Doing Business in Canada


Canada is the second largest country in the world with six time zones, ten provinces and three territories. The capital city of Canada is Ottawa which is located in the province of Ontario. Canada has a population of just under 34 million and 90% live within 200km of the United States border. There are two official languages, English and French.

Canada ranks 4th in the world in regards to standard of living (measured according to GDP per capita, e.g. life expectancy, education) which contributes to ‘quality of life’. Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary are all within the top five most liveable cities according to the Economic Intelligence Unit (2010).

Strengths of the market

Canada is an important trade and investment partner for British companies of all sizes and across the spectrum of business activity. Canada is one of the world’s richest and most developed countries, ranking among the top ten industrial powers and is recognised as having one of the highest standards of living in the world. With the low inflation and positive economic growth, particularly given the recent global economic crisis, Canada offers good trade and investment opportunities for British companies in many sectors e.g. energy, food and drink, aerospace, biotechnology, financial services, defence & security and business services.

A recent study comparing business costs in Canada, Europe and the USA placed Canada ahead of other G8 countries across a broad range of business operating costs. Canada’s market economy has maintained a varied structure with both small companies and multinational companies. Natural resources remain a major factor, but the growth of hi-tech industries often involving small dynamic companies, is of increasing significance.

The proximity of the US market to much of Canada’s industrial activity (based largely in Ontario and Quebec) is of fundamental importance to Canada with 75% of Canadian exports going to the USA. This therefore offers UK companies NAFTA access to the US and Mexican market from Canada. There are also good opportunities for strategic business partnerships and technology transfers between UK and Canadian companies. The market remains receptive to British products and Canadian business are familiar with UK business practices.

Opportunities in Canada

As Canada is not only a natural resources rich country, there are many opportunities across most sectors of this developed and sophisticated market.

Sectors include:

  • Automotive

  • Energy and power

  • Creative and media

  • Aerospace

  • Pharmaceuticals

  • Organic chemicals

  • Healthcare

  • Mining

  • Advanced engineering

  • Information Technology

  • Biotechnology

  • Financial services

  • Defence and Security

  • Oil and related products, including environmental technologies.

Guide to Doing Business in Canada

International Market Advisor (IMA) in association with UKTI have designed a guide to provide you with a basic knowledge about the country, an explanation of the way businesses operate within the Kingdom and other useful information.

Doing Business in Canada

Sector Reports

For information on your sector in Canada including characteristics of the market, opportunities and key contacts, please check out the latest sector reports.

See all Sector Reports for Canada

Countries: Canada
Export Action Plan