DOING BUSINESS IN CANADA
A vibrant and competitive economy and transparent regulatory framework enable dynamic business creation and operation in Canada. Scoring highly on the World Bank’s scale for ease of doing business and ranking highly on the Index of Economic Freedom, Canadians enjoy a high standard of living whilst foreign investors have unrestricted access to Canada’s fair legal system and enjoy little interference from governmental policies.
A combination of being particularly prosperous in the mining, insurance, telecommunications and automotive industries, rich in natural resources, especially oil, and a member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Group of Eight (sometimes known as the Group of Seven) (G8/G7), have all helped cement Canada’s position as one of the world’s top ten trading nations. In short, doing business in Canada is a smart strategic choice.
Canada may be the second largest country in the world geographically but nearly 90% of the nation’s population is located within 200km of the border with America. The trade relationship between the US and Canada is a by-product of this close proximity and the largest relationship of its kind between any two nations in the world. Although Canada could not survive without this crucial bi-lateral trade with its southern neighbours, professionals doing business in Canada would do well to remember that Canadians vary considerably from their American counterparts. Marked differences can be seen in Canada’s business meetings which although democratic in approach, tend to be more formal than meetings in the States. While American business people usually use an extremely direct communication style, Canadians are generally more reserved and understated with high value being placed on polite courtesy.
As Canadians are keen to shake the stereotype that they are similar to Americans, those doing business in Canada will be putting their best foot forward if they recognise the bilingual nation’s historic French ties by offering French translations of any business documents.
The World Business Culture website is a helpful hub of advice like this to help professionals aspiring to do business in Canada navigate the culture and gain invaluable knowledge on the nation’s economic climate, tax system and market entry process.
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:
- Background to business
- Business Structures
- Management style
- Women in business
- Top tips