As businesses learn about the differences between provinces’ business cultures, they are presented with new challenges.
After the Coronavirus pandemic forced the country’s borders to remain closed, many Canadian firms are seeking new markets in neighboring provinces. Canadian business culture varies widely across regions, making it difficult for these businesses to understand them. In spite of the fact that many publications describe Canadian business culture for foreigners on the internet, there are relatively few descriptions that describe the differences between the various parts of the country.
There are many differences between regions, so it would be impossible to cover all of them. Instead, we will provide you with the essential points on exporting, etiquette, and other topics to help you understand the clients and partners outside of your province.
Discover the intriguing differences in business cultures across Canadian provinces and gain valuable insights for entrepreneurs seeking Canada permanent residence and business immigration opportunities.
Newfoundland and Labrador: Exploring Business Opportunities
When someone mentions Atlantic Canada, fish is one of the first things that comes to mind. Seafood is the region’s most important export, and the US has been its largest market for a long time.
Downtown Halifax office space costs approximately $30 per square foot. For comparison, tenants in the Intelligent Office on Burrard Street in Vancouver would pay $55 (instead of 68) for office space on Bay Street in Toronto.
There are several other things you might not be aware of regarding the maritime provinces and Newfoundland and Labrador:
- College graduates are most prevalent in the Atlantic provinces. One of the region’s chief exports is postsecondary education, with 16 universities in the region.
- In Canada, St. John’s has the highest density of pubs per capita, followed by Halifax.
- As the mining, hydroelectric capacity, and offshore oil development of Newfoundland and Labrador have grown, the province is now regarded as having above-average GDP per capita.
- An Atlantic Canadian survey found that 52% of Canadians feel people are less polite than they were five years ago, compared to 58% of Canadians in other parts of the country.
Business Cultures in Western Canada
During the recent federal election, companies from interprovincial regions realized that attitudes in Western Canada and some other regions differed greatly. In an article published by Global Affairs Canada, a generalization may raise concerns about regionalism if it is viewed as speaking for all Central Canadians.
Disgruntlement is only one aspect of the West. In order to understand the business environment in the West, here are some compelling facts:
- Despite what being Manitoba’s top export, medicaments (substances used in therapy) are the second most important. Aerospace parts and furniture are also top exports.
- Recent years have seen Saskatchewan’s populace, employment, investment, and exports reach record levels due to its excellent farmland and abundance of uranium, potash, and shale oil.
- From 2012 to 2035, Alberta’s oil sand output is expected to almost triple, despite the controversy surrounding pipeline projects (which may have contributed to some of the results of the federal election).
- According to Lonely Planet, the westernmost parts of BC are extremely friendly. People on Vancouver Island are particularly effusive, so you should expect to speak with everyone from shop assistants to restaurant servers.”
The diverse cultures present in Western Canada, as well as the differences between them, should be acknowledged by business visitors. The most senior individual may do all or most of the talking in a Japanese-style business meeting in Canada, according to etiquette expert Nina Durante, but in a Canadian-style meeting, everyone speaks, she says.
Ontario’s Changing Business Environment
Ottawa, the federal government’s seat, and Toronto’s financial and cultural hubs are often associated with Ontario. Even though these cities play a significant role in the economy of the province, a lot more is going on outside of them.
Service Industries vs. Manufacturing
Canada’s manufacturing industry is largely concentrated in southern Ontario. In Hamilton, Ontario, Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen), is headquartered. This program is aimed at pairing Canadian businesses with cutting-edge technologies to improve the manufacturing industry.
As well as the manufacturing sector, the service sector has grown significantly in Ontario. 77.5% of Ontario’s GDP is derived from service industries, while 11.9% is derived from manufacturing industries.
Economic expansion in northern Ontario can be stimulated by the resources found there. For instance, after motor vehicles, gold was Ontario’s second-highest export in 2018. The federal and provincial governments are currently working on building the infrastructure needed to tap these resources.
A survey conducted by Invest Ontario found that seven of the top 10 technology businesses in the world conduct research and development in Ontario, including Microsoft, IBM, and Intel. In addition, Ontario’s tech industry has highly advanced subsectors like artificial intelligence and interactive digital media. Furthermore:
As a result of the tech sector, the business culture in Ontario is changing. Employee benefits such as fitness subsidies and catered meals are more common in tech companies, and office clothes are more relaxed as well.
Major Principles of Quebec Companies
Commerce in Quebec is conducted in French. Bill 101 established French as the official language of Quebec’s educational institutions, courts, and workplaces. It is therefore necessary to use French in correspondence for business purposes unless otherwise agreed.
Despite the restrictions Quebec’s corporate culture is explored in some depth in I Choose Montreal / Je Chois Montréal, a project of the Government of Quebec and the Economic Development Agency of Montreal:
- It is common in Canadian businesses to have more flexible hierarchical structures, more approachable managers, and opportunities for promoted employees.
- In the summertime, some companies start some half hours earlier and close some half hours later. Friday afternoons can now be taken off for employees.
- Work-from-home days and flexible schedules are standard workplace accommodations for parents with young children.
Due to its low unemployment rate, aging population, and robust economic growth, the Greater Quebec City region’s businesses have become increasingly dependent on international recruiting; businesses seeking to expand should take note of this. There are tools available on Québec First’s website for employers to help them find international workers.