Although there are similarities in approach to business between the USA and Canada, there are also enormous differences. Be aware of sensitivities in this area.
Canada is officially a bilingual country and efforts should be made, wherever possible to recognise the linguistic heritage of the French-speaking minority.
Canada has encouraged a multi-ethnic approach to its immigration policies. Cultural diversity is recognised and respected. It is very likely that you will encounter people from a wide range of cultural backgrounds.
Business structures vary enormously – do your homework on the contact organisation before visiting.
Business meetings in Canada tend to be more formal than in the US with a more restrained approach.
People expect the right to be heard and listened to in meetings situations regardless of rank or status.
Detailed preparation prior to meetings is expected and respected – decisions are not usually made until all the facts are to hand.
Communication styles are reserved and understated and there is a suspicion of hyperbole.
Canadians are direct in their communication style and can usually be taken on face value without the need to try to decipher coded messages.
Women visitors should have little or no problems operating within the Canadian business environment.
Written and Produced by Keith Warburton
This country profile has been produced to give a short overview of some of the key concepts to bear in mind when doing business with contacts in Canada. It is intended to be an aid to business people who have commercial dealings with counterparties in the country but should not be seen as an exhaustive guide to this topic or as a substitute for more substantial research should there be a need.
With this in mind, we have covered the areas which are key to a better understanding of the cultural mindset underpinning business dealings in Canada and which are, quite often, extremely different from the approach and thought processes associated with business in other parts of the world.
Therefore this briefing note is broken into short, bite-sized sections on the following topics: