You’d expect a country dubbed the ‘start-up mecca to rival Silicon Valley’ to boast a wealthy, high-tech industrial society. And you’d be right!

Home to the growing business hubs of Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal — and Niagara Falls, ice hockey and maple syrup — Canada is now considered one of the world’s top 10 economies.

Canada has been progressing steadily for some time and was one of the few countries not affected by the 2008 financial crisis. This economic stability combined with a calm political landscape makes the nation particularly appealing to foreign investors searching for a reliable location to gain a foothold.

The country’s corporate traditions and customs will also be reassuringly familiar for UK and US-based businesses. Canada’s market-oriented system and production patterns mirror the US, while the country’s legal system is centred around British laws. English is also widely spoken across the country.

So, what are some of the key reasons to expand into Canada? And what are some of the challenges you’re likely to face along the way?

Weighing up the pros…

One of the obvious reasons for expanding into Canada is the relative ease of doing business there. Not only can you benefit from a low corporate tax rate of just 15%, but there are also various grants, loans and incentives available (including the Start-Up Visa Program for foreign business owners).

Compared to many other locations worldwide, the cost of operations is also relatively cheap. And Canada enjoys various trade agreements with other countries — including the US, Mexico and the EU. Plus, if you’re looking to hire Canadian workers, you’ll get to pick from a huge pool of highly educated (the most educated in the world, in fact) talent.

Clearly, the Great White North has plenty to offer ambitious companies with their sights set on global expansion.

… And the cons

 Employing in Canada isn’t always smooth sailing. As with any country, Canada has unique employment rules and customs. However, Canada is also a federal state, meaning labour laws are dictated by each province, and employee contracts will differ depending on where you decide to expand.

With ten provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Québec and Saskatchewan) and three territories (Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon) to choose from, things can get a little complicated.

Québec is often the outlier. For example, employers must take Canada Pension Plan (CPP) deductions from their employees’ pay in most provinces. But in Québec, employers deduct Québec Pension Plan (QPP) contributions instead (which are higher than those for CPP).

A pregnant employee in all other provinces is entitled to up to 17 weeks of maternity leave, and employees can take up to 63 weeks of unpaid parental leave after the child’s birth. In Québec, the allowance is 18 weeks and 65 weeks, respectively.

If you want to terminate a position in Québec, the notice period will vary depending on the length of the employee’s uninterrupted service. In the other provinces, employers must either provide the employee with at least two weeks’ written notice or pay the employee two weeks’ regular wages in lieu of notice.

And did you know that employees in Québec must be able to communicate in French? Or that everything — from contracts to employee handbooks — must be made available in French?

But although Québec is the exception to many labour laws, this isn’t always the case. In all provinces (including Québec), employees are entitled to at least two weeks of vacation per year. But not in Saskatchewan; employees are entitled to three weeks of leave per year there.

Confused yet?

Fortunately, a total employer services provider like TopSource Worldwide can help you employ in Canada — and get you well on the way to global expansion.

Our global payroll network provides compliant and consolidated payroll processing. We can manage the entire process for you through a single, centrally managed system, offering a fluid and consistent service to every employee.

As well as taking care of payroll, our employer of record (EOR) services also provide hassle-free management of your employees from start to finish — assisting with all aspects of your business, including HR, legal matters and employee benefits.

Thanks to our expertise in areas like employment contracts, visas and work permit applications; salary, commission and bonuses; sick pay, holiday entitlement and maternity/paternity leave, we’ll keep you on the right side of compliance.

Because when it comes to hiring the best people for the job, you don’t want to be limited by distance…

TopSource Worldwide enables you to hire and pay employees in any country around the world, regardless of whether you have an entity set up there. So, if you’re looking to expand into Canada or other markets, contact us to find out how we can support you with our employer of record and global payroll services.

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Published On: 08/10/21Last Updated: 14/09/22

About the Author: Sam Barnes

Sam is our Global Business Development Manager for Employer of Record services. For the last 10 years, he has assisted companies in the successful execution of their international expansion plans. Sam tells us “There’s something inherently exciting about growing a business into overseas jurisdictions. Each country does things slightly differently and it’s great to be able to share learnings on statutory requirements and cultural nuances”. Email: sam.barnes@topsourceworldwide.com

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