Friday, November 20, 2009

Political, Legal, and Regulatory Environments

Assignment 5:
Political, Legal, and Regulatory Environments

Political Culture of Canada

Canadian political culture exists as part of a greater North American and European political culture, which ultimately emphasizes constitutional law, freedom of religion, personal liberty, and regional autonomy. Essentially, these ideals upon which Canadian political culture is founded stem in various degrees from sources including the British common law and French civil law traditions, North American aboriginal government, and English civic traditions, among others.
Peace, order, and good government are the stated goals of the Canadian government. These words reveal much about the history of Canadian political culture. There is a strong tradition of loyalty, compromise and tolerance in Canadian political culture. In general, Canadian politics have not operated through revolutionary, swift changes. Instead, change is typically slow and worked out through compromise between interest groups, regional consultations, and the government of the day.
Canada also has a recent tradition of liberalism. Individual rights have risen to the forefront of political and legal importance for most Canadians, as demonstrated through support for the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a relatively free economy, and liberal attitudes toward homosexuality, women's rights, and other egalitarian movements. However, there is also a sense of collective responsibility in Canadian political culture, as is demonstrated in general support for universal health care, gun control, foreign aid, and other social programs.

National Unity

National unity has been a major issue in Canada since the forced union of the Canadas in 1840.
Federal-provincial relations is a regular issue in Canadian politics: Quebec wishes to preserve and strengthen its distinctive nature, western provinces desire more control over their abundant natural resources, especially energy reserves; industrialized Central Canada is concerned with its manufacturing base, and the Atlantic provinces strive to escape from being less affluent than the rest of the country.
The predominant and lingering issue concerning Canadian national unity has been the ongoing conflict between the French-speaking majority in Quebec and the English-speaking majority in the rest of Canada. Quebec's continued demands for recognition of its "distinct society" through special political status has led to attempts for constitutional reform.
Western alienation is another national-unity-related concept that enters into Canadian politics. Residents of the four western provinces, particularly Alberta, have often been unhappy with a lack of influence and a perceived lack of understanding when residents of Central Canada consider "national" issues.

Political Conditions

Canada is considered by most sources to be a very stable democracy. In 2006 The Economist ranked Canada the third most democratic nation in its Democracy Index, ahead of all other nations in the Americas and ahead of every nation more populous than itself.
The Liberal Party of Canada, under the leadership of Paul Martin, won a minority victory in the June 2004 general elections. In December 2003, Martin had succeeded fellow Liberal Jean Chrétien, who had, in 2000, become the first Prime Minister to lead three consecutive majority governments since 1945.
Except for three short-lived transitional or minority governments, prime ministers from Quebec led Canada continuously from 1968 to early 2006. Quebecers led both Liberal and Conservative governments in this period.
Monarchs, Governors General, and Prime Ministers are now expected to be at least functional, if not fluent, in both English and French. In selecting leaders, political parties give preference to candidates who are fluently bilingual.

Canada’s Governing structure can be described as a parliamentary democracy, a federation, and a Commonwealth realm.
The politics of Canada function within a framework of constitutional monarchy and a federal system of parliamentary government with strong democratic traditions. Many of the country's legislative practices derive from the unwritten conventions of and precedents set by the United Kingdom's Westminster Parliament.

Canada's governmental structure was originally established by the British parliament through the British North America Act (now known as the Constitution Act, 1867), but the federal model and division of powers were devised by Canadian politicians.
In 1931, the British Parliament passed the Statute of Westminster, giving legal recognition to the autonomy of Canada and other Dominions. Following this, Canadian politicians were unable to obtain consensus on a process for amending the constitution until 1982, meaning amendments to Canada's constitution continued to require the approval of the British parliament until that date.
Similarly, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in Britain continued to make the final decision on criminal appeals until 1933 and on civil appeals until 1949.

Federal-Provincial Relations

In Canada, the provinces are considered co-sovereign; sovereignty of the provinces is passed on, not by the Governor General or the Canadian parliament, but through the Crown itself. This means that the Crown is "divided" into eleven legal jurisdictions; into eleven "Crowns" - one federal and ten provincial.
Canada is a federation, with a parliamentary system of government. Being a federation means that powers and responsibilities are divided between the federal government and the 10 provincial governments. Canada also has three territorial jurisdictions. Canada has three levels of government: federal, provincial, and municipal (cities and towns). These governments are elected by the citizens of Canada.

