Manners & Etiquette

Manners & Etiquette

Canadians are quite polite with many holding strong conventions related to social etiquette.
They are friendly people with good manners and if you are planning on moving to Canada it would be better for you to be acquainted with their values and principles in order to assimilate better into Canadian society.

Dressing up

If you are planning to join a corporate firm, you shall be expected to wear ‘business casual’. While most men have done away with ties and jackets, these are still work in formal or high-ranking business settings.

Social Roles

Individualism rules the roost in Canada with most Canadians disliking conformity of any kind. It is more of an egalitarian society with outspoken, independent children, and the same is followed at the workplace with not much emphasis laid on hierarchy. Older people are accorded respect and those with obvious disabilities are shown compassion, ordinarily.

Time

Punctuality is revered in Canada. If you are told you have to be at a certain place at 5, you should try and reach the stipulated hour. Do not be late or early. Early is presumptuous and late is rude.
Canadians also do not prefer to be telephoned very early in the morning or very late in the night.

Social Customs

  1. If you meet someone for the first time, shake hands and introduce yourself. Sometimes, you may have to shake hands before parting too. Not shaking hands once someone has already extended their hand is considered quite rude.
  2. Among close friends, you may see short hugs – though they are more common in women.
  3. Kissing is for family or lovers. Keep your lips to yourself in all other social situations!

Tipping

As in the US, tipping is very much expected at almost all fine-dining or ‘sit-down’ style restaurants. The bare minimum is 15 percent of the total bill, though you may add more for exceptionally good service.
Not tipping is considered rude. In fact, almost all service staff personnel, like taxi drivers, pizza delivery men, hairdressers, etc. expect to be tipped once the service has been rendered.
All of us know that it is polite to say the magic word ‘please’ when you are asking someone for help. There are, however, a few things that you should avoid doing as a rule if you want to be considered well-mannered and polite in Canadian society.

What to Avoid

  1. Do not raise your middle finger. It is considered quite obscene.
  2. Avoid asking anyone questions related to wealth, weight, or age.
  3. Do not spit in public.
  4. Do not wave or yell for a waiter or server. Wait till they make eye contact and then either nod or raise your hand. Else, you can softly say ‘excuse me’ when they are near you.
  5. Do not clear your throat loudly. It is considered ill-mannered.
  6. While common in casual settings, placing your elbows on the table in formal situations is not acceptable.
  7. This is something everything should avoid doing, wherever they are in the entire world – speaking with food in your mouth! So gross!
  8. Don’t yawn widely without covering your mouth with your hand
  9. Do not point or stare at people.
  10. Avoid public nudity – it is disliked by almost everyone here.

Visiting etiquette

You should not arrive at anyone’s house without arranging a visit with them beforehand.
In case you are late, call your hosts up and inform them.
Always ask if you should remove your shoes before you enter someone’s home.
If you have been invited over for a meal and your host asks if you’d like more, you can accept or decline as per your wish. Do offer to help with the clean-up once the meal is over with.
Conversational Issues 

  1. Avoid discussing politics with Canadians. They consider it a private matter and keep their voting preferences hidden. Also, you can keep your opinions related to controversial topics like taxes, justice, drugs, homosexuality, etc. to yourself.
  2. Do not go around speaking about explicit sexual matters. Canadians take sexual harassment very seriously and any such conversation that makes your co-workers uncomfortable should be avoided completely. Sex is considered a private matter and you would not find them discussing their sexual likes or dislikes in public.
  3. The same goes for religion, which is rarely discussed publicly in Canada. While they do associate with a religion, they prefer not to talk about it or preach about religious beliefs.

All the information given above is just a general view of the basic manners and etiquette followed in Canada. However, one must keep in mind that not all Canadians are going to follow these to a T. After all, not everyone is a decent, well-mannered person and you may meet many people here who steer well away from the personable path.

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