Canada is the world’s ninth-largest economy, and one of the richest countries in the world. Around 75 percent of Canadians are employed in the service sector. Unusually for a developed nation, Canada still has a strong primary sector, largely consisting of the logging and petroleum industries. The country also has strong economic links with the USA, although doing business differs greatly between the two.


Canada is bilingual, with English and French being its two official languages. When presenting documents, you should always provide a French translation, particularly in the Quebec province. The communication style is generally much more reserved and low-key than in the USA, and individuals tend to be more diplomatic. However, people are still likely to be more direct than in Britain – evasive language should be avoided and any problems should be brought up for discussion.

Business structures

There is no typical business structure in Canada. While some companies have retained a hierarchical
Canada Facts
Ethnic groups: British origin 28 percent, French origin 23 percent, other European 15 percent, Amerindian two percent, other, mostly Asian, African, Arab six percent, mixed background 26 percent

Language: English, French


Canadian Dollar

National Holidays:
New Years Day (Jan1), Bank Holiday (Quebec only) Jan 2, Islander Day (Prince Edward Island only) Feb 21, Family Day (Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan only) Feb 21, Louis Riel Day (Manitoba only) Feb 21 Heritage Day (Yukon only) Feb 25, Good Friday Apr 22, Easter Monday Apr 25, Victoria Day May 23, National Aboriginal Day (Northwest Territories only) Jun 21, St. Jean Baptiste Day (Quebec only) Jun 24, Canada Day Jul 1, Nunavut Day (Nunavut only) Jul 9, Civic Holiday (All except Quebec) Aug 1, Discovery Day (Yukon only) Aug 15, Labour Day Sep 5, Thanksgiving Day Oct 10, Remembrance Day Nov 11, Christmas Day Dec 25, Boxing Day Dec 26.

Business hours:
Office/Government: varies by province but generally 8am to 5pm; Retail: again, depends on the province. Some provinces still do no permit widespread Sunday opening. Some smaller stores open 24 hours.

approach, others are now more collaborative. Managers always have the final decision, but are usually consultative with other staff members. While they must be decisive, Canadian managers are not usually overly authoritative. They will always have the best leadership skills but will not necessarily be the most technically competent.
Women are unlikely to encounter and gender bias, as it is common to find female managers in Canada.


Meetings in Canada tend to be somewhat more formal than in the USA. Punctuality is expected, and interruptions are frowned upon – one person speaks at a time and everyone expects to be able to have their say. Discussions are not usually aggressive or heated – people usually stay calm. People are expected to be very well-prepared for meetings.

Team work

When working with teams in Canada, it is better to issue outline instructions than to give clear directions as autonomy is appreciated and micro-management is likely to be seen as interference. However, a clear goal should always be given. All team members expect to be appreciated for their contribution.


As a general rule, larger companies dress more formally and smaller companies, or those in rural areas, tend to be more casual. However, it may be wise to check before you arrive.