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Canadians on Canada

An insider’s guide to doing business with the True North

Concluding Thoughts

Ask a dozen Canadians their opinion of the key issues facing cross-border business partners, and you’ll get a dozen different answers.  It is not, however, a cliché—it is exactly what our survey found.  But as is often the case, major differences can be largely minor, while similarities go to the bone; with a little research and the guidance by experienced professionals, interacting with your Canadian counterparts can be remarkably trouble free. 

As Lemaire puts it, “All we want to do is sell fresh, good-for-you produce items to Canadians… how hard can it be?”

Our Survey

Here’s a look at the questions we asked our Canadian members to gather feedback on just what Americans need to know when working with a supplier from the True North. 

1. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “not at all” and 10 being “extremely,” how different do you believe the Canadian produce industry is from the U.S. produce industry (i.e., regulations, quality expectations, supply chain management, product labeling, etc.)?

2. What are a few of the differences and why do you think they exist?

3. For an American who has never done business with Canada, are there things he/she should know to ensure smooth business transactions?

4. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being “no impact” and 5 being “high impact,” have demographic changes in Canada impacted (a) your busy season (i.e., harvest times, holiday sales/promotions, etc.); (b) the commodities you handle; and (c) the types of accounts you buy or sell to?

5. For the trends you have observed in the previous question, does this impact your relationship with American businesses in any way?

6. What, if anything, do Americans need to know about the differences between provinces?

Spam Crackdown—Canadian Style

Nobody likes spam—and no, we’re not talking about the canned delicacy.  But getting spam emails in Canada is a whole different ballgame than in other countries.  If recent legislation is any indication, Canadians are particularly picky about what ends up in their electronic inboxes.  Bill C-28, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation, passed in 2010 and in force in 2013—has pretty sharp teeth—significantly more so than the American equivalent, the CAN-SPAM Act. 

Intended to fight off the most dangerous aspects of spam email, such as the distribution of viruses and malware, and the proliferation of fraud and so-called “phishing” scams, Bill C-28 also mandates that any email marketing lists must be opted into with the permission of the recipient, and features strict definitions of what constitutes commercial electronic mail.  It also extends to ‘wireless spam’—messages of a similar nature sent over cell phones—and can result in substantial fines and penalties for those who violate the law. Patterned after an existing Australian law, Bill C-28 is expected to produce a considerable reduction in harmful spam within a few years.