A guide to doing business in Canada

Canada has always enjoyed a notable position on the expat hot list, thanks to factors such as the tolerant reputation of its people, the ease of integration, and the close proximity to wonderfully scenic vistas where you can get back to nature and explore the Great Outdoors in all its splendour.
Additionally, the Canadian world of work generally receives a positive report from expats. The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Survey 2015 ranked Canada 14th out of 189 countries worldwide due to high ratings for criteria such as protecting investors, getting credit, paying taxes and starting a business.
Understanding Canadian business culture
Canada is renowned for its large expat population and as a result of this multi-cultural melting pot, the people enjoy a reputation for being open-minded and welcoming. This attitude extends into the business environment and expats can look forward to integrating with ease into the working world. However, there are a few cultural details to be aware of in order to facilitate a smooth transition.
Canadians place a high value on punctuality – arrive too late or even too early and it could be considered rude; however, in general, the business environment tends to lean towards the less formal end of the scale, particularly in terms of management style and business attire. Canadian managers strive to remain approachable and get involved with the team instead of maintaining distance as an authority figure. This isn’t to say the manager does not deliver the final word on company decisions, but input from colleagues is encouraged and valued. Dress is less formal that the kind of attire you might encounter in Europe, however a suit and tie is still considered appropriate for meetings of a corporate nature.
Communication style
Business in Canada is generally conducted in English, but it is worth bearing in mind that the country is officially bilingual and in certain areas, some knowledge of French would be advantageous, particularly in Quebec or Montreal. In terms of communication style, those that have experience of working in the US may recognise similarities in the fairly direct Canadian method of communication. However, a more reserved approach is favoured in Canada, with an avoidance of any kind of tactics that could be considered pushy, aggressive or overly emotional.
When it comes to greeting associates, a handshake is perfectly appropriate. However, bear in mind that in some parts of the country, you might encounter French Canadian colleagues who may greet with a kiss on the cheek.
Registering a business
The ease of registering a business in Canada might be one of the reasons that entrepreneurs are so attracted to its shores. A simple procedure, all you need to do is file for federal incorporation and provincial registration online at Industry Canada’s Electronic Filing Centre. Your application should take approximately five days to process.
If you are considering a move to Canada, Cadogan Tate will assist you every step of the way – from your first enquiry to unpacking at your new home, we are here to help and advise you. For more details about Cadogan Tate’s specialist international removals services from London, click here.
Information correct at time of publication.