Welcome to Canada. The world’s second largest country by total area is also one of the world’s most sparsely populated. Business tends to be focused around the main cities that act as home to around 82 percent of the country’s population.

As one of the world’s wealthiest nations, with a service industry that employs around a third of Canadians, it offers plenty of opportunities for New Zealand businesses.

You can find more information on doing business in Canada on our dedicated North America website. Just click on the ‘Canada’ tab for the information you need to crack this lucrative market. 

Getting to Canada

Air New Zealand operates direct flights from Auckland to Vancouver, with a flying time of around 13 hours. It’s advisable to check the frequency of flights, as this changes seasonally. You can also fly to other Canadian destinations via the United States.

When to visit

If you’re travelling to Canada in winter (November to March), expect sub-zero temperatures. That said, all Canadian towns and cities are geared up for cold, snowy weather, so if you do end up visiting during winter, it will be business as usual for locals.

It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with Canada’s national holidays, as some businesses may close during these times.

Before you go, check Safe Travel for travel advisories on Canada.

Cultural tips 

Canadians and New Zealanders have much in common - both have ‘big brother’ neighbours and are subject to accent confusion overseas. Canada is a culturally diverse country that’s egalitarian in nature. People are generally warm, friendly and informal (although Quebec can be a little more formal).

Here are a few things to remember:

  • move to first name terms only when invited (although this invite usually comes quickly)
  • use a firm handshake and a warm smile, and be prepared for a double cheek kiss in Quebec
  • familiarise yourself with regional differences in culture and behaviour as they do exist
  • Canadians appreciate politeness.

Working in-market

Getting the most out of your visit means hitting the ground running. Co-working is an excellent option if you’re staying put for more than a few days. Facilities vary, but typically you can expect a desk, and access to wifi, printer / scanner, tea / coffee and a lounge area. Some facilities may offer extended perks such as parking and on-site cafes. If you’re visiting the market solo, it also means the chance to work in the company of other like-minded business people and freelancers. Co-working spaces can be searched by city on Nomad List

Connect with NZTE in Canada

If you’re an NZTE customer and preparing to visit Canada, please get in touch with your Customer Manager to discuss your plans and possible areas of assistance. If you don’t have a Customer Manager, contact our Advisor Team for more information.

New Zealand's relationship with Canada

If you're looking for more information about our trade and diplomatic relationship with Canada, take a look at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website. Their Canada page is packed with information, including a list of embassies and recent official visits. 

We have a dedicated team in North America

View our locations

North America insights

Prepare for doing business in this region with our library of market guides, videos and resources.

  • I'm visiting my market. How can NZTE help me?

    If you’re an NZTE customer, please get in touch with your Customer Manager to discuss your plans and possible areas of assistance. If you don’t have a Customer Manager, contact our Advisor Team for more information.

  • I want to find an in-market distributor for my business
    NZTE doesn’t maintain lists of distributors for specific products and markets. We encourage companies to do as much of the initial search process as they can for themselves, while bringing in professional help where needed.

    You’ll find useful information on researching, finding and selecting the right distributor for you in our Export Essentials guide to understanding your channel partner options.
  • I want to find out about regulations and tariffs for export
    Regulations and tariffs should be one of the first things you find out before exporting. They often determine whether a market will be easy or hard for you to export to, or whether you should try to do business there at all.

    Understanding regulations in your export destination is a must-do. For an introduction to what you need to think about, see our guide on understanding international compliance requirements. This includes tips on how to research regulations, as well as insights on local regulations, standards, health and safety, and dealing with local bureaucracy.

    It’s a good idea to take a look at the rest of the international compliance process while you’re doing your work on regulations – see more information in our guide to understanding international compliance requirements.

    If you’re planning to export food or food-related products, you should also check out the food exporting page on the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) website. MPI maintains a list of Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMARs) for New Zealand food products in different export markets – search and identify OMARs for your product online

    Tariffs can make your products more expensive and less attractive to overseas buyers, so you need to know the charges your products will attract before you commit to a new market.

    You can get a big head start in finding tariff information by using the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) tariff finder or the World Trade Organisation’s tariff download facility. You can search the databases by product name, but they work best when you know the approximate Harmonised System (HS) code for your product. HS codes are used by customs authorities around the world to identify products and apply tariffs. The longer the code is, the more precisely it describes your product. The first six digits of an HS code are usually the same worldwide – after that, there can be up to eight further digits, which often vary from country to country.

    New Zealand Customs can help you to find out the first six digits of your HS codes – email VOC@customs.govt.nz.

    To get a longer and more precise HS code for a particular market, look up and contact the local customs authority online, or talk to a customs broker or freight forwarder who has done business in that market.
  • I want to find out about packaging and labelling for export
    Packaging and labelling requirements can be very different from country to country, so get as much information as you can before making the decision to export. 

    Depending on where your products will be sold, you might need to use different materials or labels, and include different types of information. In some countries, you might have to translate all your packaging or labels into the local language – in others, applying a sticker with a few key details will do the job. 

    Make sure that you check out all of the requirements for packaging and labelling before tackling a new market, including anything that’s needed during transport or distribution. 

    You’ll find more details on the kind of things you need to think about in our guide to understanding international compliance requirements.

    We suggest that you work with a customs broker or freight forwarder, or get advice from a lawyer in-market, to understand all the requirements for your product and the place where it’s headed. The Customs Broker and Freight Forwarder Federation (CBAFF) has a list of customs brokers and freight forwarders within New Zealand.

Export Essentials Workshops

Develop your export plan in our practical two-day workshop