Business culture varies throughout Canada, depending on the region. Likewise, business structures are different, so ensure you have done your homework on the organisation and the region before visiting. Detailed preparation prior to meetings will be expected and appreciated!
Business communication is quite direct in Canada; there will be no need for you to decipher and read into messages like many other cultures. Emails and telephone calls should also be direct and succinct. Get to the point immediately.
Great importance is given to respecting everyone’s opinions. Regardless of rank and status, people expect the right to be heard and listened to in all meetings. And, decisions are not usually made until all the facts are at hand.
Canada is officially bilingual in French and English – do not forget that and be prepared to use these languages in meetings. Use an interpreter if necessary. It is considered especially rude to speak in a foreign language in the presence of other people who do not understand what is being said. Try to avoid topics on conflicts between French and English Canada. Do not initiate a discussion on comparing Canada with the US. Also, do not get into personal issues.
The dress code is a conservative, very well-dressed appearance. Note that you should not wear any scent (perfume, strong after-shaves or hairsprays) at all! It can be a threat to people with asthma or allergies, which are common with Canadians.
What is your experience when doing business with Canadians?