Canadian Culture

Do's and Don'ts

Do’s

  • Follow through on your word if you offer to do something. 
  • Respect the nature of their country and be culturally sensitive during communication.
  • Be aware that communication is slightly more formal in Canada than it is in Australia (i.e. swearing is less appropriate). Try to broach subjects and conversation appropriately with this in mind. 
  • If you do something inappropriate, it can be good to point out your own social indiscretions and apologise for them before another person brings them up or the opportunity passes. This varies depending on the situation, but Canadians are generally open to forgiving those who acknowledge their mistakes. 
  • Ideally, be yourself whilst keeping a calm, low-key and lighthearted attitude toward things.

 

Don'ts

  • Do not boast or make ostentatious comments that give the impression you see yourself as superior to others. Canadians generally find this contrived and obnoxious.
  • Avoid confusing Canadians with those from the USA. Some Canadians perceive themselves as being humbler and less gregarious than those in the USA and may see it as a negative comparison. It is best ask people with a North American accent whether they are from Canada first and be corrected from there. 
  • Avoid public displays of anger or other emotions that could cause a social distraction. Canadians generally avoid raising their voices or crying in public. 
  • Avoid becoming overly combative or argumentative about contentious topics. If you wish to discuss controversial topics, approach the conversation with calmness and openness. A Canadian is more likely to engage with you if you remain respectful and intellectually-informed about the subject, as opposed to emotionally charged.
  • Do not refer to Indigenous people of Canada as “Natives" or "Indians”. These terms are now widely considered offensive. “First Nations”, “Indigenous” or “Aboriginal” are more appropriate descriptors. 

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