Tipping is expected
If you fail to tip this can be seen as quite rude and give the impression you did not enjoy your experience. 18% to 25% tip is normal in Canada for anywhere you receive service.
There are three topics of conversation to avoid
To avoid awkward conversations with people whom you do not know very well in Canada, it is wise not to talk about; sex, politics or religion.
When greeting – have a firm handshake
When you meet someone it is a good idea to have a firm handshake and make eye contact to show that you are genuine. Ensure the eye contact does not turn into a stare and that the firm handshake doesn’t become a bone crushing incident!
Good manners are appreciated
In general Canadians are very friendly and well-mannered people. Unlike many countries that believe in “saving face”, Canadians are always happy to say they are sorry for the sake of avoiding conflict.
Do not drink alcohol in public
This is actually prohibited by law in all of Canada.
Canada is proud of their nature
It is important to admire, and not disturb the local animals and plants. Animals are to be admired from afar and should never be fed. It’s also important not to collect any plant life as a respect to Canadian nature.
If you are invited to a home remember to bring a small gift
A tasteful gift from your home country is welcomed. Avoid giving white lilies as they are associated with death and funerals. Also red roses indicate a romantic gesture, so only give them if you have romantic intentions.
Do learn a little French
Quebec has a largely French speaking population and whilst they may know English as a second language – they will appreciate your efforts.
Do not assume that people are French Canadian if they can speak French
There are various French speaking cultures in Canada. There have different dialects and it is best not to refer to them as French Canadian or anything of that nature until they specify themselves.
The words “Indian” and “Eskimos” are not used
The word ‘Indian’ may be considered offensive and the same people are known as; First Nations, Aboriginal or Native People. The word ‘Inuit’ is used instead of Eskimos.
Remove your shoes at a Canadian home
You will be expected to do so in a majority of homes in Canada. If unsure, note if the host is wearing shoes or if there are other shoes sitting at the entrance to the home. If all else fails – just ask.
Gift giving is simple
Typical gifts such as wine, flowers, chocolate or stationery are acceptable gifts. It is always a good idea to bring gifts from home that represents your home country.