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immigrant to Canada

As you are an immigrant to Canada, you will no doubt be thinking seriously about how you will integrate into Canadian life. One of the biggest challenges that I experienced as soon as I landed in Canada as a permanent resident is navigating the unspoken social rules of etiquette in Canada. This was true of my personal relationships as well as professional ones.

Social norms in Canada an immigrant to Canada

  • In general, Canadians are known to be polite, friendly and honest, but not too direct or blunt. This is especially true in the workplace. You may find this a little different to the workplace culture that you are used to but you will surprise yourself with how quickly you will get used to it. 
  • Make sure that you make a good first impression. This is especially important for job interviews in Canada.
  • Canadians respect privacy and really like their personal space. This is probably because there is so much space in Canada with such a small population. You should bear this in mind when you are talking to people. It doesn’t hurt to give people at least an arm’s length space during conversations.
  • Canadians will be more relaxed when talking to different generations as there are no formal or linguistic rules to observe when it comes to speaking to your elders or superiors.
  • Canadians believe in freedom of religion. However, this is considered a private matter usually and you will not find people being overly verbose about their views unless asked. If you feel comfortable feel free to ask polite questions. Most people are open to learning new things and sharing their knowledge.
  • When you meet someone for the first time, you should shake hands with them firmly.
  • Eye contact is important to show respect, sincerity, attention, and focus.
  • There is gender equality in social settings and business.
  • You can negotiate for a lot of things, usually more expensive items like TVs and cars. You should not expect to bargain in a smaller store. You should also feel comfortable negotiating your salary as an immigrant to Canada.
  • Punctuality is very important in Canada as it shows that you respect each other. Ideally, you should aim to be a few minutes early for most of your appointments.
  • Expressions and colloquialisms are used a lot in Canada, you should always ask if you don’t understand something that a person has said. The English language is full of surprises.

Top tips for negotiating your salary in Canada


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How to meet people

There are a number of ways that you can get involved with your new community as an immigrant to Canada, from volunteering to sports clubs. You can also meet people through meetup groups for newcomers on websites like and Eventbrite. This can be a great way to meet people if you are a little unsure of where to start. You don’t have to do this, but it is a great way to get settled into your new community and feel at home. Networking this way can be a very effective approach to find work in Canada and increase your chances of promotion.

Canadian manners

One thing that many Canadians pride themselves in is how polite they are. This is a wonderful quality that is really infectious. This extends itself far beyond the typical please and thank yous. You will find that even in professional settings all people are treated with great respect at all times. You should not use your phone while other people are speaking or if you are in a meeting.  If it is something urgent then you can excuse yourself but if you show others this respect they will return it in kind.

Learn more about how you can get settled in Canada by joining the Know Before You Go Webinar.  Get all the information you need about how to best go about preparing to land in Canada and what to do after you get here.