Business Practices in Canada
- The Fundamental Principles of Business Culture
Punctuality. Telephone if you are going to be late. A delay of more than 20 minutes may lead to postponement. Prepare an agenda and stick to it. If the meeting lasts more than two hours, a drink and a snack will be offered. If the meeting takes place over a meal time, you will often be offered more substantial food or go to a restaurant to finish up.
In business situations, men and women are treated in the same way.
- First Contact
- It is better to make an appointment for a first meeting. You can make an appointment by telephone or by e-mail. If the person is really interested, they will set up a meeting very quickly.
- A frank, honest and courteous handshake, with eye contact, and especially not pretentious, is the key to the start of good relations.
- How to Present Yourself
- You should hold out your hand, introduce yourself, introduce your company and make sure that the person you are talking to is indeed the right person if they do not give their name. Thank them for the meeting.
- Business Relations
- Be smiling, confident and go straight to the point of the meeting.
Gifts are exchanged especially at holiday times.
You might give small business gifts when an agreement is reached or at the end of a commercial mission or an official visit. Gifts from your country are particularly enjoyed.
Note: it is unacceptable in Canada, in business practice, to give a gift to obtain favorable treatment. It is considered as an act of corruption which could lead to legal consequences. The Canadian government and certain companies have decided to adopt a code of conduct which prohibits accepting gifts in certain circumstances.
- Business Communication
- When there is real interest, the answer comes very quickly. You must be ready to respond to an order. Agreements are often only sealed by a handshake and a written order. You should confirm the order by letter setting out the terms and conditions you discussed. A contract in due form is always welcome.
- Dress Code
The right way to dress can vary considerably from one organization to another. For example, suits are worn in most government offices and many company offices. More informal clothes are common in high technology sectors and in a growing number of companies.
Women wear suits, dresses, classic trousers, with the appropriate accessories.
Canadians do not wear perfume in a business environment.
- Visiting Cards
- In Canada, they are "Cartes d'affaires" "Business Cards". They are often bilingual front/back. They are generally offered and exchanged at the beginning of a meeting.
- For Further Information
Services for Business, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.
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