When doing business in Canada, it's important to be aware of the culture-based communication styles. This way you can better understand how your target market communicates, and improve the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. Canada is a global business hub and an important economic partner for many countries that share its culture. Therefore, being aware of the cross-cultural style in Canada is essential for both external and internal business communication.

About Canada

Canada's cities are thriving centers of art and culture, as well as commercial, industrial and financial activity. Most of Canada's population is concentrated in the southern part of the country where there are many large cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Quebec City. It has an advanced economy with a high standard of living and high life expectancy.

Anglophones and Francophones refer to the official languages of Canadians. Anglophone (English-speaking) and Francophone (French-speaking) communities are the largest linguistic groups in Canada. A majority of Albertans, Quebecers, and Newfoundlanders speak English. French is spoken alongside English as a first language by approximately 80% of Quebecers and 10% of Newfoundlanders. At the same time, most Canadians speak at least one or two other languages in addition to English and French.

Canada's culture-based communication style

  1. In Canada, people tend to be more indirect when communicating with others. They do this because they want to avoid making anyone feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.
  2. A common trait among Canadians is to be overly polite and friendly. They have developed a culture of politeness and respect, which they apply to all situations.
  3. Canada's communication style is very formal. People tend to address each other by their last names and titles, and they are rarely familiar with those they have just met.
  4. Canadian communication is generally considered low-context. This means that Canadians tend to express themselves through what they say rather than how they say it. In other words, they're not big on subtext.
  5. In Canada, small talk is used as a way to get acquainted with someone before starting a more serious conversation about business or personal matters.
  6. Canadians tend to be egalitarian and open-minded, which means that they will not hesitate to share their opinions with you or ask for yours in return.
  7. The Canadian business culture also emphasizes punctuality: it's important to arrive on time for meetings and appointments, and it's considered rude if you're late without offering an explanation.

Non-verbal communication in Canada

  1. Greetings: Anglophones are more likely to shake hands, while Francophones are more likely to kiss on the cheek or hug.
  2. Eye Contact: Eye contact can be very important in Canada. It's not uncommon to see people making eye contact with one another while talking.
  3. Dress code: In the workplace, Canadians dress conservatively, with men wearing suits and ties and women wearing dresses or skirts.
  4. Body language: Canadians tend to be more reserved than people from other countries, especially when it comes to expressing their emotions through body language. This means that they will often use less body language.
  5. Personal Space: Anglophones tend to have a much larger personal space than Francophones, who are more likely to be very close when talking.