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What you need to know about doing business in Canada

As the world begins to re-open for business, with trade agreements being negotiated and travel corridors starting to open, it’s been well publicised that trade with overseas markets is vital for the UK to bounce back from the economic impact of the pandemic.

While it can be daunting to enter a new market, businesses which are agile, brave and explore opportunities will likely be the ones who experience growth as the UK continues on the road to recovery.

At Irwin Mitchell we are hosting a series of international ‘Doing Business In…’ webinars and podcasts to support UK businesses which are looking to import, export and or expand into overseas territories.

The most recent of these, a webinar exploring opportunities in Canada and its combined GDP of US$50 trillion, our experts discussed the realities of what you might expect from a future business relationship between Canada and the UK, and the legal and tax legislation businesses need to be aware of. We were joined by an impressive panel of experts from Canadian law firm Therrien Couture Joli-Cœur LLP, the UK Department for International Trade, and Invest Quebec International.  

With a trade agreement signed at the end of 2020, and the similarities of business culture in both countries, UK businesses may see Canada as  an attractive proposition. However Canada’s business landscape is complex. For example  there’s the dual language of English/French to consideras well as  Canada being  bijural - meaning it has both common and civil law systems in place. In Canada, the law can seem baffling unless you get the right advice and advisors involved at the start.

Despite the complexity, which can sound daunting, numerous economic reports state the Canadian economy is expected to rebound strongly, which is reassuring if you are considering investment. The sectors which are anticipated to offer significant foreign investment and excellent business opportunities are IT, financial services, FinTech, electric and smart transportation, clean technology, innovative manufacturing, transportation and logistics. Alongside competitive incentives and tailored government support available there are many reasons to consider Canada in your business strategy if you haven’t already.

Following the recent podcast, here are some useful conclusions and insights courtesy of Therrien Couture Joli-Cœur LLP:

  • Canada is a modern and stable country with similar values to those of the UK.
  • The Canadian legal system and landscape are also similar in many ways to the UK ones.
  • It is however essential to take not only a global Canadian approach but a provincial one, when thinking of expanding one’s business in Canada, since it’s a large country.
  • Financial programs and incentives may be available and should closely be looked at, amongst other important factors such as the intended targeted markets, available local expertise, availability and location of personnel or suppliers to one’s particular industry, etc.

The recording of the webinar can be viewed here, and if you are interested in how Irwin Mitchell, Therrien Couture Joli-Cœur LLP, the UK Department for International Trade, and Invest Quebec International can support your global expansion plans please get in touch.