Apply for Funding

The goal of the RCGS Expedition 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 for application is January 7 annually.

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 2021 Applications have a new and mandatory requirement to submit a COVID-19 plan as described in the online application form

A man holds a flag in a arctic field
Shoalts holds the Compass Rose Flag of the RCGS in the eastern Arctic on the final day of his Trans-Canadian Arctic Expedition. (Photo: Adam Shoalts)

Expedition Grants

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

Expedition of the Year (one only):

Up to $15,000; normal range $10,000 – $15,000
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:

Up to $5,000; normal range $3,000 – $5,000
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 Grant:

Up to $5,000
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 Grant:

Up to $5,000
For expeditions with Indigenous leadership and participation, awarded to projects undertaken by Indigenous groups, organizations or individuals from any of Canada’s diverse Indigenous communities.

Seed Grants:

Up to $3,000; normal range $500 – $3,000
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.

A man paddles a canoe on a lake
Shoalts paddling his Nova Craft canoe upriver on the Coppermine, Nunavut, July 22, 2017. (Photo: Adam Shoalts)

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.
Migratory birds, like the whooping crane, face a multitude of challenges including crossing international boundaries and shrinking habitats. (Photo: Roberta Bondar Foundation)

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:

Danica Mohns
Manager, RCGS Programs

I have read the instructions to apply for expedition funding*

And I understand this application must be completed in one sitting.

(Maximum characters: 150)

(1,000 characters max)

Type of expedition grant you are applying for*

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

Expedition Leader Name
Expedition Member Name
Expedition Member Name
Expedition Member Name
Expedition Member Name
Expedition Member Name
Expedition Members Citizenships

All are:

Due to COVID-19, this may factor into eligibility for expedition funding. (Maximum 200 characters)

Expedition Leader address

If you have participants who are minors please describe whether a) their parents or guardians will be present, and if not b) what authorizations and insurance are being used by the leaders.

(example: mountaineering, canoeing, hiking, sailing, other ....)

Expedition Details

(Maximum characters: 2,500)

Month/Day/Year to Month/Day/Year

Outreach/Communications

Expedition applicants must have a well-developed outreach component in one or more popular media (including print, online, video, etc.), as well as through public, community, and/or school presentations

No file chosen

Detailed summary of anticipated funding including all requests made to the RCGS, funding requests from other organizations and status of funding/sponsorship.

A list of all permits and licences necessary for the expedition

A detailed summary (1,500 characters) of the expedition’s risk and crisis management plans to ensure expedition and personnel safety. The summary must include emergency procedures and options in the event of a serious incident.

Including but not limited to provision(s) for disposal of waste, human and other; Mitigation techniques to minimize the human footprint of the expedition; Techniques for minimizing impact on flora and fauna; Plans for minimizing human / wildlife conflicts

No file chosen

Applicants are required to submit (as an attachment to your application) a detailed COVID-19 plan that considers the safety of team members as well as local communities and individuals. This plan must discuss the feasibility of the proposed expedition in view of current travel restrictions and conditions in Canada and must outline the Covid precautions the project plan to take. Failure to provide a detailed report will disqualify the application. Note the Federal Government, provinces and territories have significant travel and quarantine restrictions. Current conditions may be viewed at https://travel.gc.ca/covid-19-provinces-territories. If feasible consider noteworthy expeditions that operate within your province or territory of residence. There is also information pertinent to interactions with Indigenous communities at https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1581964230816/1581964277298 and for conducting field operations in the North at https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1592488460967/1592488485841.

No file chosen

One additional letter of reference is required to provide evidence that guarantees the expedition’s overall financial viability, including financial responsibilities to cover costs should unforeseen circumstances affect the planned completion of the expedition.

Drop files here or

Letters from two professional references who are familiar with the expedition and can comment on the value of the proposal

No file chosen

Maps, letters, other details that may add to your application for expedition funding.

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