Federal government (Government of Canada)

The federal government is responsible for:

  • defense;
  • foreign policy and foreign relations;
  • banking; the postal service;
  • criminal law;
  • immigration;
  • and citizenship.

Provincial Governments

Provincial governments are responsible for:

  • education; and
  • municipal institutions.

They also share responsibility with the federal government for:

  • health services;
  • farming;
  • social assistance;
  • transportation; and
  • the environment.

Territorial governments

The Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut are not sovereign units. They get their powers from the federal parliament, but they have elected assemblies that follow many of the same practices as the provincial governments.

Municipal governments

Municipal governments have functions delegated to them by other levels of government. They are responsible for local matters and services. These include:

  • police and fire protection;
  • water and sewer services;
  • recreation; and
  • local public transportation.
Summary of Governmental Organization of Canada
Type of government: Westminster style federal parliamentary democracy within a constitutional monarchy.
  • Capital: Ottawa, Ontario.
  • Administrative divisions: Ten provinces and three territories*: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories*, Nova Scotia, Nunavut*, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Yukon*.
  • National holiday: Canada Day, July 1.
  • Constitution: Westminster system, based on unwritten conventions and written legislation.
  • Legal system: English common law for all matters within federal jurisdiction and in all provinces and territories except Quebec, which is based on the civil law, based on the Custom of Paris in pre-revolutionary France as set out in the Civil Code of Quebec; accepts compulsory International Court of Justice jurisdiction, with reservations.
  • Suffrage: Citizens aged 18 years or older. Only two adult citizens in Canada cannot vote: the Chief Electoral Officer, and the Deputy Chief Electoral Officer. The Governor General is eligible to vote, but abstains due to constitutional convention.
  • Monarchy

    • Head of state: Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada (since February 6, 1952).
    • Viceroy: Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada (since September 27, 2005).

    Executive Power

    • Head of government: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (since February 6, 2006).
    • Cabinet: Ministers (usually around thirty) chosen by the Prime Minister and appointed by the Governor General to lead various ministries and agencies, generally with regional representation.
    • Elections: The monarchy is hereditary. The Governor General is appointed by the monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister for a non-specific term, though it is traditionally approximately five years. Following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party in the House of Commons is usually designated by the Governor General to become Prime Minister.

    Legislative Power

    The bicameral Parliament of Canada consists of three parts: the monarch, the Senate, and the House of Commons.

    Currently, the Senate, frequently described as providing "regional" representation, has 105 members appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister to serve until age 75.

    The House of Commons currently has 308 members elected in single-member districts in a plurality voting system.

    Judiciary Power

    The highest court in Canada is the Supreme Court of Canada and is the final court of appeal in the Canadian justice system. The court is composed of nine judges: eight Puisne Justices and the Chief Justice of Canada. Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada are appointed by the Governor-in-Council.

    Also, by law, members of the bar, or superior judge of Quebec, must hold three of the nine positions on the Supreme Court of Canada. This representation makes sure that at least three judges have sufficient experience with the civil law system to treat cases involving Quebec laws.

    Regulatory Process

    The Government of Canada Regulatory Policy

    The key policy governing regulation in Canada is the Cabinet Directive on Streamlining Regulation (CDSR) that came into effect on April 1, 2007.

    The objective of the Cabinet Directive is to ensure that use of the government's regulatory power results in the greatest net benefit to Canadian society.

    The CDSR applies to federal departments and agencies with regulatory authority. For example, within a department's legislation, a Minister may be granted legislative authority to make regulations in certain areas.

    Canadians view health, safety, the quality of the environment, and economic and social well being as important concerns. Ensuring that government funds are spent wisely is in the public interest. The government will weigh the benefits of making regulations against their cost, and focus resources where they can do the most good.

    The federal government is committed to working in partnership with industry, labor, interest groups, professional organizations, other governments, and citizens, and will maintain its responsibility to serve the public interest.

