Work Culture Differences In Canada Versus The United States

Exploring Work Culture Differences in Canada vs. United States

A Comparative Analysis of Work Culture in Canada and the United States

 Canada and the US share the world’s longest undefended border, have highly integrated economies, and have very similar cultures. However, our cultures aren’t identical and that extends to the workplace. The differences between Canadian work culture vs US work culture are subtle but big enough to cause friction if employers and employees expect things to work just like they’re used to.  

Many US companies rely on Employer of Record providers to help them navigate the differences between US and Canadian law, but they can also help you better understand Canadian work culture!  

In this blog, we’ll go over the differences between work culture in Canada vs USA.  

The Main Differences In Work Culture  

The differences between Canadian business culture vs American business culture are mostly subtle. Some are a result of Canada’s more complex and restrictive employment law or its social safety net, and others are a result of our different cultural expectations.   

  • Communication: Sometimes stereotypes hold true! One of the biggest differences between working in Canada vs the USA is that Canadians favour a polite, subdued communication style and consensus building. Team play is more likely to get you ahead than being a star.  
  • More Breaks: Americans are known to be workaholics and while Canadians are just as dedicated to their work, they take more breaks and are more likely to completely tune out after their workday. This is partly due to Canadian employment law, which sets out mandatory breaks for all employees, but also because Canadians are less likely to identify as their job. Canadians are generally entitled to 15-minute paid breaks every four hours.  

Beyond that, there are many subtle differences in Canadian and American work culture that aren’t immediately apparent.  

Why It’s Important To Understand Work Culture Differences  

Understanding the work environment in Canada will keep you, and your employees, from being blindsided by divergent expectations. From major to minor, the differences in work culture and employment law can have a tremendous impact on how your team functions, your ability to stay compliant, and how easy it is to set your Canadian employees up for success. For example, misunderstanding the role of progressive discipline in Canadian work culture can create friction between managers and employees, and even to legal issues.  

Beyond the law, knowing a bit about each other helps people work together better. Canada is a well-educated, diverse, and multi-lingual country with a workforce that’s used to working remotely with international teams. And we believe that Canada is your secret weapon in the war for talent… if you do your homework about hiring in Canada. Organizations that understand and value what their unique members bring to the table are stronger, more resilient, and more knowledgeable.  

Work With Canadian Payroll Services  

Canadian Payroll Services specializes in helping US companies expand their teams in Canada. We hire your remote Canadian workers and then lease them back to you to direct so that you can hire without opening a local subsidiary. In addition to keeping you compliant and delivering timely payroll, we can help you navigate the difficulties of doing business in Canada’s culture with on-call support. Our HR Account Managers and Certified Payroll Administrators provide dedicated support to you and your remote workers, throughout the employee life cycle, including compliance services, updates on changes in employment law, and advice throughout the recruiting and negotiation process.  

Don’t be blindsided by differences in Canadian and American work culture. Work with Canadian Payroll Services to hire compliantly in Canada!  

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