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Three Tips for Doing Business in Canada and Navigating the Culture

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If you’re off to Canada on business, then it’s important to make a great impression from the get-go!

Learning about the country, people and their business culture will go a long way in helping you succeed.

However, if you’re just looking for those essential tips about doing business in Canada, then that’s what we’re going to try and do here.

We appreciate doing your homework on all matters Canadian takes times, so we’re going to briefly cover our three key tips.

These three tips for doing business in Canada are applicable to everyone, no matter what part of the world you're from.


DON'T MISS THE LINK TO A FREE SAMPLE OF OUR CANADA CULTURAL AWARENESS COURSE AT THE END!


What Three Things Should You Know About Doing Business in Canada?


There are so many things we could look at to help foreigners understand how to navigate the business culture, but we’re going to focus on these three:

  1. Identity, Equality & Respect
  2. Modesty, Logic & Conflict
  3. Professionalism, Punctuality & Formality

By briefly examining each, you’ll gain some great insights into Canadian business culture and how you may need to adapt your approach when doing business in Canada.


1. Identity, Equality & Respect

The glue that holds Canada together is the respect people have for one another, no matter where in the world they originate from or no matter what their identity.

This is a country where people are free to express themselves without fear. Everyone is, in theory, equal and should therefore be treated as such.

Be very careful discussing topics such as identity, immigration, regionalism, religion, age, sexuality, etc and especially so if you hold strong opinions.

It’s important to show respect and refrain from passing moral judgements.


team office toronto meeting

Much of what you'll read about here also influences how Canadians communicate.

Click here to learn more about the Canadian communication style.

Photo by Leon on Unsplash


2. Modesty, Logic & Conflict

As a result of this egalitarian culture, Canadians are a very modest people. They dislike shows of power, wealth or status and don’t warm to people who shout about themselves.

Canadians are also a very rational people, leaving emotions out of decision making and always trying to apply a cool, calm logic to problems.

Be very careful if you come from a culture where conflict or aggression is part of the business culture. It has no place in Canada as people don’t agree with such tactics.

If you’re doing business in Canada it's important to rely on facts and figures, not fantasy and friction.


man stares at canadian mountains

Personal freedom and the environment are both important values in Canadian society.

Click here to read our guide to Canadian culture.

Photo by Kalen Emsley on Unsplash


3. Professionalism, Punctuality & Formality

Canadians are a private people and consequently when doing business, they tend to draw clear lines between professional and personal.

Professionalism is always expected. You should therefore be well dressed and properly presented. Be sure to steer clear of asking personal questions and make sure you are always on time. This is time-conscious culture.

Initially Canadians will be fairly formal in their communication and behaviours, however once rapport and relationship have been established, they do become less so.

Always err on the side of caution and adopt a formal approach at the start.


Summary

So, to quickly summarise our three tips for doing business in Canada:

  1. Respect people’s different identities, treat everyone equally and show respect for people’s various beliefs.
  2. Modesty is important in everything you do, use reasoned argument and logic to persuade and stay away from any sort of conflict.
  3. Remain professional, being careful not to become too personal as well as making sure you’re punctual and formal at all times.

Take an eLearning Course on Doing Business in Canada

video training

 

If you’re serious about learning more about Canadian business culture, then check out our eLearning course.

It covers everything from Canadian values to the communication style to the business culture and essential etiquette.

Click here to learn more and take a free sample!

 


Main photo by Leon on Unsplash


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