Although it is the second largest country in the world, its population is 3 million smaller than Poland. Moreover, its population density comes down to just 3.6 persons per sq. km. These features make Canada a country open to immigrants as well as new investments and cooperation.

Canada – a country most often associated with a maple leaf featured on the country flag, sweet maple syrup, hockey and severe winter. Although Canadians are very often compared to Americans, on closer acquaintance they seem more subdued and reserved, both in private life an business interactions. Before starting cooperation with a Canadian, it is worth finding out if our partner comes from the English- or French-speaking community. The former are more open in contacts with contractors, while the residents of French-speaking provinces pay more attention to compliance with certain rules. Nevertheless, both groups share some common traits that may prove to be useful during business negotiations and talks.

First impression

The first meeting is usually of introductory character, during which Canadians attach great importance to greetings. A firm handshake while looking into our interlocutor’s eyes is preferred, as a limp handshake may be considered a sign of weakness. Another important factor is attire – during business meetings, men are expected to be wearing lounge suits while women should be dressed in elegant knee-length dresses and shoes that do not reveal feet.
Moreover, Canadians are also very punctual. Although they will surely forgive a small delay, any failure to meet the deadline will be perceived as a sign of disrespect or disregard. If there is a risk that you may get late to a meeting, it is necessary to inform your partner and politely apologize at the next meeting.

Distance is advised

Canadians are not an effusive nation – a trait that strongly distinguishes them from their southern neighbours. They are often reluctant toward foreign partners. This behaviour is characteristic especially for businessmen from Quebec – before starting negotiation with foreigners, they usually try to find out as much information as they can about them. It is also advisable to maintain the right distance during conversations.
Personal space is of great importance for Canadians, and invading it, even unintentionally, may result in increased distrust or even greater distancing from the counterparty. Canadians are very polite and expect the same behaviour from their foreign guests. Therefore, it is worth remembering about using words such as “thank you”, “you’re welcome” and “I’m sorry”.

Interesting facts

Comparing their country to the United States is less than ideal topic to raise when speaking with Canadians. It is better not to mention areas in which the USA is better than Canada. Moreover, offering a Canadian a gift associated with the United States may also be considered a faux pas.Canada ranked 22 in the Doing Business 2016 ranking prepared by a World Bank Group, presenting 190 countries that provide the best conditions to conduct own business. Canada is also a country where setting up a company is very simple – when it comes to the ease of starting a business, the country ranks second in the world: you only need 1.5 days and complete two procedures.
Canada and Poland enjoy close bilateral and commercial relations, with Poland being the most important partner of Canada in Central-Eastern Europe. These two countries closely cooperate in various fields, like military, as NATO partners, and run together many academic programmes. In April 2015, the visa requirement for Polish citizens without biometric passports was lifted. The only requirement is Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) that can be obtained via a simple online procedure. eTA is valid for 5 years and entitles you to multiple trips to Canada.