Workplace Culture in Canada


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  • First of all, being late is very unpopular in Canada. You will want to be at the office early, in order to be fully ready to work on time. If you have a problem that will make you absent or very late, call your superior in order to notify him.
  • The daily working schedules are, most of the time, shorter than anywhere else, especially in Quebec! It is quite unusual to finish your working day after 5 p.m. But this means that you will generally have fewer holidays. There are only nine official holidays and 10 days of paid holidays per year when you start.
  • The relationships between employees are quite special as well. They don’t mix private life and professional life. It is unpopular to talk about your personal problems with your coworkers, and most of your conversations will be only small talk and chitchat about the weather! Even if you find your workplace quite relaxed, you should always have formal relationships with your colleagues, and even more with your superiors.
  • The workplace culture of Canada valorizes teambuilding and teamwork efforts. You should always be ready to help your coworkers. Collaboration is important, but independence and personal initiative is too. Make sure you understand and adapt to the corporate culture in your company.
  • Hierarchies exist and must be respected, but it’s generally flexible. You shouldn’t be surprised if you are asked to share your point of view, even on things which you feel you have no concern in or no responsibility for.  Brainstorming is common.
  • Use of non-confrontational and politically correct communication is of paramount importance in workplace culture in Canada. It can also be surprising for you to realize that there is visual contact between you and the person you are talking to, as it is considered as a mark of politeness and respect.

The workplace culture in Canada may be quite different from what you are used to, but it is considered fairly easy to adapt to, and accepted as a means to avoid stress and enhance productivity. Take a step back and take time to observe the differences and work your way through them, the rest will follow.

Adjusting comfortably to a new culture isn’t easy, but can help. Sign up to visit the “Working” and “Cultural Adjustment” sections of “The Guide.”


Read more about working and workplace culture in Quebec:


About Peter

As the child of a diplomat, I’ve had the opportunity to really see the world. Living in Algeria, Italy, Venezuela, South Korea, Ukraine and the Bahamas has taught me that diversity is a gift, not something to fear. When it comes to diversity, Canada is a special place. Its big cities attract high percentages of immigrants from every corner of the globe, and natives are welcoming and kind to them. Racial, gender and other forms of diversity are also largely accepted and even celebrated. Relocating is never easy. The stress of moving, and starting over when it comes to finding friend, can be discouraging. But I can tell you from experience that once you get through the tough parts, Canada is a fabulous place to live. // En tant qu’enfant de diplomate, j’ai eu l’occasion de vraiment voir le monde. Vivre en Algérie, en Italie, au Vénézuela, en Corée du Sud, en Ukraine et aux Bahamas m’a appris que la diversité était un cadeau et non quelque chose à craindre. Et quand il s’agit de diversité, le Canada est un endroit spécial. Les grandes villes attirent un pourcentage élevé d’immigrants provenant des quatre coins du monde. Les natifs sont accueillants et gentils envers eux, la race, le sexe et d’autres formes de diversité sont acceptés et même célébrés. La relocalisation n’est jamais facile. Le stress du déménagement et la nécessité de repartir de zéro quand il s’agit de se faire des amis peuvent être décourageants. Mais je peux vous dire par expérience qu’une fois les moments difficiles traversés, le Canada est un pays fabuleux pour y vivre.