What are the challenges?
Challenges when doing business in Canada
As Canada’s Government has a federal structure, business activities and taxation are affected by regulation and laws at provincial and local levels as well as federal, which can make doing business complicated for first-time exporters to the country.
A step-by-step guide for importers of commercial goods into the country is provided by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), at: http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/import/guide-eng.html.
Additionally you should be aware that:
a few UK professional accreditations may not be recognised in Canada so you should check requirements relevant to your goods or services with Canadian trade bodies. Alternatively contact the DIT team in Toronto at: https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/department-for-international-trade-canada#contact-us for advice
a few agricultural import tariff quotas will remain under the CETA, for example for cheese. See: https://www.international.gc.ca/controls-controles/prod/agri/dairy-laitiers/notices-avis/ceta_trq_cheeses-ct_aecg_fromages.aspx?lang=eng
some small to medium-sized businesses may struggle to enter Canada’s defence and security sector because of its Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) policies, see: https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/086.nsf/eng/home. Although market entry is not impossible, DIT’s Defence and Security Organisation (DSO) may be able to offer support and advice about entering the Canadian market. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bribery and corruption
Bribery is illegal. It is an offence for British nationals or someone who is ordinarily resident in the UK, a body incorporated in the UK or a Scottish partnership, to bribe anywhere in the world. In addition, a commercial organisation carrying on a business in the UK can be liable for the conduct of a person who is neither a UK national or resident in the UK or a body incorporated or formed in the UK. In this case it does not matter whether the acts or omissions which form part of the offence take place in the UK or elsewhere.
In Transparency International's latest 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (announced January 2019), Canada is ranked as the 9th least-corrupt country in the world out of 180 countries, reflecting its robust structure of checks and balances (the UK ranks 11th). See: https://www.transparency.org/country/CAN for further information.
If you wish to bid on contracts being procured by the federal government, you need to be aware of the Canadian Government’s Integrity Framework requirements at: https://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/ci-if/ci-if-eng.html.
Visit the Business Anti-Corruption Portal at: https://www.ganintegrity.com/portal/country-profiles/canada/ for procedures you can establish to protect your company from corruption risks.
Intellectual Property (IP)
IP rights are territorial, which means that they only give protection within the countries where they are registered. You should therefore consider registering your IP rights (if appropriate) in all your export markets.
The principal forms of IP available under common law in Canada are trademarks, designs, patents and copyright, which are all governed by legislation. The administration of copyright, patents, and trademarks is carried out by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), which has guidance on Canada’s IP laws at: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/home.
You should ensure that your IP rights are protected by contacting a local lawyer who is specialised in Intellectual Property. A list of potential lawyers in Canada can be provided by the DIT team in Toronto at: https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/department-for-international-trade-canada#contact-us.
Further information is provided on the UK Government’s Intellectual Property page at: https://www.gov.uk/intellectual-property-an-overview, and at the Intellectual Property Office – the UK Government agency providing free and impartial advice on protecting and registering your IP in the UK and abroad. See: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/intellectual-property-office.
Canada’s overall 2018 International Property Rights Index (IPRI) score increased by 0.115 to 8.294 placing it 1st in the North America region, and 10th (out of 125) in the world. See: https://www.internationalpropertyrightsindex.org/country/canada.
[Source – FCO Overseas Business Risk: Canada, Government of Canada, DIT Trade and Investment guide: Canada, Transparency International, DSO, Property Rights Alliance, gov.uk]
Protective security advice
The UK Government has advice on crime and fraud prevention in international trade, at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/crime-and-fraud-prevention-for-businesses-in-international-trade.
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