Doing business

Current business situation

The Canadian economy is growing at a slow pace, however, recession is unlikely, due to close ties with both the United States (US) and global commodity markets. Sectors such as agribusiness, life sciences, clean energy and technology are experiencing growth, while regions, such as Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and British Columbia (BC) lead the country in economic growth.

Business culture

Australians will find Canada a relatively easy market to do business in. Given the close cultural ties and business customs in Canada (with the exception of Quebec), which are similar to Australia. Canadians are relaxed and approachable in their business dealings but they do put a high importance on developing strong, long-term business relationships. Face-to-face meetings are important as they help build rapport, which will facilitate the discussions. Although officially a bilingual country, business in Canada is conducted in English outside of Quebec.

Overall, Canadians are open to doing business with Australians and Australian goods and services have a long history of market acceptance.

Setting up in Market

Canada is an attractive market for Australian companies to set up, not only for the opportunities in the Canadian market, but also for the access it provides to the US and Mexican markets under the Canada-US-Mexico free trade agreement.

The recent ratification of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which has Australia as one of the trading partners for Canada, will also provide enhanced market access for exporters and investors across both the countries.

For more information on how to set up a business in Canada please visit Canada’s International Gateway portal.

Information on trade and investment promotion with Canada can also be found at the Global Affairs Canada portal.

In addition to federal government agencies, provinces in Canada have their own economic development organizations, such as Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta.

Banking and finance

Canada has one of the strongest and most diversified financial sectors in the world. The World Economic Forum has ranked Canada’s banking systems as the soundest in the world for eight years in a row.

Since 2008, Toronto has emerged as the second largest financial centre in North America and ranks as a ‘Top Ten’ global financial centre. The Toronto Stock Exchange is the third largest equity exchange in North America, nineth largest in the world with a market capitalisation of $2.29 trillion (2018) and a global leader in mining, oil and gas and clean technology.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) provides advice for business travelers and tourists going to Canada . This is regularly updated, and should be checked before planning travel.

Links and resources

Government, business and trade

Canada Revenue Agency
Canadian Border Services Agency
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Export and Import Controls Bureau
Statistics Canada
Canadian Australian Chamber of Commerce (Toronto)
Canada Australia New Zealand Business Association (Vancouver)

News and media
The Globe and Mail
National Post Online
Calgary Herald
Montreal Gazette
Ottawa Citizen
Toronto Star
Vancouver Sun

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.