizations or individuals from one or more First Nation, Metis or Inuit communities.

Seed Grants:

Awarded to projects deemed to qualify for support where the funding is seen to be able to encourage projects to proceed.

What will NOT be funded:

  • Proposals from commercial or for-profit entities
  • Guided expeditions
  • Salaries, professional and/or consulting fees
  • Proposals raising funds for, or in support of, the work of non-profit, charitable or advocacy organizations
  • Capital works projects or major capital purchases
  • Administrative overhead, infrastructure or membership fees
  • Conference, workshop or tuition fees
  • School courses or field trips
  • Expeditions entirely outside of Canada
  • Funding for proposals from academic institutions are limited to activities that are strictly outside the curriculum and does not include what would be termed scientific or institutional field trips

Scientific research projects are encouraged to apply to the RCGS Research and Grants Program.

Important Evaluation Criteria

In reviewing an application for expedition funding the following are considered:

  • The objectives of the expedition
  • The level of adventure, physical effort, challenges and anticipated accomplishments
  • The extent to which the appreciation of the landscape, people and environment of Canada will be enhanced
  • Planned communication and outreach strategy to ensure the expedition reaches out to Canadians and the world
  • Whether the project is consistent with the aim of the RCGS “to make Canada better known to Canadians and to the world”
  • Applicant and team member’s citizenship and residency
  • Project location (i.e. does the majority of the project occur in Canada)
  • Partnerships and co-sponsors
  • Status of required permits
  • References
  • Details of budget and schedule / project plan
  • Respect shown by the applicant for people and the land — especially First Nations, Inuit, and Métis — and traditional territories and their histories.

Any tips for submitting my application?

  • Complete the application form, even if the information is available in that amazing portfolio or website you put together. We do not look for missing information!
  • Be concise — we review a lot of proposals. Well written, catchy proposals have a much higher rate of success.
  • Make sure the application is clear and concise; repetition is a waste of application space and does NOT enhance an application; quite the contrary!
  • Many applicants claim that their project will be a “FIRST.” Be sure that it is and, in the spirit of reconciliation, respect that Canada’s Indigenous Peoples have, in many cases, already been there. Please be respectful in these claims of “FIRST.” The fact that it doesn’t appear in Colonial literature does not make it a “FIRST”.
  • The committee members reviewing the applications have a broad range of knowledge and expertise. We do background checks and may even have been where you want to go. Make sure you have done your homework!
  • Why not get someone to review your application for you, preferably someone who is not part of your project?

For further assistance please contact Sandy Couto, Director, Society Programs, at [email protected]