Business landscapes all across the globe are constantly shifting. Like tectonic plates within the earth’s core, market trends can barely be anticipated and when big things start to take place, some economies may be left devastated if they do not adapt.
Though some countries have been failing to keep up with the rapid and tumultuous change, there are those who have been able to adapt brilliantly and keep their economy afloat, if not take it as an opportunity for growth. One of the healthiest and most stabilized economies around the world today is Canada’s
It comes as no surprise the number of immigrants moving to Canada to find work, get a better education, and overall pursue a better life. It is also where many business owners see greener pastures for their businesses, with Canada having one of the firmest trade relations with the United States.
However, even though the prospect of expansion may sound alluring at first, it is not as simple as the idea suggests. There are a lot of catches involved here, and identifying them before any initial plans is vital to making sure that your Canadian prospects do not go up in flames. With all this said, here are a few things that you should know about Canada’s business landscape.
Not too far away from home.
When people think of migrating, they are filled with the anxiety of a complete change of scenery. A new diet, a new language, new customs, and dealing with an entirely new culture are just some of the great burdens of moving to a new country. With Canada, half of that work is removed as the country shares a lot of cultural similarities with countries around the world.
Its cultural similarity with the United States also allows many immigrants, from the U.S. and other countries alike, to be more comfortable upon settling down. English is still the main language in Canada and shaking hands is still the primary mode of greeting so that in itself is enough to build firm relationships business-wise and on personal levels.
It is no surprise that Canada remains to be on top of the economic stability list all around the world, as well as the high number of immigrants in Canada. This statistic can be traced back to Canada’s low corporate tax rates, with Canada reducing its tax rate in the last nine years. This was done in an effort to boost economic growth, as well as give immigrants an extra reason to move there.
The Canadian Trade Network
In order for an economy to remain stable, there needs to be a healthy flow of international trade. Canada has got this pinned down with its versatile trade network, which greatly favors businesses that aim to trade and operate on global markets. Canada aims to increase its diversity and to indulge in more markets, and this is obvious when you look at its many trade pacts namely
- The European Union’s Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement ( CETA).
- North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
- Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Intellectual property safety
It is no secret that Canada has been keen on developing their research and development sector, and in doing so has made various advances in protecting intellectual property by reducing administrative requirements and hastening procedures for businesses.
Back in 2018, Canada endorsed the Hague Agreement and has since joined several other IP treaties such as the Madrid Protocol, the Nice Agreement, WIPO’s Patent Law Treaty, and the Singapore Treaty.
While it is true that there are many benefits awaiting those who come to Canada, it is not all peaches and cream as there are still a few things to consider before you conduct your business plan. Here are some of those things you need to take note of:
Different federal laws in each province
Canada, like any other country, has its districts and provinces. As expected, there will be different federal laws that come with each province, and business owners need to be in touch with the regulations, taxes, and enforcements in their desired area of operation. Research should be done prior to any plans made of moving, as you want to avoid being caught by surprise by any rule that may throw a curveball at your plans.
Sensitive to culture acknowledgment
We have mentioned before that Canada, unlike other countries, will be most welcoming to people of separate origins. However, this does not mean that you can act however you like when you step foot in the country.
There should still be a set level of respect when dealing with your new customers. Canadians are not merely nicer Americans and will be dismayed at a blatant lack of respect. If you plan to do business, there should be an acknowledgment of their culture such as having the ability to cater to French Canadians. This includes communicating in French as much as possible in business cards, pamphlets, menus, or emails.
Numerous business licensing requirements
It is common knowledge that in order to operate legally, you need a certain degree of licensure to do so. Canada, luckily, has similar licensing requirements to the U.S., so for Americans moving to Canada there will be little trouble in that department.
Canada will have numerous examinations and briefings when it comes to acquiring licensure, and licenses are handled by different areas of the government. The big deal here is that businesses that plan to expand in Canada will need to abide by all requirements before they conduct business locally.
Despite Canada’s keenness on expanding to global markets, there are a lot of restrictions that exist when it comes to imports within several sectors. From identifying available sales channels, navigating provincial laws and regulations, and evaluating market opportunities. Before conducting import relations, businesses must comply with local custom laws and bilingual packaging, a strict requirement with the Canadian Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act, which notes that both English and French should be on product labels. Furthermore, Canada has set in place strict requirements when foreign entities want to conduct business with domestic companies. There is a tedious process of reviewing and briefing Canadian regulators within the industries of finance, uranium production, cultural industries, broadcasting, telecommunications, and transportation.
Strict document verification
As with any plan that includes migrating to another country, there are a lot of public documents that need to be presented and ready before doing so. Canada is just as strict as any other nation, so origination verification is required for all public documents. To do prior research and inquiry, it is best to communicate with the Canadian embassy within your area or your country’s embassy abroad.
Tips when conducting business in Canada
- Take a look at the local business grants.
Business grants have always been a big help for businesses to help gain their footing either during the start of operation or when the current status is not going too well. If you do it correctly, business grants can almost guarantee your business stability and success.
There are a lot of business grants and tax incentives available within Canada, and you should most definitely look into some of them. If you are asking us, the Scientific Research and Experimental Development program, or SR&ED, is one of the first ones that should be on your list.
Canada, as we have said before, is adamant about improving its research and development sectors. SR&ED is the program that will cater to that dream and will acquaint you with enough financial assistance, tax incentives, and technological support given the fact that you are within their area of interest.
- Use the metric system.
This may be overlooked, but it is very important that you understand how Canadians do about their daily lives. One such way is to look at how they measure things, and Canadians go with the metric system.
When we are talking distance, they measure it in meters which is only a bit longer than one yard. Kilometers are used for longer distances. Soft drinks are measured in milliliters, and temperature is measured in Celsius. As such, your products and advertisement should abide by the metric system.
- Learn some french.
Language is an important factor for any nation, especially for immigrants who wish to move there. For Canada, there are two official languages – English and French. Though you will most likely only need French if you conduct business in the Quebec area, it is safer to assume that you are still catering to a population of mostly French speakers.
Once you do pick up some French, it will make it easier to conduct business as well as understand the business happening around you. This is especially important when you consider there are multiple Canadian firms and companies that have strict French-speaking laws and is the dominant language within the workplace.
You would not want language barriers to be a part of the problem once you arrive in Canada, so it is best to be smart and think ahead on this one.
- Do away with the stereotypes.
This may be common sense, but you can easily make this mistake if you are not reminded. Canadian stereotypes include being labeled as “nicer” Americans, consuming maple syrup all day, or sleeping next to beavers and moose.
Every nation has its own set of stereotypes, but it can be misguiding when you deal with the authentic locals and find out that there are more than just that. It seems a bit contrived, but this can hurt your credibility if you do not be careful with those pieces of information. After all, you should be dealing business with actual demographics, not the stereotype.
Canada seems like one of the most in-prime places to migrate, expand your enterprise, whether you are starting a small business or maintaining a big one. It is a nation that is filled with opportunity and will welcome those who have that vision. From a business perspective, Canada does have greener pastures, but you will have to be guided if you want to have a realistic shot at expanding within its borders. If you want to do so, make sure that you take in all the tips and tricks above.