Quebec: Doing business & staying in touch

Doing business in Quebec

In both Montreal and Quebec City, although there is more English spoken in the business world than on the streets, a few words of French before switching to English will always be appreciated. Whether documents should be translated into French depends on the industry, but a translation of the executive summary would be considered a beau geste (good gesture). Due to the touchy political situation, it is best to avoid discussing issues of language rights or the sovereignty movement.

Normal business courtesies should be observed, although Canadians are generally less formal than Europeans and usually use first-names after initial introductions have been completed. When speaking French, it is best to use ‘vous' until the other party uses the less formal ‘tu'; after that, lapsing back into ‘vous' is considered bad form.

Business cards are usually exchanged either at the beginning or at the end of the first meeting. Both men and women generally wear suits but short-sleeved shirts are acceptable in summer. Business hours are generally 0900-1700 weekdays but often extend to 1800 or 1900; Montrealers are not early risers, as a rule.

In Montreal business meals and entertaining can range from a formal hotel breakfast meeting to a night out on the town. Many Montreal business deals are clinched in a more informal social setting. In Quebec City breakfast and lunch meetings are more common than evening meetings.


Montréal is a major meeting and convention centre.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.