Evaluation of Market Development Activities — Summary

About the evaluation

The Office of Audit and Evaluation of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) undertook an evaluation of the market development activities to assess program relevance, design and delivery, efficiency, and effectiveness.

The evaluation assessed market development activities from 2016-17 to 2020-21 using a variety of methods, including: a review of program documents, data and literature; interviews with internal and external stakeholders; and case studies.

What we found

Market development activities summary

  • Market development activities are delivered by the Market Development Division, International Affairs Branch.
  • Market development activities are intended to incentivize export activity and minimize the risks associated with entering new markets.
  • Three market development activity areas were examined: Global Analysis, Flagship Trade Shows, and In-Market Partnership Fund.


Market development activities meet the needs of Canadian agriculture and agri-food companies by providing financial, informational, and logistical supports that help companies understand and take advantage of international market opportunities.

Market development activities are aligned with AAFC’s departmental mandate to support global export growth and market diversification in Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector.

Design and delivery

The design and delivery of market development activities has improved with the integration of innovative tools and programs, as well as virtual activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is overlap with other federal, provincial, private sector, and non-profit market development programming, but it was generally found to be complementary and productive. Federal-provincial/territorial governance structures and collaboration, as well as the unique features of AAFC market development activities, help prevent duplication.


The Market Development Division have provided efficient in-market activities and market intelligence for federal, provincial, and industry stakeholders.


Market development activities have supported intended outcomes of the Trade and Market Expansion Program, including: increasing stakeholder awareness of international market development opportunities; making Canadian products visible in international markets; helping companies take advantage of new international market opportunities; and contributing to growing the economy.

AAFC would benefit from identifying current and future lessons learned in the delivery of virtual and hybrid activities to guide strategic investments in this area, and identifying key performance indicators and targets that are aligned with relevant Trade and Market Expansion Program outcomes to better enable performance measurement.


R1: The Assistant Deputy Minister, International Affairs Branch, should assess the feasibility of formalizing and expanding the Market Development Division’s hybrid virtual/in-person approach to international market development.

R2: The Assistant Deputy Minister, International Affairs Branch, in consultation with the Corporate Management Branch, should integrate market development specific key performance indicators and related targets into the Trade and Market Expansion Performance Information Profile. 

Management response

Management agrees with the evaluation recommendations and has outlined an action plan to address them by March 31, 2022.