Canada is a country in the northern half of North America. Its territory extends across the width of the continent, and it is therefore flanked by the Pacific Ocean to its west and the Atlantic Ocean to its east. To the north, Canada is bordered by the Arctic Ocean, and to the south by the United States. By surface area, Canada is the second-largest country in the world.
Should you be looking to travel, live, relocate, or do business in the sovereign state, we will give you a helpful head start on understanding Canada’s culture and its thriving multiculturalism.
Local culture & language
The Canadian culture has been primarily influenced by the various European cultures and traditions of its constituent nationalities, particularly British and French culture. There are also influences from the cultures of its indigenous peoples, and from the neighboring USA. Core Canadian values include fairness, equality, inclusiveness, and social justice. This is evidenced by the country’s approach to governance, which includes public health care, higher taxation to promote the redistribution of wealth, the legalization of same-sex marriage, the abolition of capital punishment, and the suppression of far-right politics.
Canada generally has a very open and accepting attitude towards other cultures and religions.
Language in Canada
Etiquette & Customs
Canadians are generally polite, tolerant, and relatively informal. As with any large country, there is a great amount of variation in customs and etiquette from one region to the next. The most obvious difference is in the province of Quebec, which has more French influence than the British. As a result, it is not uncommon for people to greet each other by kissing each other’s cheeks, left and right, rather than the handshake popular in the rest of the country.
Canadians are generally very polite, and it is important to remember your manners if you want to get on well with people. If you are dining with locals, then table manners are fairly informal, and you need not worry about refusing particular dishes or asking questions about the food. Do make sure to say please and thank you. If you are invited to someone’s home for a meal, it is considered polite to bring a small gift such as a bottle of wine or some chocolates.
Business meeting advice (if doing business in Canada)
Business practices and culture vary across Canada from region to region, so make sure you read up on the area that you will be visiting before you go.
Shaking hands is the standard here. People may make judgments about you based on your handshake, so make sure that it is firm and that you maintain eye contact during the greeting. Business cards are usually exchanged, and it would be a good idea to have cards translated with both French and English information.
In Canada, the normal workday is from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. However, many people prefer meetings in the morning to in the afternoon. The dress code for business is usually formal, with suits and ties commonly expected.
Business communication in Canada is as much as you would expect based on their national values. Great store is set by allowing everyone to be free to express their own opinion, and decisions will generally only be made once all facts and opinions have been taken into consideration. Both positive and negative comments will be presented in a straightforward way, and when communicating through email or over the phone, keep communication brief and factual.
Punctuality is important in Canada. Being slightly late in a social context may be considered acceptable, but in business being on time should be a priority.
When talking with Canadians, avoid referencing the USA or comparing your experience of Canada to any experience you may have of the States. Canadians often feel that they are overlooked by foreigners in favor of their more populous and more globally culturally dominant neighbors, and by talking about the USA you risk irritating them.
Relocating to Canada
Due, at least in part, to the country’s welcoming attitude towards immigrants, Canada is becoming an increasingly popular destination for people looking to relocate. If you are thinking of moving to Canada, here are a few things that you might want to consider:
You should be aware that the cost of living in Canada is higher than in most of the rest of the world. Property prices in major urban centers such as Vancouver and Toronto average are currently amongst some of the highest in the western world. The price of groceries may also be higher than you might think due to the fact that Canada relies heavily on imports, and the same is true of petrol and alcohol, which are both heavily taxed.
Although Canada generally welcomes immigrants, you still need to go through the correct process before coming to ensure that you are residing in the country legally. Be prepared for this process to be time-consuming, as it is not uncommon for it to take 6 months in between completing your application and receiving a response.
Multiculturalism and Diversity
Love for the environment
Order and Space
Canadians value order and preserving their personal space. They also value personal privacy. It will be wise to keep away from discussions of salary, family life, weight, religion, and other personal topics. It is also understood that a person has rights over his/her own property, so make sure to ask permission before using anything that is not yours. Disruptive behaviour, such as cutting in line, speaking out of turn, shouting, and talking loudly is definitely frowned upon. Decorum is part of keeping order and respecting other people’s space.
Canadians are known to be some of the most polite, tactful, and peace-loving human beings on the planet. In fact, a stereotypical Canadian is depicted as one who apologizes despite not being at fault. As you can tell from the above information to a certain extent this is true.