Common Business Culture & Etiquette Practiced In Canada

Canada is the second-largest country in the world. It is in the North American continent, located above the United States of America, with a population of more than 37 million as of 2019. The culture of Canada has heavy British and French influences, as well as its indigenous people’s cultures, and from their neighbor, the USA.

As people, Canadians are generally courteous, tolerant, and quite informal. Because of the enormity of their land area, certain parts of the country have varying customs and traditions. For example, in Quebec, the influence of the French is quite obvious compared to the rest of the country. Handshakes are a common way of greeting one another in Canada. In Quebec, kissing each other on the cheek has been their practice for quite some time. 

Business Approach And Outlook

Canadians are quite formal when they are conducting business. It is a blend of British, French and American preferences and may vary from different areas in the country. You may speak in English or French, as they are the official languages spoken in the country. Here are some of the things to ponder when doing business in Canada:

  • Business communications are direct in Canada. 
  • You also have to be on-time with your appointments. Being late for 15-minutes is acceptable, but waiting beyond half an hour is not a good practice. 
  • Your business cards should have both English and French translations.

Business Etiquettes

There are certain protocols to remember when engaging in business with Canadians. Please take note of each:

  • Make sure to be wary of your body language. Whenever you shake hands with a client, make it firm and warm. Making eye contact is equally important. It shows your sincerity and confidence whenever you are dealing with them.
  • Giving gifts to clients is often done when you have the deal closed. However, if you happen to bring one on your first meeting, it is customary to open the gift immediately and show it to everybody.
  • Please take note not give white lilies as gifts, for they are associated with funerals. Keep away from giving red roses as well.
  • During a business meeting, please take care not to eat ahead. Wait until everybody on the table has been served. 
  • When you set a business meeting during lunchtime, keep it short. Also, refrain from ordering alcohol during your meeting.
  • When your business counterpart invites you to go out for drinks, be sure to say yes (unless you have very important matters you have to attend.) Refusing their invitation is considered to be disrespectful and insulting.

Canada has opened its doors to the whole world to business exchanges, visitors, and even settlers! As their motto say: “A Mari Usque Ad Mare,” which means “from sea to sea.” Given these pointers, perhaps it’s about time to ready your Canada Visa, and start a business in this wonderful country, from Yukon to Halifax!