Exporting to Canada

Canada is the second largest country in the world by area, and has a population of 37 million people (IMF, 2019). It’s politically stable with a strong record of economic growth. The UK has well-established trade links with Canada, and in the year up to March 2019 UK exports totalled £10.7 billion (ONS, 2019).

Close ties with the UK

Canada has a close trade relationship with the UK. Our ties are built on a long and proud history of working together. We are the only two countries to be members of the G7, the G20, the Commonwealth, Five Eyes and NATO.

Similar business practices

Canada has similar legal and business practices to the UK. In 2017, around 11,600 UK VAT-registered companies exported goods to Canada, worth around £4.8 billion in exports (HMRC, 2017).

Sophisticated market

Canada has a highly developed and competitive market. Its strong business and consumer base is sensitive to both price and quality. Bringing something new or different are often seen as the keys to success.

Ease of doing business

23rd

out of 190 countries (World Bank, 2019)

Currency

Canadian dollar

Business language

English, French

You may need a translator in the province of Québec

GDP per capita

$46,290

UK is $41,030 (IMF, 2019)

Economic Growth

1.9%

(IMF, 2019)

Time zone

GMT -5 (Ottawa)

Opportunities for exporters

There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in Canada have identified particular opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors.

Doing business in Canada

Preparing to export

The UK and Canada have signed a double taxation agreement, meaning the same income is not taxed twice.

The Canada Border Services Agency provides a step-by-step guide for importers of goods into the country, which will help you understand the requirements.

VAT

You can zero-rate the sale of your goods to Canada, provided you get and keep evidence of your export, and comply with all other laws.

You must also make sure the goods are exported, and you must get the evidence within 3 months from the time of sale.

Regulations

Some industry sectors are regulated in Canada. Find out more about the regulations and permits needed.

Operating in Canada

English common law is the basis for the law in 9 of Canada’s provinces and 3 of its territories. French civil law is the basis of the law in Québec.

Canada is a federal state. Your business in Canada will be subject to both federal and provincial or territorial laws. This can sometimes make doing business complicated for first-time exporters to the country.

Intellectual property

Trademarks, designs, patents and copyright are the principal forms of intellectual property (IP) in Canada. Find out about Canada’s IP laws.

As a first step, we advise you to speak to an intellectual property lawyer if you think you need patent protection when exporting.

Payment terms

You’re always advised to seek the most secure method of payment possible, such as payment in advance or a letter of credit.

Payment conditions must be factored into prices. For business-to-business transactions these can range from immediate payments on receipt of goods (often with a negotiated small discount) to a negotiated 60-day payment.

Language

Canada is a bilingual country. The official languages are English and French, but English is widely spoken outside of Québec province.

French is the business language in Québec under provincial law. You may need an interpreter for business meetings in Québec if you don’t speak French fluently.

You should include French and English translations on business cards in Québec.

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.