Visiting

Visiting

Canada does allow the temporary import-free of duty and tax of certain commercial goods and equipment (brochures, commercial samples, audio-visual equipment and industrial equipment) for business meetings and trade shows. If the goods are eligible for free entry, they may need to be documented on Form E29B, Temporary Admission Permit, and a refundable security deposit may be required. An A.T.A. Carnet is an alternative to Form E29B and eliminates the need to post a security deposit at the time of importation.

Further information is available from the Canada Border Services Agency.

Business hours

Business hours across Canada are generally from 8:30am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday with lunch between 12:00pm and 2:00pm. Canadians conduct business over lunch and dinner with dinner meetings usually starting from 6:30-7:00pm. Banks are usually open from 10:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday. In larger centres, banks are often open later as well as on Saturdays. Shops are generally open Monday to Saturday with late shopping on Thursday and Friday nights. Shops are increasingly open on Sundays in major centres and some supermarkets, convenience stores and fast food restaurants operate 24 hours a day.

Public holidays

Public holidays in Canada, known as ‘statutory holidays’ or ‘stats’, are legislated at the federal, provincial and territorial levels. Many of these holidays are observed nationally, but each province and territory has its own holidays as well.

The major holidays are:

January 1 – New Year's Day
Good Friday
3rd Monday in May  – Victoria Day
July 1 – Canada Day
1st Monday in August - Province/Civic Day
1st Monday in September – Labour Day
2nd Monday in October – Thanksgiving Day
November 11 – Remembrance Day (except in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario)
December 25 – Christmas Day
December 26 – Boxing Day

Find out more about Canadian public holidays.

Climate

As the second largest country in the world, the weather across Canada can vary widely. Canadians enjoy four distinct seasons with generally mild springs; hot summers; cool, crisp autumns and cold, snowy winters. Spring arrives early May in most parts of the country, with summer beginning in late June. The hottest months are July and August where temperatures can exceed 30 Celsius. Fall arrives in September and lasts until late October. Winter comes to most parts of Canada in November and last until March with temperatures ranging from highs of 0 Celsius and lows near -20 Celsius.

While the best time of the year to travel to Canada is May through October when there is little likelihood of weather-related delays, Canadians are always impressed when visitors come during the winter months.

For weather details in Canada, please visit the World Meteorological Organization.

Currency

Oanda currency converter

The official currency in Canada is the Canadian dollar (C$ or CAD). It is a decimal based currency with 100 cents (¢) in a dollar. There are 5¢ (nickel), 10¢ (dime) and 25¢ (quarter) coins as well as $1 and $2 dollar coins referred to as ‘loonie’ and ‘toonie’ respectively. The (polymer) bank notes come in different colours with the most commonly circulated bills the $5 (blue), $10 (purple), $20 (green), $50 (red) and $100 (brown).

Money can be easily changed at any recognised financial institution, bank, trust company or currency exchange in Canada. Many major stores, hotels and restaurants will also exchange currency, but often offer a lower exchange rate than a financial institution. Credit cards – Visa, MasterCard and Amex – are widely accepted while travellers’ cheques are increasingly less so.

Banks

Canada has one of the safest banking systems in the world. It is dominated by the ‘Big Five’ – Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Toronto Dominion Bank (TD), Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS), Bank of Montreal (BMO) and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). These banks have over 6000 branches across Canada and over 18,000 ATMs (automated teller machines). Canada has the highest number of ATMs per capita in the world and benefits from the highest penetration levels of electronic banking – debit cards, internet banking and telephone banking.

In addition to the major banks, Canada has a strong co-operative financial services sector, which consists of credit unions (caisses populaires in Quebec). Canada has the world's highest per capita membership in the credit union movement, with over 10 million members. The credit unions are particularly strong in Quebec and Western Canada.

Time zones and time differences

Canada has six time zones with Newfoundland Standard Time 4 ½ hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time. Daylight Saving Time is in effect in Canada (except Saskatchewan) from the second Sunday of March to the first Sunday of November.

Selected cities in Canada are behind Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST).

City           Standard Time Daylight Savings Time
 Vancouver           19 17
Calgary            18 16
Toronto/Ottawa/Montreal           16 14

 

To find out the current time in Canada, view the World Clock.

Dialling codes

Canada's country code is 1.

For calls to Canada from Australia dial: 0011 + 1 + area code + telephone number.

For calls from Canada to Australia dial: 011 + 61 + area code + telephone number.

For further information (e.g. area codes) please visit the White Pages - international dialling codes.

Electricity and water

Electrical sockets (outlets) in Canada usually supply electricity at between 110 and 120 volts AC with two pin flat prong plug fittings (or three pin with one round and two flat prongs) and screw type lamp sockets. Adapters and transformers are available for appliances using other voltages.

Given Canada has one-fifth of the world’s freshwater, tap water in Canada is safe to drink.

Links and resources

Travel and tourism

Destination Canada

Please note: This list of websites and resources is not definitive. Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement by Austrade. The information provided is a guide only. The content is for information and carries no warranty; as such, the addressee must exercise their own discretion in its use. Australia’s anti-bribery laws apply overseas and Austrade will not provide business related services to any party who breaches the law and will report credible evidence of any breach. For further information, please see foreign bribery information and awareness pack.