    Saturday, November 14, 2009

    Customs and Etiquette in Canada - Business Ettiquette and Protocol

    Customs and Etiquette in Canada:
    Business Ettiquette and Protocol
    Meeting and Greeting

    The most common greeting is the handshake. It should be firm and accompanied by direct eye contact and a sincere smile.

    A firm handshake is the usual contact when first meeting a business associate. Both men and women greet with a handshake, although women may acknowledge you with a nod of the head rather than a handshake.
    Shaking hands is also common for first meetings in social situations. Men and women often embrace and kiss lightly on the cheek when meeting if they are related or good friends. Men may formally embrace old friends or family.
    In Quebec, friends or acquaintances will kiss on both cheeks when meeting and leaving. This happens between female friends and between men and women, but not between male friends.
    Wait until invited before using someone's first name although Canadians tend to move to a first-name basis rapidly.
    Canadian businesspeople often begin relationships in a reserved manner; once people get to know one another it becomes friendly and informal.
    Canadians appreciate politeness and expect others to adhere to the proper protocol for any given situation.
    • Shake hands with everyone at the meeting upon arrival and departure.
    • Maintain eye contact while shaking hands.
    • Men may offer their hand to a woman without waiting for her to extend hers first.
    • Honorific titles and surnames are usually not used.
    • However, academic titles are important in Quebec and are used with the honorific Monsieur or Madame.
    • Business cards are exchanged after the initial introduction.
    • In Quebec, have one side of your business card translated into French. Hand the card so the French side faces the recipient.
    • Examine any card you receive before putting it in your card case.


    Introduce people in business based on rank not gender.

    In Canada, a person's authority is related to his or her position and responsibility. Women occupy the same range of positions as men and have the same kinds of authority. People do not have authority just because of their name, status, social class or sex.

    Customs and Protocol

    Canadian businesspeople are conservative in manner, speech, and dress. Business customs are similar to those in the U.S. or the U.K., but etiquette is very important. Excessive body contact, gestures in greeting, or loud conversation generally are frowned upon. To ease the way into Canadian favor, always be punctual for meetings and appointments; use titles in all correspondence; and take letters of introduction when meeting someone for the first time.


    Businesspeople negotiating with Canadians should be well informed and knowledgeable about the details of their proposals. Thoroughness is appreciated and directness is also valued. Evasive answers are not viewed positively by Canadians. It is important for all businesspeople to avoid exaggerating the strengths of their company or the benefits of their product. Business Women

    Women have earned high regard in business and government in Canada. While some sexism and subtle barriers still exist, women are found in powerful positions in all walks of life. Visiting female executives can expect to be taken seriously. Likewise, Canadian women receive respect from their Canadian male colleagues, and will expect the same from foreigners.

    Business Meetings

    Canadians begin meetings with a minimal amount of small talk although one should expect to spend a few minutes exchanging pleasantries and the like. In Quebec there may be more time spent on relationship-building.

    Meetings are generally well-organized and adhere to time schedules. They tend to be informal and relaxed in manner even if the subjects being discussed are serious. When meeting with Anglophones, meetings may seem more democratic as all participants will engage and contribute. Meetings with Francophones, due to a greater respect for hierarchy and position, may revolve more around the most senior attendees.

    Meetings in Canadian companies are used to review proposals, make plans, brain-storm and communicate decisions. Attendees will generally represent a variety of levels and experiences; all are expected to express opinions.

    When presenting information, it is important to have facts and figures to substantiate claims and promises. Canadians are essentially rational and logical and thus they will not be convinced by emotions, passion or feelings.

