Canada is a very well-mannered nation with strong conventions on social etiquette. Studying and living in Canada would require you to understand the country’s culture and traditions. By doing this, you let yourself be fully immersed in the Canadians’ way of life.

Canadians are kind, friendly, and welcoming people. They establish good relationships with friends and respect each other’s individualism. However, they can get offended if your actions are inappropriate and rude. Here are some etiquette tips for you to get by:


Time is important for Canadians. If you are expected to arrive at 8 p.m., you should be at the meeting place on time or earlier. Being late for 15 minutes or more is considered rude.


When meeting a local for the first time, shake hands and introduce yourself to them; also shake their hands when you bid farewell. For close friends, especially women, short hugs are very much appreciated. Not shaking hands after someone extends theirs is a very rude act.

Kissing on the cheek is not a popular gesture for the locals and is reserved for family members. But for the French-Canadian people, kiss each other cheek to cheek upon meeting.


It is quite unusual in Canada to give gifts to strangers unless someone has done a great favor for you. On holidays, the act of exchanging gifts is not given but dictated by the degree of closeness. “No occasion” gifts are appreciated but it can start a feeling of awkwardness for the receiver. Cash as gifts is normally only done within families.


Tipping is a common practice in Canada, with at least the bare minimum of 15% of the bill. Tipping is expected especially in sit-down style restaurants, while over-tipping is also common when the service provided is excellent. You must tip to an array of different professions; taxi drivers, bellhops, delivery men, waiters, and hairdressers. Not giving any tip or even under-tipping is considered rude.


The most common hand or body gestures in Canada that are considered rude are the ones we already know about. Canada is not a fan of obscene gestures, so don’t flip off at anyone, give a thumbs down, or point at strangers.

If you will be sneezing, say “excuse me” first before you sneeze.

You will notice businesses with “no shirt, no shoes, no service” notes during the summer. Even though it is hot, you still need full clothing to enter establishments. Don’t even try to do a public nudity stunt, which is considered illegal.

For public display of affection, it has become an ongoing debate for Canadians. Some find this deed okay while others see this as a gross act.

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