Canadians come from many different racial and religious backgrounds. This makes it difficult to define a typical Canadian family. Some cultural characteristics, however, are shared by most Canadians.
It is customary to shake hands when being introduced. A handshake should be quite firm, but not so firm that it hurts the other person’s hand. It is not usually considered objectionable to lightly touch someone on the shoulder or elbow during a discussion, but there should be an already existing relationship between the people before this physical contact takes place. Most Canadians do not often kiss or hug when greeting friends.
Introductions in Canada
In Canada, people use their given name first and their surname (family name) last. If you meet someone older than you for the first time, you should probably not use the person’s first name. It is safer to use the surname, preceded by a courtesy title such as: Ms., Mrs., Mr., or Dr.
- Formal Greeting to a Stranger: “Hello Mr. Smith. I am very pleased to meet you. My name is Lynn.”
- Informal Greeting to a Friend: “Hi Dale. How are you?”
In the Home
Canadians often behave quite casually at home. Some families do not put an emphasis on greetings and salutations, so do not be disappointed if your host family does not show a lot of emotion when you arrive or leave. Most Canadians do not wear shoes or hats inside their homes.
Smoking in Canada
Smoking is becoming increasingly unpopular and is not permitted in any public buildings including restaurants and shopping centres. Many families also do not allow smoking in their homes. If you smoke, please mention it on your application for admission.
Canada enjoys a society that is open and relatively free of class distinctions. Canada is considered to be multicultural, meaning that persons who immigrate from other countries have the right to observe the traditions and religions of their home country. Most Canadians take pride in the fact that all people deserve the same rights and respect, regardless of their gender, race, religion, or cultural background. People in Canada usually resent comments that seem disrespectful to anyone from a particular background.