    More Tips

    Behavior to consider for business transactions and life in general:

    • Eye contact is important when conducting business and should be held while speaking to someone. Lack of direct eye contact signifies boredom or disinterest.
    • There is little casual touching during conversation and most people will stand approximately half a meter apart when speaking.
    • People stand in line when waiting for the bus, to buy tickets, at the store or bank. It is considered very rude to jump the line or go ahead of someone who was there before you.
    • Smoking is not allowed in offices, most restaurants, and even bars (with the exception of Quebec). When out in a public space, ask your companion before lighting up. If visiting people in their home, always ask for permission to smoke.
    • Be on time. Canadians will not wait more than 10 to 15 minutes for someone who has arranged to meet them for business. Your supervisors and co-workers will be angry if you are always late for work. For social invitations, people expect that you will arrive within approximately half an hour of the stated time. If you are going to be late, phone and advise the person expecting you.
    • People usually set up meetings or arrange visits. It is not common to just arrive without an invitation.
    • Be approachable and accessible. Return phone calls and be polite and friendly in hallways.
    • Honor commitments. Do what you say you will do.
    • Be punctual for meetings and appointments, as promptness is valued. In French areas, time is more relaxed. However, you will be expected to arrive at the appointed time, even if the French attending the meeting don't.
    • Always maintain a reserved demeanor, and follow good rules of etiquette. Traditions and gracious manners are part of the culture, even in more rural areas. If travelling to different cities or areas, pay attention to local customs. By being observant, you will respect the pace and nuances of each area.
    • Do not eat while walking in public. Plan your time so you can stop in a café or restaurant to enjoy your snack.
    • Gifts are not routinely given. If you do give a gift when you arrive or when you are leaving, make it a modest one. A lavish gift, though accepted, would be frowned upon.
    • Gifts are given to celebrate finalizing a negotiation, a contract, or a project. Gifts for the office, a nice bottle of wine or liquor would be appropriate.
    • Taking a business associate to a nice meal or an evening sporting event, play, or symphony is always a nice gesture.
    • Invitations to private homes are rare. Occasionally, in the western provinces, you may be invited to someone's home. If you are invited, you may take candy, flowers, or liquor to the host or hostess.
    • Wait for your host to start a business conversation during or following a meal.
    • Traditionally, business is not discussed during dinner; however, this is slowly changing.
    • Personal space and body movement or gestures differ between the English and the French provinces and cities. In English areas, body movement is minimal, there is rarely touching other than handshakes, and personal space - how close someone stands - is about two feet.
    • In French areas, people stand closer together, people will frequently touch, and gestures are more expressive.

    Canadian Society and Culture

    Canadian Society and Culture
    Canadians are overall a polite people, and slightly more reserved than their southern neighbors. The values of the country are largely respect, peace, and good government.

    Cultural Diversity: Multiculturalism

    Canada is culturally diverse. In other words, Canada is populated by people who have come from every part of the world. This goes back to the 1890s when it began inviting people from all over the world to settle in the country to help it develop and grow. The heritage of Canada was French and English; however, significant immigration from Asia and Europe's non-French and English countries has broadened Canada's cultural richness.

    The western frontier was "opened" in 1885 when the Canadian transcontinental railroad completed its peaceful construction process. The railroad offered cheap land so immigrants moved in communities establishing towns with citizens from the same European country. These settlements, along with the Inuit communities, give Canada cultural diversity across its nation. Canadian immigration policy was historically open, welcoming and egalitarian in its philosophy. This has also manifest into the psyche of the nation where people are encouraged to retain their cultural identities, traditions, languages and customs.

    This cultural diversity is considered a national asset, and the Constitution Act prohibits discrimination against individual citizens on the basis of race, color, religion, or sex.
    Through the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, the government encourages Canadians to take pride in their language, religion and heritage and to keep their customs and traditions, as long as they don’t break Canadian laws.

    Language in Canada: Bilingualism

    A multitude of languages are spoken in Canada. According to the 2006 census, English and French are the preferred language ("home language", or language spoken most often in the home) of 67.1% and 21.5% of the population, respectively. English and French are recognized by the Constitution of Canada as "official languages," which means that all laws of the federal government are enacted in both English and French and that federal government services are required to be available in both languages.

    Under the Official Languages Act, Canada is an officially bilingual country. This means that Canadians have the right to get federal government services in English or French, no matter what part of Canada they are living in.

    New Brunswick is the only province that is officially bilingual. New Brunswick residents receive services in both official languages from all of their provincial government departments and agencies.
    In Quebec, French is the official language and in most cases, provincial and municipal services are provided in French.

    In the other provinces and territories, English is the official language, and the availability of provincial services in both official languages varies.

