The United States and Canada are two very different countries. north america
However, they both value independence and action, and they are geared to highly-paced change. Achievement of personal goals, wealth and prestige are driving factors for them both. Canadians, however, are much more interested in substance and facts, and are serious of content and purpose. This is the French influence on them. Canadians view themselves as the ‘younger brother’ to the USA, but do NOT want to be mistaken for Americans. Canada is very multicultural with the immigrant population seeing themselves as Canadians first.

So far in this section you’ll find the  Top Ten Tips for doing business in the US and Canada, along with opening times, holiday dates and festivities.

United States of America

  1. The American style is competitive and even aggressive. To them it is more important to win and be seen as a winner, than to appear conciliatory.  Therefore match their style with a confident bearing, and be prepared to ‘cut to the chase’ without delay. This is the culture of  ‘time is money’.
  2. Although their style is aggressive and abrasive, it should not be taken personally.  Americans are paradoxically sensitive about personal abuse.  Also, they are uncomfortable with the use of emotion in negotiations.
  3. Their style is direct and to the point, with sustained eye contact.  They say what they mean and mean what they say.  Don’t think of them as Anglo-Saxon, but rather as out-going Americans.
  4. American deals are all about the bottom-line – profitability. And quick results.  They want a short pay-back time, and will take risks in line with that attitude.
  5. They will not hold on to declining fortunes.  They make quick decisions to go in … and to get out.
  6. They will want everything confirmed in writing – and every proposal, too.  Nothing is binding until both parties have signed their agreement.
  7. They are hot on detail, so contracts should be drawn up with a lawyer’s assistance.  Americans will insist on contracts being carried out as agreed.
  8. When they show irritation or even anger during negotiations, it is not personal but related only to the matter being discussed.
  9. They are embarrassed but unimpressed by signs of vulnerability in negotiations, just like the Germans.
  10. They believe in winning, so let your first offer contain enough room for manoeuvre, and expect a hard bargaining session.

Public Holidays:

January 1         New Year’s Day

January 20       Inauguration Day (1)

January 3         Martin Luther King Jr Day

February 3       Presidents’ Day/Washington’s Birthday

May                 Memorial Day (Last Monday)

July 4               Independence Day

September 1    Labour Day

October 2        Columbus Day

November       11 Veterans’ Day

November 4    Thanksgiving Day

December 25  Christmas Day

Weekend Saturday and Sunday

Business Hours 8.30/9.00 – 5.00/6.00

Non-holiday Observances or celebrations:

January 20       Inauguration Day occurs each 4th year starting from 1965

February 2       Groundhog Day

February 14     Valentine’s Day

March 17         St Patrick’s Day

April 1             April Fools’ Day

June 14            Army Day

April 22           Earth Day

April                Wednesday of last full week Administrative Professional’s Day

May 6 Nurses’ Day

May                 1st Thursday National Day of Prayer

May                 2nd Sunday Mothers’ Day

May                 3rd Saturday Armed Forces Day

June                 3rd Sunday Fathers’ Day

June 19            Liberation of Slaves

July                  4th Sunday Parents’ Day

August 1          Air Force Day

August 4          Coast Guard Day

August 1st Sunday Friendship Day

September       Sunday after Labour Day Grandparents’ Day

September 17 Citizenship Day or Constitution Day

October           2nd Sunday National Children’s Day

October 6        Bosses’ Day

October           3rd Saturday Sweetest Day

October 26      Mother-in-Law’s Day

October 27      Navy Day

October 31      Halloween

November 10 Marine Corps Day

December 7     Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

December 26-31 Kwanzaa


  1. Two different languages and two different cultural backgrounds; French and English. Business attitudes and behaviours differ between the Anglo-/Franco- parts of Canada.
  2. Business communication tends to be more formal in Ontario and Atlantic Canada than in Québec and the West.  When dealing with French Canadians have all documents translated into French.
  3. Eye contact and smiles are very important.
  4. Business is not so quick paced as in the US
  5. You need to be clear, concise, and thorough in all your business dealings
  6. You will be respected for logical, well-argued positions. The Canadians are very analytical.
  7. They drive a hard bargain, but are not as ‘aggressive’ as their US counterparts.
  8. US-style efficiency and effectiveness dominate business, but this is overridden by long-term gains, not short-term results.
  9. Don’t use first names unless invited to do so. Canadians are quite formal.
  10. Don’t assume Canadians are like those from the US!  They are more conservative, formal at the outset, and not such great risk takers

Public Holidays

January 1         New Year’s Day

March/April    Good Friday/Easter Sunday/Easter Monday

May 19            Victoria Day

July 1               Canada Day

August first Monday, Civic or Provincial holidays

September 1    Labour Day

October 13      Thanksgiving

November 11  Remembrance Day

December 25   Christmas Day

December 26   Boxing Day

Weekend Saturday, Sunday

Business Hours 10.00-6.00

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 19th, 2009 at 11:58 pm and is filed under General, North America, tips on doing business around the world . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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