Canada is officially bilingual and this fact needs to be recognised in your dealings with the country.
Thus it is politic to provide French translations of any marketing and promotional literature to be used when trying to enter the market (especially in the area of Quebec.) It can sometimes be somewhat difficult to find exact translations for obscure technical terms, in which case using the English phrase would be acceptable.
One striking difference between the US and Canada is that Canadian communication patterns are much more low key. Reserve, understatement, diplomacy and tact are key attributes and contrast sharply with the more direct approach of many Americans.
However, it would be wrong to assume that Canadian communication patterns are more akin to, say the British approach, because although not as confrontational as some other cultures, Canadians still like to be direct and say what they mean. It is unusual to find Canadians using overtly coded language. ‘Yes’ will usually mean ‘yes’ and ‘no’ will mean ‘no’. Canadians see evasive language as suspicious and would prefer any problems to be put onto the table for discussion.
An increasing reliance on technology means that much intra-company communication is solely email based with phones used in an emergency.
This country-specific business culture profile was written by Keith Warburton who is the founder of the cultural awareness training consultancy Global Business Culture.
Global Business culture is a leading training provider in the fields of cross-cultural communication and global virtual team working. We provide training to global corporations in live classroom-based formats, through webinars and also through our cultural awareness digital learning hub, Global Business Compass.
This World Business Culture profile is designed as an introduction to business culture in Canada only and a more detailed understanding needs a more in-depth exploration which we can provide through our training and consultancy services.
Essentials of Business Culture online courses
Country fact files for 40+ destinations
Comprehensive guides on doing business in 40+ countries
Tailored development pathway with a personalised learning journey
In-depth courses on key international destinations
Working in and Leading Virtual Teams online courses
Expert blogs and articles
© Keith Warburton 2023, All rights reserved
World Business Culture, West Down, Chalk Hill, Soberton, Hampshire SO32 3PH