    At the municipal level, the availability of services in both official languages varies greatly.

    Although the predominant language in Canada is English, there are at least three varieties of French that are recognized: Quebecois in Quebec, Franco-Manitoban throughout Manitoba and particularly in the St. Boniface area of Winnipeg, and Acadian. The Italian language is a strong third due to a great influx of Italian immigrants following W.W.II.

    The five most widely-spoken non-official languages are Chinese (the home language of 2.6% of Canadians), Punjabi (0.8%), Spanish (0.7%), Italian (0.6%), and Arabic (0.5%).


    Canadians are generally a tolerant, polite, and extremely community-oriented people. Although they are individualistic in terms of their basic cultural traits, they nevertheless place a great deal of emphasis on the individual's responsibility to the community. This is seen as giving balance and a good quality of life.


    Most Canadians have a strong allegiance to their province or region, sometimes more so than to the country. There are some broad differences between regions, which can generally be summed up as follows:

    Atlantic Provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland): The people are somewhat reserved and provincial, to the point that they are seen as old-fashioned.

    Ontario: This is the business hub and the people tend to be business-like and conservative.

    Western Canada (Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan): The people are open, friendly and relaxed.

    British Colombia: The people are less conventional. This province is often viewed as the Canada of the future.

    Quebec: The French region has a distinct cultural identity. The people are extremely independent. Quebec, because it is a French province, has a very different value system from the rest of Canada, with its predominately English influence.

    North: The people have a strong pioneer spirit.
    Canadian Communication Styles

    It is difficult to specify any national trait in terms of communication in Canada due to its regionalism and cultural diversity. However, there are some basic communication styles that are fairly standard across the country. For example, businesspeople are generally polite, easy-going, and somewhat informal.

    In general, communication is “moderately indirect” perhaps reflecting an amalgamation of both North American and British tendencies. Although most Canadians can disagree openly when necessary, they prefer to do so with tact and diplomacy. Their communication style is essentially pragmatic and relies on common sense. If you come from a culture where communication is very direct, you may wish to soften your demeanor and tone so as not to appear threatening.

    Communication styles vary most between Anglophone and Francophone parts of the country. Francophones are generally more indirect than Anglophones, although less so than the French. They also tend to be more exuberant than Anglophones. Anglophones do not generally interrupt someone who is speaking. They consider it rude not to let a person complete their thought before entering the discussion. Francophones are more likely to interrupt another speaker.

    Canadians communicate more by the spoken word rather than non-verbal expressions. Non-verbal expressions are only really used to add emphasis to a message or are part of an individual’s personal communication style.

    Canadians like their space and prefer to be at an arm’s length when speaking to someone.
    Canadians are reticent to discuss their personal lives with business associates. They expect people to speak in a straightforward manner and to be able to back up their claims with examples. They do not make exaggerated claims and are suspicious of something that sounds too good to be true.

    Canada: Geert Hofstede Analysis

    Canada: Geert Hofstede Analysis

    The majority of Canadians have individualism ranked highest. Success is measure by personal achievement. Canadians tend to be self-confident and open to discussions on general topics; however, they hold their personal privacy off limits to all but the closest friends. It should be noted there is tension between the French province of Quebec and other Canadian provinces. Citizens of Quebec tend to be more private and reserved. Ethnocentrism is high throughout Canada, but particularly in Quebec.

    Canada has Individualism (IDV) as the highest ranking (80) Hofstede Dimension, and is indicative of a society with a more individualistic attitude and relatively loose bonds with others. The populace is more self-reliant and looks out for themselves and their close family members. Privacy is considered the cultural norm and attempts at personal ingratiating may meet with rebuff.

    Canadian's lowest ranking Dimension is Long Term Orientation at 23, compared to the average of 45 among the 23 countries surveyed for which scores have been calculated. This low LTO ranking is indicative of societies' belief in meeting its obligations and tends to reflect an appreciation for cultural traditions.

    Canada's Power Distance (PDI) is relatively low, with an index of 39, compared to a world average of 55. This is indicative of a greater equality between societal levels, including government, organizations, and even within families. This orientation reinforces a cooperative interaction across power levels and creates a more stable cultural environment.

