The draw

Everything you need to know

The Explore places are awarded using a randomized, computer-generated draw (based on provincial and territorial allocations and institutional quotas). Applications submitted on or before February 15 will be included in the pan-Canadian draw which usually takes place in the middle of March. Applications submitted on or after February 16 will still be considered in the event that there are places available following the pan-Canadian draw.

Everyone who meets the eligibility criteria and successfully applies by the specified deadline will be entered into the draw, though people who have never participated before will have a higher priority than those who have previously participated. You’re allowed to participate in the program more than once, but you cannot participate twice in the same year.

As soon as the draw has taken place, you will receive an e-mail indicating that your status has changed. If you do not receive an e-mail, be proactive and log in to your account!

If you win the initial or subsequent draws, you will have a set number of days in which to accept or refuse, starting from the time the institution contacts you. If you do not respond in a timely manner, your status will be changed to “Inactive,” and your place will be offered to someone else.

Every possible effort will be made to assign you to one of your preferred institutions, but participants sometimes get assigned elsewhere if their preferred institutions are already full. A place could be offered to you elsewhere if you indicated that you are open to this on your application (see “Maximizing your Chances”).

Waiting list

If you are not initially awarded a place, don’t despair, because you may still have a chance to participate! You will be placed on a waiting list, and there are additional draws every week to choose more participants until all places are allocated.

Changing session/institution after being awarded a place

Once you are awarded a place, you cannot change educational institution or session, except under extraordinary circumstances (e.g., severe illness, death of a relative, etc.). To receive such an exemption, a request must be presented to the coordinator of your home province or territory, along with supporting documentation pertaining to your request. The request must be approved by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC).

Refusing a place

If you are offered a place but cannot accept it, you will need to contact the institution as soon as possible to let them know. You will not be penalized for refusing a place. If you still meet the eligibility criteria, you can apply again next year with the same priority level as first-time applicants. Even after the deadline for receipt of applications, you can log in to your on-line profile in order to change your location preferences. You cannot change your preferences after being awarded a place.

Special needs

If you have any special needs (a disability, medical care requirements, etc.) you must contact your host institution as soon as you are informed that you are being offered a place, in order to give them all the relevant information. Please note that you may be assigned to an institution other than the one you chose that can better accommodate your needs.

Maximizing your chances

To maximize your chances of being chosen, be as flexible as possible when completing your on-line application by selecting the box that says “If none of my preferred institutions is available, I agree to go to another institution.” You will have the option of saying you are open to going to any province where a place is available, or of specifying which province(s) you are open to. You will also have the option of attending any session or specifying Spring only or Summer only. It’s also a good idea to select at least one institution located outside of the major cities.

Note: If you are not flexible in terms of dates, locations, or travel costs, you should make your selection wisely, because once the place is awarded, you will not be able to change it.


We would be happy to answer your questions about Explore. Tell us how to contact you and we’ll be in touch.