    It should be noted there is tension between the French province of Quebec and other Canadian provinces. Citizens of Quebec tend to be more private and reserved. Ethnocentrism is high throughout Canada, but particularly in Quebec. This may be in part due to the difference in religious background of the French population, predominately Catholic, and the English population, predominantly Christian.

    The predominant religions in Canada are Catholic 42% and Christian 40%, but the population is somewhat segregated, with a high percentage of French Catholic's in Quebec. Note that the predominant religion in France is Catholic (83%) and in the United Kingdom is Christian (70%).

    Tuesday, November 3, 2009

    Canada's Economic Environment

    Canada’s Economic Environment:

    The Type of Economy and Level of Industrialization in Canada

    Canada has a diversified, vibrant, and growing economy. In fact, Canada has the tenth largest economy in the world, is one of the world's wealthiest nations, and is a member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Group of Eight (G8).

    Canada has one of the highest levels of economic freedom in the world. As an affluent, high-tech industrial society in the trillion-dollar class, today Canada closely resembles the United States in its market-oriented economic system, pattern of production, and affluent living standards. Since World War II, the impressive growth of the manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy into one primarily industrial and urban.

    As with other developed nations, the Canadian economy is dominated by the service industry, which employs about three quarters of Canadians. Canada is unusual among developed countries in the importance of the primary sector, with the logging and oil industries being two of Canada's most important. Natural resources industries, such as forestry, mining, oil and gas extraction, farming and fishing, are important sources of jobs and export earnings. Canada is also a world leader in the fields of telecommunications, biotechnology, aerospace technologies, and pharmaceuticals. More and more jobs involve work in service industries or in information technology. Canada also has a sizable manufacturing sector, centered in Central Canada, with the automobile industry especially important.

    International trade makes up a large part of the Canadian economy, particularly of its natural resources. The United States is by far its largest trading partner, accounting for about 76% of exports and 65% of imports as of 2007. Canada's combined exports and imports ranked 8th among all nations in 2006.

    Canada has considerable natural resources spread across its varied regions. In British Columbia, the forestry industry is of great importance, while the oil industry is important in Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador. Northern Ontario is home to a wide array of mines, while the fishing industry has long been central to the character of the Atlantic Provinces, though it has recently been in steep decline. These industries are increasingly becoming less important to the overall economy. Only some 4% of Canadians are employed in these fields, and they account for less than 6% of GDP. They are still paramount in many parts of the country. Many, if not most, towns in northern Canada, where agriculture is difficult, exist because of a nearby mine or source of timber.

    Given its great natural resources, skilled labor force, and modern capital plant, Canada has enjoyed solid economic growth, and prudent fiscal management has produced consecutive balanced budgets from 1997 to 2007. Canada had the fastest growing economy among the G-7 industrial countries in 1999, with real GDP expanding by 4.2%. Since the early 1990s, the Canadian economy has been growing rapidly, with low unemployment and large government surpluses on the federal level. In 2008, growth slowed sharply as a result of the global economic downturn, US housing slump, plunging auto sector demand, and a drop in world commodity prices. As of June 2009, Canada's national unemployment rate stood at 8.6% as the effect of the world economic crisis settled in and more people looked for work.

    Tight global credit conditions have further restrained business and housing investment, despite the conservative lending practices and strong capitalization that made Canada's major banks among the most stable in the world. According to the Forbes Global 2000 list of the world's largest companies in 2008, Canada had 69 companies in the list, ranking 5th next to France. As of 2008, Canada’s total government debt burden is the lowest in the G8.

    To summarize the subject of the Canadian economic environment, Canada is currently experiencing strong economic growth; however, in order to maximize and sustain the potential of the country’s economy, it is necessary to continue economic diversification efforts in order to alleviate the vulnerability associated with increased global competition and the region’s traditional reliance on natural resource sectors. At the same time, tremendous economic opportunities exist within Canada: the country is already demonstrating strengths in emerging industries and the new economy; the small business sector is vibrant and offers significant potential for expansion; and, the nation is geographically and strategically positioned to increase its international trade and attract investment. By systematically responding to its challenges while making strategic investments to support development and diversification, Canada will continue to thrive economically.